Banding a horse's mane
Banding a horse's mane is a pretty standard procedure
for approved showing and for many open shows. It can make your horse's
mane lie flat and close to the neck even on a windy day. When the mane
lies close to the neck it gives the illusion of a slimmer neck.
When you are just starting, it is always a good idea
to practice banding your horse's mane early in the week prior to your
show. This gives you an idea how long it will take and how well your
horse will stand for you while you are banding. When you first start
it will usually take several times to get the mane looking as good as
you would like it to look, but hang in there, it comes with
List of the equipment to have on hand:
1) Spray Quick Braid, spritz a 2" section of
mane with the training spray, starting at the bridle path. Next,
separate out a ½ inch section of hair. While holding this section,
use an alligator clip to hold the mane to the left of you securely
out of your way. As you work down the mane, you may need to use an
alligator clip on both sides of the mane to keep the hair out of
your most current band. The Quick Braid gives you added grip over
the hair as well as holding the mane into place when you are
2) Pull the ½" section thru a band holding the
hair as close to the neck as possible, wrap the band around the hair
sections several times until tight, twisting the band after each loop
keeping the hair in the same hand - this forces the twist to always
be on the same side of the hair. Keeping the twist underneath is
also supposed to help the mane lie flat.
3) Go on to the next section of mane and separate
out another ½" section of mane. Repeat the banding procedure, using
an alligator clip to keep both sides of the mane out of your way.
4) When you are completely finished, tighten the
bands and then trim the excess length off the mane. To tighten a
band: from underneath a band, grasp a small section from each side
of the band and pull down and outwards staying close to the horse's
5) If you are banding the day prior to your show,
use a slinky to keep the mane free of shavings and clean. This
also flattens the mane more and on some horses this looks great and
on some it looks bad. You need to know which is does for your
You can either band the forelock or braid the
forelock. Use a quick spritz of Quick Braid before a class to help
hold down stray hairs. I do not leave the forelock banded or
braided overnight - if the horse rubs the forelock or it the
forelock catches on something, the entire forelock could be pulled
out or thinned greatly.
Depending on the thickness of your horse's mane, you
may need to make your sections of hair larger or small than ½".
Hints: The below tips will help solve a few problems
you may encounter.
Trim the mane AFTER banding, because no matter
how straight you trim the mane prior to banding you will always find it
necessary to trim again AFTER banding. So why do it twice?
Unless the mane is exceptionally long and you need to get it
into a manageable length.
To visually lengthen a short neck, band smaller
hair sections than ½ inch. This will give you more bands per
mane, creating a visually longer-looking neck.
If your horse has a long, thin neck, keep your
sections at just around ½ inch.
If your horse has a thick, coarse mane, thin it
out before banding, and keep your sections at about
three-eighths of an inch, so the bands will lie flat.
If your horse has a thin, wispy mane, you'll
need sections of about five-eighths of an inch, so it doesn't
look as if you only have a few hairs in each.
Some horses may have thin spots in their manes
and you will find a combination of the band sections will have
to be used - experiment to find out what looks good with your
horse and your situation.
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