I got a text from an old friend the week before last asking if I could braid a horse Friday night. I said sure, and then she then asked if I could do two. Sure thing, not a problem! I then hoped all day Friday that the manes were in good shape...
When I arrived I looked for the two horses I was going to braid. I found one to be a very tall horse and the other a large pony. I opted to do the taller one first, figuring the pony would be pretty quick.
The horse was wearing one of those blankets with the extended neck. It seemed like it was probably a turnout rug more than a stable blanket. As a braider, I don't like those very much. I'm sure they keep the horses warm, but they do terrible things to the mane. I'm not entirely sure why the horse had this blanket on. He wasn't turned out! Just hanging in his stall. It was cool out, but not cold. I was wearing a sweatshirt and a fleece jacket and was quite comfortable. My horses at my house had only sheets on. But I'm not here to judge people's blanket choices.
I started braiding with the blanket still in place. I usually wait until the blanket is in my way to open it up and move it back. Once I got that point, I was quite surprised! The make wasn't just rubbed and fuzzy where the blanket sits... It was GONE!
I pulled the pony out and saw it had the same blanket as the horse. Ugh. Not only that, it had a LONG, THICK mane. Double UGH.
So I pulled a few strands and the pony seemed ok. Great! I pulled another few and she flipped me the equine version of the bird. Poop. Guess I would have to make do with what's there! I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. Nothing worse than KNOWING you're putting an ugly braid job on a horse. Worst.
Fortunately, my friend was happy with both manes. Moral of my post here... If you have show horses that will be braided, think twice about your blanket choices. Does your horse live outside in the freezing cold? No? Then it likely doesn't need a blanket that goes 3/4 of the way up the neck. Maybe save that for the bitter cold days to limit the damage to the mane. Also, braiders really appreciate having a mane that's ready for braiding when they arrive. ESPECIALLY if your horse isn't good about having it pulled. If you're not sure about how short or how thin the mane should be, ask your braider to come ahead of time and give you a tutorial. Or let them know the mane will need work before braiding so they can allot extra time. Your friendly neighborhood braider will be very appreciative!