Show Horses and their Beautiful Tail Braids
The Complete Look - The Tails...
Traditionally, horses and ponies to be shown in English styles of riding and driving are braided for horse shows. If there is braiding to be done, the mane always comes first. But there's nothing quite so gorgeous than when the look is completed with a finely braided tail. The braiding styles are absolutely beautiful pieces of art and many hours of love and practice have gone into producing them.
Spectators at fairs and competitions are often kept at a distance from the horses for safety reasons (especially from their rear-ends!), so here’s your chance to see up-close and personal what the braids in the horses tails look like. Here are a few styles of tail braids I have done over the years. Enjoy!
Copyright note: Please ask for my permission before distributing any of these photos. They are my own work and craft.
Baby Got Back
Some classes at horse shows are judged on a horse or pony's conformation; or how they are built. Similar to a dog show, it is based on quality breeding and intended purpose for the breed. A beautiful tail braid draws positive attention to and shows off the hindquarters.
Other reasons that tails might be braided is more practical than esthetic. Polo, Racing, Hunting and Driving are just a few examples of activities where tails may need to be secured out of harm's way.
The Finishing Touch
Most horse show tail styles are French Braided. They are then tied-off in one of several ways for a customized look.
- Pinwheel - The free portion of the braid is rolled up to about the size of a Half-Dollar coin.
- Tuck - For those who don't care for the Pinwheel, here the free portion of the braid is just neatly tucked in.
- Stick - (not yet pictured) Rather than rolling the free-braid up, it is doubled back and molded into a stick shape that freely hangs with the remainder of the free flowing tail.
- Mud Knot - Both the free braid and the remaining tail is intricately wound around the base of the tailbone.
French Braid tied off with a Pinwheel
The most traditional look and the most commonly seen, especially at Hunter competitions.
Inverted French Braid
is great for an added touch of flair and refinement. The braided portion of the strands are exposed like a decorative piping and the gathered strands lie snug to the tailbone. Like the other versions, it can be finished off in any way you choose.
The Mud Tail
is a beautiful design that originated for practical reasons and then made it's mark on the show-world time and again. Before the popular trend of fake tails hit, it was an especially attractive choice for horses with little to no tail to brag about.
The Alternative Braid
once again, is my own creation. And, just like the manes, works especially well on horses and ponies that have overly voluminous tails!
The completed look... Hope you enjoyed the ride!
Missed the manes? See...Show Horses and their Beautiful Mane Braids
Horse braiding is a great skill to have. You not only save money by doing it yourself, but you can also make money too! Where else can you earn $45 per hour? ...And yes, you CAN learn to braid!
If you have questions about your own braiding challenges or are interested in learning these and other show grooming tips, please comment below and also check out my blog,The Mane Alternative. I will be adding articles often and they could be catered to your question!
Thanks for stopping by!
© 2011 Megan Carl - Mane Alternative