How To…. A Masterclass for Perfect Plaits
The secret is in the preparations, there are some essential pieces of kit you will need before you start.
- A cheap plastic comb with teeth
- A small clean sponge
- Bucket or tub to hold water in
- Quality plaiting bands which match your horse’s natural mane colour
- Fat blunt needle and thread which match your horse’s natural mane colour
- Small sharp scissors
- Some people like to use a plaiting belt to keep plaiting bands, thread and scissors in.
For large rose style plaits
These require you to sew into place and you will need the mane to be left long and all one length. Before you begin plaiting thread your needle with a single thread but ensure you leave a reasonable end on it.
Start by wetting the mane using the small sponge and divide the mane into sections. Unlike traditional eventing plaits, which are completely uniform in size, rose plaits work best by a crescendo effect with the plaits getting wider to the centre of the neck and crest and reducing in size towards the poll and wither.
Use the teeth on the comb to act as a gauge to ensure the section is larger or smaller than the previous plait as required.The comb should be used to ensure a straight line is achieved when dividing the mane into sections, then use the comb to flatten the hair, then divide into three equal sections.
To begin plaiting lift the three sections up and away from the neck, as you begin to plait do not pull the hair tight until you have done one complete wind. Once you have started the plait, pull the plait as tight as you can down the whole length of the mane.
Once you reach the end of the plait, use the band to wind a round the end of the hair, once in place tuck the end of the plait under, this gives you a smooth, secure end to work with. Lifting the plait up and away from the neck, roll the plait tightly in on itself, into a ball, finishing with the plait sitting right on top of the neck.
Take the needle and in an upwards motion, pierce the centre of the plait pulling the thread upwards leaving a small tail of thread, around 2cm in length. Immediately come back down through the plait, pulling the thread tight and working to reduce the length of the thread.
Repeat this several times, you may find you need to go slightly left or slight right of the centre to anchor the plait and ensure it is secure. Make sure the thread is pulled tightly between each thread of the needle.Once the ball is tight and secure, the ends of the thread can simply be trimmed off.