The Best Horse Hair Style

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Last Updated on March 18, 2022

Whether for horse shows or simply to keep your horse cool and clean, many people use a horse hair style for their horse’s mane and tail. There are several different braids you can do on your horse that will keep their manes and tails neat and looking good.

Not only do these hair styles look good, but they are also practical. Even if you don’t have any experience with styling hair, you can get the hang of creating these styles with a bit of practice. They are great for preventing hard-to-comb tangles.

Choosing the Best Horse Hair Style

There are many reasons equestrians choose to braid their horses’ manes and tails. Depending on what discipline you show in, you may braid your horse’s mane and even the top part of their tail. Some people will simply braid to keep their horse manes and tails neat and free of tangles.

If your horse has a long, thick mane, braiding it can help keep your horse cool and comfortable in hot weather. If your horse has a long tail, you may want to braid it and put it in a tail bag to keep it clean and untangled.

Choosing the Best Horse Hair Style

For showing, button and hunter braids are popular styles for hunter/jumpers and dressage horses. If you are wanting easy horse mane styles, continental, running and straight braids are great options.

For those not wanting to braid, roaching and pulling manes are also options. However, by regular brushing and conditioning, you can also keep your horse’s mane natural without tangles.

Mane Hair Styles

It’s not uncommon for a horse’s mane to become tangly. This can happen for a variety of reasons, from horses nuzzling each other to horses rolling in mud. Fortunately, there are some great mane styles to keep your horse’s mane neat and tangle-free.

Button Braids – Horse Hair Style

Button braids are most commonly seen on dressage horses in competition. They are neat, small braids that often use a thread and needle to form a small ball.

Also known as rosette braids or dressage braids, they give an elegant appearance to your horse. Typically, 9-17 braids are formed down the neck of the horse. Button braids can be done on the top or side of a horse’s neck.

Hunter Braids

Originally, hunter braids were used to keep a horse’s mane neat while out on a hunt. Today, hunter braids are common among hunter/jumpers

Hunter braids consist of small, uniform braids that accentuate the line of a horse’s neck. There are normally between 30 or more braids, depending on the thickness of a horse’s mane and how long their neck is. Hunter braids can come in flat or knob styles and yarn is typically used to help form them.

WEAVER Grooming Kit

Running Braid

Running braids are great for everyday use on your horse. They are an easy style to create and are great for use on horses with long manes.

A running braid starts at the beginning of the mane and goes all the way to the bottom in one continuous braid. To make a running braid, french braid the mane down a horse’s neck and once you get to the end, braid the rest of the mane down. Running braids are great for keeping horses cool and are great for preventing tangles.

Continental Braid – Horse Hair Style

Continental braids, also called diamond or macrame braids, are simple braids to do. They don’t involve any traditional braiding, but instead section the mane into a macrame pattern by using braiding bands.

To make a continental braid, start by creating sections at the top of the mane. Then divide the sections into two parts, tieing each one to the neighboring section with a braiding band. This process is continued down the entire length of the mane.

Straight Braids

Straight braids are simple and straightforward. Simply divide your horse’s mane into different sections and braid each section down, securing each braid with a braiding band. This is a great method for keeping horses cool and keeping their manes free of tangles.

Roach – Horse Hair Style

In some riding disciplines, a roached mane is a style. A roached mane is a mane that is shaved off, which shows off the beauty of a horse’s neck. In some cases, it is also is done to prevent the mane from getting tangled in any equipment.


Pulling the mane is commonly done on hunter/jumpers and dressage horses, as well as some western horses too. It is a way to keep the mane short for braiding or banding. A special comb is used to thin and shorten the mane, making it easier to work with, though some people also use scissors as well.

Tail Hair Styles

Though styling the mane is more commonly done than the tail, some people will also braid a horse’s tail as well. In some horse shows, the top of the tail will be braided to give it an elegant look. In other cases, people will braid their horse’s tails when they are not showing to keep the tail neat and free of tangles.

Tail Braid – Horse Hair Style

A classic tail braid for practical purposes begins below the tail bone and goes all the way to the bottom of the tail. The shorter hairs at the top of the tail are generally separated out so the horse can use them to swat flies away.

In some cases, the tail is put into a tail bag. For longer tails, the braid is weaved into itself to create a sort of bun that is then put in a sock or wrapped in vet wrap to keep it clean.


In hunter/jumpers, a braid is commonly done on the tail bone of the tail. This creates an elegant look that is great for the show ring. One of the most common tail braids is the fishtail, which creates a neat, clean look.

Fishtail - Horse Hair Style

Effective Horse Hair Braiding Techniques

Keeping a horse with braids is done for many reasons such as show, comfort and to prevent tangles. There are many great hair styles you can try on your horse’s mane and tail.

Do you have any questions regarding trying a new horse hair style? If so, please ask any questions regarding styling a horse’s mane and tail in the comment section.


Why Do Horses Have Manes?

Many believe the mane works like armor to protect the horse from bites, sun, rain and bugs. Many people will keep long manes on horses for appearance reasons.

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