Braided Manes for Horses: Fashion or Functional?

Braided Manes for Horses: Fashion or Functional?

Horses are so beautiful and majestic, but you know what makes them even more irresistible? A braided mane can turn these animals into chic and fashionable creatures. There are tons of styles of platting that can make them look so adorable, but are these braids fashionable or more for function? The answer may surprise you.

Did you know some people create flawless braids just for horse shows and other events? Some even choose to have their personal pets’ hair braided because of the functional nature of these styles. Something else you might not know is that when you braid your horse’s mane, you’re taking part in a rich history that’s hundreds of years old.

I love a good braid, and if you’ve seen some of the designs at the shows I’ve been to over the years, you would know why I love the creativity that goes into this art.

The History Behind Braided Manes

As you know, horses were used throughout history for transportation, farmhands, and even to help during wars. Before there were cars, people primarily relied on horses or their cousin, the donkey. Just like vehicles are stolen today, horses were often targeted and taken during the olden days.

People wanted the most significant and best horses to help them do their work, and a champion could help win money and notoriety on the track. Horses are large animals to steal, so thieves had to be conniving. They would tie knots in the hair of the equine to take so that the crook knew which animal to get. It was essential to make sure they took the right animal, so these little braids or knots gave them the identification they needed.

Braids weren’t all about helping in evil misdoings, as the braided mane was another way to distinguish a notable family from another. See, those with money are able to pay someone to do this exquisite hair work. Therefore they were royalty. It also set one horse apart from the rest. The visual appeal of these braided manes provided recognition that many upper classes wanted.

How many times have you washed your car and shined it with a coat of wax? People took the same pride in their equines in years gone by, as they were equivalent to a vehicle. Riders were incredibly picky about the bodily appearance of their horse, as it could help distinguish them during a race.

Horses were also used as transportation during hunting, and the braided mane distinguished the thoroughbreds from the cold-blooded or cheaper breeds. These more expensive horses came to any event with their hair nicely plaited, and it became a sign of superiority.

Even during equestrian competitions of today, you will still see braided manes to signal class. So, in this sense, it was more for fashion than function, as they used it to set themselves apart. However, there were functional reasons that outweighed the fad.

The Functional Reasons For Plaiting

Outside of the fashionable look, a braid gave the horse the ability to keep their hair from getting into knots. When a horse was hitched to equipment to work in the field or pull a buggy, the hair would often become entangled in the harness or other equipment.

Another exciting aspect was that a braided mane allowed riders to avoid entanglement when they were hunting. This was especially important for soldiers during the time of war. They wanted to ensure their equine didn’t get tangled in their weapons. Time was of the essence in a battle, and they didn’t have a minute to spare untangling their horse.

Final Thoughts on Braided Hair Art

Though much time has passed, and things have changed, you will still see horses with beautifully plaited hair at events. However, one thing you won’t see is braids around our farm here at Oak Haven Acres. There’s no need for those fancy things that make a horse more distinguished at a retirement center.

Here, we treat all our animals the same. We care more about making them comfortable. As well as ensuring their golden years are spent grazing in the lush grass and basking in the golden rays of the sun. While braiding doesn’t hurt the animal, there’s no reason for it on our farm.

If you or anyone you know needs care for their retirement age equine, we have beautiful grounds that are welcoming, and the staff if great too.

Phone: 252-478-5239 or 919-818-6241
515 Huford Harris Rd, Spring Hope, NC 27882, USA
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