After our ride I decided that it was time I tackle this dressage button braid thing. I can do hunter braids in my sleep, and I can't even tell you how many horses I've stayed up until 3am braiding before shows...and then also showing the next day. That was all back before Red Bull was invented. To be honest, I have no idea how I functioned on four hours of sleep all through college, but I did. Anyway, back then I always took great pleasure in my tail braiding ability as well. My braids were always straight and tight and held overnight and through show day. However, it has been years since I braided a tail and I never did dressage buttons back then either. So, like with most dressage stuff this is new territory for me and I decided that I should should practice before I actually need to braid for a show. I braided Rose myself for inspection in August, and although I got some kind remarks from friends, in my opinion my dressage buttons had a lot of room for improvement. I recently un-braided a couple of my trainer's horses, which gave me a great opportunity to carefully inspected the braids to try and determine the technique that was used to make them. These were the most beautiful dressage buttons I've ever seen, by the way. What I discovered was very different than any you tube video I've watched, and is far different that what I did back in August.
MY NEW TECHNIQUE:
First I wet her mane and cut about 15 18"-long pieces of black yarn and found my pulling comb. Starting at her pole, I divided Rose's mane into comb lengths sections as I moved along. When my braid is half way done, I fold the yarn in half and ad it to two pieces of my braid and then braid it in as I finish the braid. Then, holding the bottom of the braid with my left hand, I wrap the yarn counter clockwise around the bottom of the braid twice and knot it. I then do all the braids just like that. Next it is time to pull them all up/make the buttons. Going back to the pole and my first braid, I wrap the braid around itself counter clockwise forming the button and then secured by pulling the yarn up through the base of the braid and then wrapping each string (one to the right, one to the left) around the whole thing and knotting it under the braid. Then I finish by clipping off the ends of the strings. It's just that simple!
|Not half bad!|
|Now that is a tail that braiding was|
I managed to bring everything to the barn that I needed except for a pull through. I still managed to make it work using my fat fingers, but I know the end result would be a bit tighter if I had used a pull through. This also meant that I couldn't pull up her forelock braid or her tail (I know you don't braid dressage tails, I just wanted to see if I still "had it"). I took me an hour to braid her mane and tail, and aside from one of the buttons on the mane and a slight curve to the left on the tail braid I am pretty pleased with my work. Had this been the real deal, I would have pulled out that one funky button and re-done it, but it was time to throw feed so I pulled them all out and gave the girl a break for the night. It was a good exercise and one I need to do a few more times.
Happy trails and swooshing tails!