Braiders- It’s important that your horse’s mane be free of debris and dirt prior to braiding. If your horse’s mane looks more like a dust and debris graveyard than a beautiful mane, we highly recommend washing it. Thoroughly wash your horse’s mane and allow it to dry completely before you begin brushing or braiding. Take the time to brush your horse’s mane before you begin braiding. It’s important that you only braid small sections of the mane at a time. Doing so will ensure that you are not causing too much tension on the mane as your horse moves its head throughout the day. Start at the top of the mane, near your horse’s head, and begin braiding sections that consist of just a few inches of your horse’s mane. Taking the time to braid this way is well worth it, and it will go a long way in protecting your horse’s mane. Braiding the mane is very similar to braiding the tail. If you make the first few crosses of your mane braids too tight, you will cause more irritation to your horse’s neck and mane roots. Obviously, you will need some level of tension to keep the braids in place. However, it’s important that these braids are loose enough as to not cause unnecessary irritation to your horse. After you complete the first 4 to 5 crosses loosely, begin braiding the rest of each mane section cleanly and tightly. There’s no need to go overboard on the tightness of the braids, but be sure that your braids are tight enough and clean enough to keep the full braid in. Braid down to the end of your horse’s mane. Usually you should not leave more than 3 to 4 inches of your horse’s mane outside of the bottom of your braid. Doing this will greatly help protect the ends of your horse’s mane, and it’s totally worth it. We promise. After you have braided your horse’s mane, we recommend using black electrical tape to secure the braids. Electrical tape is stretchy and pliable, and it will allow you to get a tight, secure hold on the end of your braid. Additionally, this kind of tape won’t leave excess gunk on your horse’s mane. We strongly discourage the use of other types of tape on your horse’s mane. We implore you to not use thin rubber bands for a long period of time. While these bands may be required for certain events or shows, they can do some major damage to your horse’s mane if left in too long. Whatever you decide to use to secure your horse’s mane, we recommend only leaving braids in for about 7 to 10 days. If needed, and the mane looks good, you can tentatively leave braids in longer.If your horse has an awesomely long mane, we recommend tucking the braids up to shorten how low they hang. Doing this will keep those braids even safer when your horse is eating, drinking, etc. Tucking the braids can be done be following these steps:1. Take a single braid 2. Separate the top of the braid into two sections to create a small opening 3. Run the end of the braid through the opening you just created until the looped braid is about 6 inches in length 4. If the tucked braid still significantly exceeds 6 inches, you may want to pull the end of the braid through the small opening once more 5. Finally, secure the tucked braid by taping around it with black electrical tape. It’s important to note that you should leave the section of the mane nearest to the withers unbraided. This section receives perhaps the most tension throughout your horse’s activities, and it’s important that it is tension free. Any braids, even if they are loose, can cause too much tension on this section of the mane.