How can I make great dressage braids?

Dressage button braids - all the rage in Paris this year!  And, they are super easy to do with yarn.  You may also see them referred to as rosette braids, and they are becoming increasingly popular in the jumper ring as well.  For dressage horses, the typical number of braids is an odd number between 11 and 17, usually 13 or 15 works for most horses.  Forelocks are left long for stallions, and braided in a french braid that is tucked under for mares and geldings.  For you hunter Grooms out there, you are still doing the 45+ braids….  




So before you start practicing away (the best way to make sure you are on top of the game before a show), get a few tools together.  You will need the following, which I like to stash in a fanny pack (hello time warp) or apron:

  • One mane, preferably one hand’s width long.  I like to braid a slightly sticky mane, so a mane wash with shampoo happens a few days before the show.  You also have the option of using a product like Mane Mousse to help “stickify” the mane and prevent fly-aways.  You can also try a damp mane. 
  • For the most professional looking braids, make sure the mane is of even length and even thickness.  Here are some other articles on how to prepare the mane by pulling. 


  • Pull through device, like the types you can find at sewing and craft stores.  You can also make your own from bailing wire or a similar gauge of wire. 
  • Scissors


  • Mane comb - I like to mark off the width of each braid with a tiny rubber band on the comb. 
  • Yarn - in a color to match your horse’s mane.  Cut about 15 pieces or so in about one foot lengths.


  • Clothespin or hair clip to move the hair aside from the braid you are working on. 


And here’s a handy video demo on the basics of rosette or button braids with yarn.   Do you have any braiding tips?