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How Do I Plait A Horse's Mane
Equine Grooming
Monday 25th of May 2009 06:31 PM

Step 1:

You will need….

  • 1 Horse with a pulled mane
  • Some plaiting bands
  • 1 Needle threaded with some plaiting cotton, knotted at the end.
  • 1 Bucket of water
  • 1 Water brush
  • 1 Sturdy stool
  • 1 Pair of scissors
  • 1 Bowl of one egg white
  • 1 Body brush
  • 1 Mane comb
  • 1 Rake
  • 1 Yard brush

Step 2:

Brush and divide the mane

Begin by tying your horse up. Give your horse a hay net to keep him happy, if needed. If plaiting inside, brush the straw back, before you start.
Gently brush the mane down with a soft body brush. With the mane comb, begin to divide the mane into sections. And secure each section with one of the plaiting bands, by loosely winding it around the hair. Keep the bands on your fingers for easy access. As you work your way down the mane you'll find that the mane gets thinner, so make each section slightly wider.
For showing purposes, there should be an odd number of plaits in the mane and an even number for the forelock.

Step 3:

Plaiting with bands

Lightly dampen the mane with a water brush. Starting from the top of the mane, begin to remove the plaiting bands. Divide one section of mane into three smaller sections, with your fingers. Plait down that section right to the end of the mane.
When it has been neatly plaited, tightly secure the end with a plaiting band. Fold the plait under once, or twice depending on the length, to just under the beginning of the plait. With a second plating band, secure the bobble by wrapping it around twice, or more, to fully secure it.
Then plait the entire mane in exactly this way. As an alternative option, instead of dampening the mane with water, you can use egg white. Take a section of mane and dampen it down with the some egg white on your fingers. And plait down as before.

Step 4:

Plaiting with cotton

With your needle and cotton, sow up through the bottom of the plait. Make two turns around the bottom to secure the end. Push the needle through the top of the plait, near the base of the neck, being very careful not to stab your horse! Now fold the plait in half. Fold the plait twice towards you, to make a round bobble. Take the needle and cotton around to the right side of the plait.
Sow back through the centre of the bobble. Now take the needle and cotton once around the left side. Then back up the centre of the bobble. Repeat once more each side with the cotton.
Then take the cotton back down the centre towards you. Loop the cotton around one of your stitches. Thread it back through to secure the end. Cut off the end of the cotton, with scissors. Repeat with all the remaining sections, until you have a beautifully plaited completed mane.

Step 5:

Plaiting the forelock

If your horse is nervous have an assistant to hold his head still. For a neat, and professional finish, French plait the forelock. Take a small piece from each side of the forelock, as you plait down. Keep adding in the sides, until you reach the end of the hair. Then plait down as normal. Secure the end with a plaiting band or a needle and cotton. Fold the plait up, into a bobble. And sow in with cotton or secure with a plaiting band.

Step 6:

Remove the plaits

Be very careful not to break the hairs, when you take off the plaiting bands. When removing the stitched in plaits, carefully snip the stitches on the left and then the right hand side, without cutting the mane. Gently undo the plaits, with your fingers. Remove all the threads from the mane. Brush the mane out with a damp water brush.
Always know where your needle and plaiting bands are at all times. And never leave the plaits in for a long time. Your horse will rub them off. Plaiting is all about, practice and more practice. The more you do it, the better you will become!

Why are grass clippings dangerous for horses?
Equine Health
Monday 4th of May 2009 01:43 AM

It's that time of the year and chances are good that you've already revved up the lawn mower. Please take special caution, do not dispose of grass clippings where equines can eat them. A pile of grass clippings is very attractive to horses, ponies and donkeys but once eaten can prove fatal.

Eating grass clippings can cause colic, and if the grass begins to ferment it can cause a lethal build up of gasses within the gut. This causes the animal severe pain and damage to the digestive system, resulting in a horrible death.

Grass clippings allowed to accumulate and decay in a pile will provide a suitable substrate for Clostridium botulinum (botulism bug). In the same way, silage allowed to ferment at the wrong pH will also allow growth of the bug, and so incorrectly prepared big-bale silage causes botulism. The bacteria grow in the plant matter and form the botulism toxin, which is then ingested causing botulism. How long it takes the toxin to form will depend on speed of multiplication of the bacteria, which in turn depends on the moisture and the environmental temperature (which affect pH). In spring with nice moist grass I wouldn't expect it to take long.

Botulism in horses is frequently fatal, causing flaccid paralysis (weakness of the muscles) and dysautonomia (a bit like grass sickness but not). Symptoms usually depend on the amount of toxin ingested - large quantities will cause almost sudden death, modest quantities will cause weakness, tremors and gradual paralysis of the jaw and muscles involved in breathing (leading to eventual suffocation). In horses colic is often the first sign, sometimes resembling grass sickness, or in milder cases choke may be seen first (food becomes impacted in the oesophagus - not to be confused with human choking, which is in the trachea). Only the mild cases will survive, with early agressive therapy being key.

All garden waste should be disposed of in a responsible manner, and not dumped where grazing animals may find it.

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