Braiding Thin Manes & Forelocks

Braiding Thin Manes & Forelocks


Photo circa 1979 at a New England Dressage Association Show.

On this morning, I found Puff’s whole French braided forelock in perfectly in tact… in the bedding of his stall. Later, as a fulltime professional braider, I encountered many horses with wispie forelocks. ALL of them got braided. Here’s how…

Some horses need toupes in their forelocks and/or a section of the mane. I create them by adding/braiding in yarn at the top of the braid. It gives some bulk, evens out the sections or can just be something to hold onto.When French braiding a thin forelock, there is often not enough hair to add from the hairline on each twist. Even if some hair can reach the center, it may not be able to fold tightly into the braid. That can lead the whole braid to loosen in short time.

Our goal is organize all the hair as neatly as possible. That can require bending the rules. For French braiding, it can be helpful to only take from the hairline every other or two twists. That way, the hair gets tied in, while staying taut. Creating a clean line and minimizing fly-aways is the objective.

When I add a yarn toupe to the mane, I do it one twist into the braid, if possible. Otherwise, it compromises the base of the braid, which is the anchor. Braids on the crest can be more sturdy if yarn is added after the start.

**No matter how you tie up** the braids, the fundamentals need to be accurate. No jiggling braids! That is a BIG faux paus! #Topturnout lends credibility to and keeps the focus on our performance. Plus, you want the braids to maintain a *clean line throughout the day’s activities.* A tight, flat, straight braid is *essential to any effective braiding style.*

The actual finger mechanics of adding yarn are very important. Otherwise, the whole braid will loosen up. In my experience, the *finger equitation* as it were, is very specific. Honestly, it is too much to get into here. Over 80 minutes, it is carefully detailed the Lucky Braids How-to DVD/Tool, and best executed with our specialized Braiding Yarn. I can’t get the same results with any other yarn. I understand other videos are online. But, mine is a different game. It will help you optimize your learning curve and make better braids by far. Guaranteed, or your money back. Different league. Here’s a preview. You may learn something right off the bat.

Bio Pic

Ruthann Smith has spent a lifetime studying sound horsemanship- both as a groom for top international horses and as a renowned braider. Quietly twisting manes atop a ladder, she watched and learned in some of the best stables in the world.

As her passion for great grooming grew, Ruthann became focused on researching, collecting and sharing the best practices of the world’s keenest horsemen. Ultimately, Ruthann used her vast experience to develop exceptional equine grooming products to help raise the bar of horsemanship.

The knowledge she dispenses and the products Ruthann developed solve age-old grooming issues. Making quality horse care easier, they have received the highest honors in the equine industry*. Her Lucky Braids for Top Turnout coat care and braiding products are the best, most versatile, cost-effective and easiest solutions available on the market today.

Now Ruthann offers her LOVE, LOVE Guarantee. If not totally thrilled with a product she developed, Ruthann will refund you in full, regardless of where you purchased it.

It’s her life’s mission to empower horses by educating, motivating and equipping their people to be true horsemen. You can access Ruthann’s tips at: The Grooming Resource on, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and her Horsemanship Clinics.

*After testing 350 products, Lucky Braids All-In-One Horse Shampoo was named product of the year by Horse Journal, the “Consumer Reports” of the industry. They also named Lucky Braids Shampoo and Top Pick for greys and whites. Lucky Braids specialized braiding yarn also got stellar reviews.