Managing Withers

Managing Withers

When a horse puts his head down, the skin at the withers stretches most. Meanwhile, in most disciplines, top turnout involves crafting clean lines. So, you want to be sure to keep the horse comfortable, while braiding all the hair.

At the withers, braids closer together allow the skin to stretch more. If you make small braids and add the yarn to the front of and at the top of the braid, all the hair can be easily and comfortably braided. Usually I do one stage of the process at a time. That is, I braid it all down, pull it all up and then tie them. This helps develop a physical rhythm that yields a visual rhythm- more uniform braids.

However, where hair is short, it helps to tie those braids up right away. Otherwise, they loosen. Try to get the bottom line as even as possible. The hair in this image is actually plenty long. I’d braid that section, check the knots make a clean line, then tie that section so it is even.

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.