One way to make your horses mane grow longer and thicker is to protect existing growth by braiding or plaiting the mane. The type of braids described in this article to help grow a mane longer are commonly used by Arabian, Andalusian, and Friesian owners to help grow those long, flowing luxurious manes. (Even the Cavalia horses are braided in this manner when off-the-job!) This style of mane braid is also helpful for keeping your horse's mane low maintence. At our farm, it's difficult to find the time to detangle broodmare manes, so on our mares prone to tangle we braid and band so we never have to fuss with combing witches knots and wind knots out of their manes.
One small warning, the only drawback to this braid is that if a horse does decided to rub their mane while braided- they will rub an entire chunk out rather than a few hairs. So be sure an use some sort of anti-itch spray or cream on the roots of the mane to minimize excuses for rubbing!
Before braiding, wash and carefully detangle the mane. Comb completely with your fingers, then a brush.
Begin with approximately 3 one-inch sections of hair (varies by mane thickness).
Loosely braid the strands over each other several times. Do not pull tight! A tight braid at the top will irritate and pull hairs out when the horse stretches their neck.
About 2-3 inches from the roots of the mane, pull your braid tighter.
Braid down until the mane starts to thin and place a braiding band around the braid. If you want your braid to last several weeks, be sure and band tightly. Use multiple knots with nylon thread if braiding for long term turnout.
Many people braid to this point and stop, but for extra neatness and a bit longer lasting braid, we fold the remaining hair up under the braid, and band again, creating a tidier appearance.
Repeat this braid down the neck, always starting with a loose mane braid and ending with a tightly braided mane. We recommend leaving the hair at the withers loose, as it is the most likely to be pulled out and least likely to tangle.