Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jumper Braids

While braiding in the hunters is, for the most part, required, braiding in the jumpers is entirely optional. Some riders choose to have their horses braided for every class, while others reserve braiding for special classes or do not braid at all. Since braids will not affect your score in a jumper class, the choice is entirely up to you.

Braiding adds polish to a jumper's turnout. A loose mane can look messy at times but a neatly braided mane will help make any horse look great. One of the great things about braiding in the jumper ring is that the style doesn't matter! Most braiders will use button braids for jumpers. These are the same type of big, round braids that is seen on many dressage horses. Button braids use larger sections of mane and are therefore fewer in number along the neck than is seen with hunter braids. The exact number will depend on the horse's mane and your preference for looks and braiding time! Other types of braids that are seen in the jumper ring, albeit less often than button braids, are hunter braids and running braids.

Button braids can be created using elastics, thread or yarn. There are several different methods that can be used to create button braids; some braiders prefer to roll the braids up while others prefer to fold them. Braiding with elastics is generally faster than braiding with yarn, but yarn or thread is best in terms of security as they are far less likely to fall out.

The forelock does not have to be braided for the jumper ring. If you do not wish to braid it, the forelock can be left loose or it can instead be covered with a quality fly veil.

While hunters should be braided on the right side of the neck, jumpers can be braided on either side. Usually jumpers are braided on whichever side the mane naturally falls.

Some classes that are run in the jumper ring do expect braided horses. These are jumper equitation or medal classes. Horses can be braided with either hunter braids or jumper braids for such classes, although hunter braids are generally considered to be more acceptable for more formal classes.

For a tutorial on one method of braiding a jumper with yarn, see Foolproof Jumper Braids.


  1. Can u use jumper braids (button braids)in a hunter class. Its a open 2ft. class (the hunter) and a bronze level show. I'm doing a jumper class after. Or should I do hunter braids, but I'm thinking it will look weird in a jumper classs.

    1. Hunter braids can actually be used for a jumper class, no problem. It's not unusual, particular in jumper medal classes, for the horses to have hunter braids.

      For a 2 foot bronze-level hunter class, however, either option is likely to look respectable. If this were a rated class at a national horse show I would say to always use hunter braids for the hunter ring, but in your particular case I think that the judge will appreciate a neat braiding job whichever style you choose (though if you do go for button braids, aim for more braids rather than just a few).

  2. Okay, thanks so much. I'm new to this whole showing thing.