A common question that comes up in preparation for a horse photography session with Ride the Sky Equine Photography is, “Should I braid or band my horse for his photoshoot?”


The History of Braiding Horse Manes


The braiding of horse manes is a practice that goes back hundreds of years and initially was a way of helping with the functionality of the horse. Soldiers would braid the horse’s mane to keep it from getting tangled with their weapons. Eventually, braiding began being recognized as a way to single out horses of more prestige in hunts and battles.
Workhorses used on farms are also frequently braided to keep the manes and tails out of the way of the farm equipment.
Over time, braiding moved into the show ring. Thoroughbreds and other show horses are often braided in the show ring. Many breeds and/or disciplines are often expected to have a specific styling to their manes.

For example, in the dressage arena, horses are expected to have button braids for a polished look. Breeds with long and full manes like Friesians and Gypsies frequently have running braids or continental braids.




Example of a banded horse mane


What is Horse Mane Banding?


Horse mane banding is something common in the western show world.

The goal of banding is to make the mane lay flat against the horse’s neck.

When banding a mane, you want to make sure that the bands fall in a precise straight line. The line of the bands runs parallel to the line of the end of the mane, therefore, making the horse’s neck appear longer.



Should I braid or band my horse for his photoshoot with Ride the Sky Equine Photography?


This is completely up to you. Braiding and/or banding gives a very formal and polished feel to your images.

I always suggest that you think about how you want to dress for your horse photography session and match your horse to your vibe.  For example, are you going to be wearing your complete show attire? Then perhaps your horse would look best braided or banded.

Are you going to be dressing in jeans or a dress? Maybe your horse would look better in his more natural state.

Of course, this only works if you are planning on being in the images with your horse. If you are not, then you should consider what you love best about your horse. Do you love taking him into the show ring? Do you love it when he’s out grazing in the field? Do you love watching his mane fly around in the breeze? What are your favorite things to do with your horse? What do you most want to remember about your horse? Those are the things you should consider when planning how you want your horse to look for during his photography session.



Got more Questions?


If you have more questions about horse photoshoots, make sure to check out our other blog posts including:

How long does a horse photoshoot take? 

What if my horse doesn’t behave during his photoshoot?

Questions to Ask a Horse Photographer BEFORE Booking

Can we Have a Horse Photoshoot in the Rain?

Do I need Professional Photography to Sell My Horse?

Why you Should Take Professional Pictures with your Horse


Ready to Schedule your Horse Photoshoot?


Interested in scheduling your horse photoshoot with Ride the Sky Equine Photography?  You can send Ride the Sky a message here

Betsy Bird of Ride the Sky Equine Photography spends her days doing insane things to make horses look at her. Clearly, she’s desperate for attention. When she’s not celebrating the stories of the amazing horses in her clients’ lives, she invests time and energy into perfecting her equine photography skills and growing her business, hanging with her favorite rescue dog, Nitro, and planning her next big adventure. She also tries to spend some time educating and entertaining her fans and potential clients by blogging and posting on social media about whatever catches her fancy at the moment. 

Betsy is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) with the organization Professional Photographers of America (PPA). The CPP designation is held by fewer than 2,000 photographers nationwide and is a hallmark of consistency, technical skill, artistry, and professionalism. Ride the Sky specializes in on-location photography for equines. Ride the Sky also has the option of bringing the studio to the stable. Based in Chattanooga, TN, Ride the Sky Equine Photography works on location in Tennessee, North Georgia, and beyond.

These photos are copyrighted by their respective owners. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.