Smart Groomings Perfect Plaits- what our happy customers have to say
To start I washed Beanie’s body, tail and mane the day before to get rid of flakey dry dandruff in the mane and also remove dust, dry and oil.
Now by shampooing it meant the mane was now lovely, shiny and clean but now also slippery. That’s where Perfect Plaits comes into play. Previously we’ve used VO5 hair wax for this, which is great at keeping the hair together but by using that, it makes the hair have a matte appearance and very sticky, rather than shiny.
First, we sprayed the Perfect Plaits all over the mane; so it was well covered and all wisps of hair were combed down, then split the mane hair into sections which were the length of the comb, which is about 3 inches long.
Perfect plaits make the hair slightly oily and tacky which keeps all the fine hairs stuck into the main plait, so no fly away bits!
Then, making sure the base of the plait was high enough, we plaited the hair fairly tightly all the way to the bottom and put a band round it (Like the end of the neck plaits below)
We did this until all of the sections were plated in length.
Once that was finished, we went back up to the first plait, nearest the pole, and threaded the very end of the plait. Then took the needle under and thread it through the base of the plait and rolled the end under so it was now at the base of the plait length (to make a loop)
Then folding the length of the plait in half again until it creates a ball like this –
With the needle and thread we sewed the plate in securely making sure it was not too tight as that it will damage the hair follicle; which would cause the hair to fall out.
We did this for the entirety of neck until all of the mane was rolled up plaited.
(Note – It’s recommended to sow in plaits as with bands it’s harder to get the desired round ball shape that you want)
To finish off we then sprayed all of the plaits again with Perfect Plaits to help seal in any escaped wispy hairs and seal the overall plait.
Here is the finished product –
See how the top and middle plaits are a bit thicker and placed slightly higher than the lower ones? This is us using plaiting tricks to add more top line. It’s explained below in this video with show producer Robert Walker on plaiting your horse to add top line, which is really helpful in explaining why you do this, why you thread in plaits and how it looks better.
Hope it helps –
We vary B’s work a lot so he doesn’t get bored. We lunge him regularly in a pessoa to build top line and he is fed on Equi-Jewel to keep him nice and covered (but not fat!) but unlike some racehorses who were cut later (thus meaning they have a more cresty neck from being entire for longer) we do do as Robert suggests and plait to add top line.
Unfortunately there is only so much neck work you can do (without having your horse stood in his stable in draw reins. Yes some show riders do this) and a horse will get to it’s maximum neck muscle mass, so using the different plaiting techniques to your advantage is perfectly fine. For example if you had a pony with a spring grass cresty neck then people will plait down flat, with smaller plaits and more of them, to not accentuate that crest. All show riders we know plait this way using the illusion effects to give a better overall picture.
We shave Beanies tail for showing thus meaning we’re unable to plait it, so I was very kindly allowed to try out Perfect Plaits on various friends Polo Ponies a couple of weekends ago for a polo tournament!
It was a little bit of an experiment to see how well it would work. Tails were first brushed through with no product on (to make sure multiple products we’re mixed together), then once tangles were removed we sprayed through the hair from about 10cm away so to get even coverage.
Left to work in slightly for a minute or so before I commenced plaiting. The product is a little oily but makes the hair slightly tacky to stick in stray hairs, as mentioned above.
After slowly but surely adding a little extra hair into the plait each time, until finally all the tail was fully plaited all the way to the end, ready to be taped up.
Perfect Plaits leaves the tail seriously shiny and looking very impressive. Here it is on a black tail of polo pony Thunder. Very shiny, neat and very few hairs escaping.
We came back the next day to plait the ponies tails up for day two of the tournament and Perfect Plaits was still in the tail, they were very shiny still and very easy to plait back up.
This product works really well – although be warned it does go a long way so make sure to not use too much (all of Smart Groomings products only need a little) as it will make the hair too slippery. Also something I found is make sure to fully press the lever on the bottle down quickly to make a mist, as if pressed too slow it comes out in a stream and isn’t evenly covering the hair, leaving an oily patch, which you don’t want)