Hair is such a big thing in the horse world. Maybe it’s because our horses have such long and luscious manes – we want our hair to look just as good! For me, finding a good set of horseback riding hairstyles has been a huge problem over the years. So now I thought I would pass them on to save you some pain.
Let me start by saying I have a lot of hair. My Equestrian Boots and Bridles co-editor, Katie, is just the same. So even day-to-day hair management can be a struggle. But I think with these tips we should have you covered!
Before we get into the horseback riding hairstyles though, let’s talk maintenance…
Keeping Your Hair In Good Condition
Everyone wants long, shiny and healthy hair, right? But it can be a long road to get there. People are always eager to take what they perceive to be a shortcut. One such shortcut (or so they say) is using Mane N’ Tail horse shampoo on yourself.
I always thought it sounded a little too good to be true. But, in the name of science, I did actually test it – you can read more here.
All in all, in my perspective Mane N’ Tail is best left for our equine friends.
But there are two things that I think you can do to improve your hair, and are as close to a shortcut as you’ll get.
The first is to make some changes to your diet. The best thing you can do to promote hair growth is get some more omega-3s into your diet. The best source of omega-3s is fatty fish, like salmon or tuna. You can also find them in seeds and nuts like flaxseed, chia seed and walnut.
If you aren’t able to add these to your diet easily, or want even better results, you can always use a supplement to get the omega-3s into your diet. What I do is take krill oil tablets. Here are the ones I use:
The other thing you can do is invest in some salon quality hair products.
The unfortunate fact is that buying cheap products from the supermarket will cause damage to your hair, especially if it’s dry like mine. There a few products I would recommend, from the Biolage range. These have really helped me on my hair journey!
If you want to give them a try, or even just read more about these products, click the buttons below!
My Favourite Horseback Riding Hairstyles
Alright! With your hair now in tip top shape, we can get into my favourite horseback riding hairstyles. First I’ll take you through the ones I like for more casual rides, then we can talk about the styles I use for competitions.
Classic Low Ponytail
I mean this one is a no brainer right? Easy to do, and literally named after a horse!
The reason I specifically choose a low ponytail is practical: if it’s too high, it’ll affect the fit of my helmet. There is nothing more important than having a helmet that fits well and will protect you. While that does affect your horseback riding hairstyle options, there are still plenty of cute options to choose from!
French braids are my usual go-to. Usually I’ll split my hair into two sections, and do two braids. But sometimes I’ll just do one, starting at the crown of my head.
I do find that having two braids makes the whole structure more secure. I think that’s because with less hair in them I can tie them tighter. It also tires my arms out a little less – tying one big braid with all of my hair is pretty heavy work!
A dutch braid is the inverse of a french braid – you tie your hair under, as you’re braiding, as opposed to weaving it over the top. This gives the braid a more exposed look.
I’m kind of ashamed to admit this, but I only learnt how to do these braids a couple of months ago. And you know what? I think they look so cute! I’m still a little slow doing them, so I still sometimes opt for my standard french braid.
The key with all of these hairstyles is to make sure that any flyaways are tamed. A little spritz of hairspray or a well placed bobby pin can be a huge help, particularly if you have short layers or bangs!
Horseback Riding Hairstyles for Competitions
Okay so first thing’s first: the type of competition and the age of the rider will be the key determinants of the horseback riding hairstyle you choose.
For young girls, hair should be in two braids, with ribbons matching the colour of their competition outfit. Once they are old enough to graduate from paddock boots to tall riding boots, they are old enough to come out of braids.
At later stages, the critical thing for your hair is for it to be neatly tucked away.
There is some discussion about the safety of tucking hair right into the helmet. Whether you choose to or not, as long as it’s tidy, you should be alright. The critical thing is for it to be gathered into a hairnet that matches the colour of your hair.
P.s don’t forget to keep your helmet squeaky clean, it’ll reflect in your hair. How to do this? Make sure to purchase a helmet cover as soon as possible!
Some riders will recommend that you should practice getting your hair neatly gathered away like that. It’s definitely a good idea to get used to how it feels, and doing it relatively quickly. I especially found it helped to know how my hair would look after a ride – it made tidying it between events easier! But I don’t think it’s necessary to wear your hair in full competition style every time you ride.
Western Showmanship and Horsemanship Hairstyles
Generally, the style and general look of competitors is quite different between English and Western events. But I would say that actually having your hair in a tight bun works really well for either.
Ultimately, you want to keep your hair out of your eyes.
While some people might like a more laid back look for Western, safety should always come first. So I opt for a very similar style for all of my competitions!
Helmet Hair Be Gone!
I hope that that’s given you lots of ideas for how you can tame your own mane for riding.
Maybe you’re thinking of doing some matching styles for you and your horse?
We would love to hear from you in the comments if you have any questions, or any horseback riding hairstyles that you like to use!
Happy riding 🙂
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