The Great Jumper Braid Debate

The Great Jumper Braid Debate

Okay, so this debate might not be all that “great”.  With WEF starting and me not going this year, I spent some time looking through my photos from WEF years past.  That’s when I realized that jumper braids seem to fall into two categories these days.

We have the traditional button braids.








And what I officially the “sticky uppy” braids.









Both are almost always tight and neatly done, but I just can’t get behind the sticky uppy braids.  To me, there is one braid and that braid is a hunter braid.



Even if I had a jumper I needed to braid, I’d still want to do him in hunter braids.

Still, I’ve never seen a true jumper with hunter braids so I guess I have to make a theoretical decision for my theoretical future formal 2’9″ jumper classic that doesn’t exist.

Which jumper braids do you prefer – button or sticky uppy?

47 thoughts on “The Great Jumper Braid Debate

  1. I prefer unbraided. Even at the GP level, some braid and some don’t. I don’t love the look of braids, don’t think a horse uses it’s neck more effectively when it’s hair is all tight and uncomfortable, and don’t plan to braid my jumper ever.

    That said, “sticky uppy” braids are just weird.

  2. No offense at all here, but since I’ve had horrible experiences with the hunter world, and I dislike almost all hunter fashion I just cant force myself to like hunter braids. Theyre almost TOO perfect. Is that a thing?
    Anyways, I prefer button braids, they look classy but normal. Unfortunately, if you have a horse like Yankee, no amount of mane pulling and trimming will get braids to lay down and then you get the “sticky uppy” braids. *sigh*

    1. Monica, have you ever tried sewing the braids in with YARN instead of with thread? You can get a yarn needle at JoAnns or any kind of craft store that has yarn, probably. If you braid the yarn into the braid like you would normally, then tie it off, you can kinda punch the yarn needle through the button knot and to the base of the mane to force it to stay down. This is a bad description, but I think it might work!

  3. I love button braids and haaaaaaaaaate sticky uppy braids with a passion. It looks like when I first learned to do hunter braids and kept forgetting the step where you tie the yarn over the braid before tying it under and off. Exactly like that. I think the neck looks better when they’re not sticking up too – reminds me of a dinosaur.

  4. I’ve always preferred buttons on a jumper, hunter braids on a hunter. The ones that stick up look like a little kid tried to do hunter braids with a too long mane and rubber bands. Awful.

  5. I thought the point of doing braids was to accentuate your horse’s neck and show off his awesome neck muscles. To me, traditional hunter braids are the only braids that accomplish that goal.

  6. We do the button braids. And I only do it for big classes. I don’t oppose the hunter braids but I keep my jumpers’ manes longer and thicker so they are impossible to do in the hunter braid.

    1. Cross your fingers for me! I have to roach my WP horse because he rubbed most of his mane off. For the first time ever, I will be trendy. haha

  7. Hunter braids! But I’ve never really been in the jumper ring. Hoping to give it a try this year, and it’s gonna be hunter braids, button braids, or nothing at all.

  8. No braids! Grew up with hunter braids and never cared for them. I am also not a ‘tradition for tradition’s sake’ type. But the buttons aren’t bad. Sticky up is ok. But hunter braids are my least favorite. Sorry.

  9. Button braids!! My fav.

    I get a kick out of hunter people who only like hunter braids and they think they are the best looking braids on the planet. I’m not a huge fan but I don’t hate them either…just makes me laugh. Everyone has their own taste…none are “the best”!

  10. Button braids that do not stick up. I think that well done button braids look just as nice as hunter braids and each has its place. Everyone has their preference though.

  11. I love the look of NICE braids, however I don’t believe they should be required at the lower levels. Too many are done crappily and it ruins the look. And sticky upy braids are weird–they do not fall in my love of braids category.

  12. Button braids. I hate to admit it, but I like the less is more approach to it too. I prefer a loose properly pulled mane or a few nicely done buttons over a bazillion teeny ones. The braids themselves are beautiful, but to me it starts to seem overly fussy and overwhelm the horse. But I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl too lol

  13. LOVE braids on a jumper! Particularly for the bigger classes. Seeing an unbraided jumper at the World Championships makes me cringe. Like you forgot to put on pants or something…

    My barn braids everything for every level (even the 80cm schooling rounds) and although I was very meh on it at first I’ve come to LOVE it. Adds that extra bit of polish and professionalism. We do button braids and I like it. I actually love the sticky-uppy braids though! There’s someone on my circuit who has the best stick-up braids. Her horses look like war horses, love it!

    I love the look of Hunter braids… On a hunter. Truth be told it’s one of several reasons I got out of hunters, though. Too much fiddly.

  14. Button braids (preferably sewn in) I like them medium size. Too small can take away the oh so European appeal and too big is sloppy. Hunter braids are beautiful… On hunters 😉 haha

  15. When I did Hunter Jumpers (a million gazillion years ago – ok maybe not that long but feels like it), we always did the hunter braids that laid flat. I don’t like the button ones that stick up. Plus I felt like they would get in the way and my reins would get stuck in them.

  16. Well, as a western person, I’ll weigh in on this … lol I like the button or the hunter braids. Sticky-uppy = kinda weird. I like a nice banded mane – even for low level schooling shows. Plus, my horse’s mane won’t lie flat when pulled, so it looks terrible unless it is banded!

  17. I like button braids, but hay being said my horse can get away with a running braid wih her long mustang/Arab hair. And once yous get the hang of them, running braids are SO much less time consuming! I think her longane makes her look a little unkept at times though, so I’ve been toying with the idea of shortening it at some point but I don’t want to cause I love doinng the running braid!

  18. I read this yesterday but for some reason, can’t post comments when I see your blog on my WP reader. I was cracking up at the designation “sticky uppy.” I prefer the look of the hunter braids. But honestly, if I had the talent to braid either one, I’d be happy with that. #NotABraider #NotEvenWithHumanHair #Butterfingers

  19. Some of the greats like Michael Matz and Joe Fargis would do their jumpers up in hunter braids. Personally I think it looks super classy. If you want a visual, look at the eq horses in the USET Finals – hunter braids with figure eights and running martingales! That being said, button braids are probably THE default braiding standard around the world. They’re also very simple to do, take far less time than good hunter braids, and can compliment a horse’s neck just as well. I used to only do hunter braids coming from a strictly hunter/eq background, but after branching out into foxhunting and eventing, I embraced the button braid, and that’s my go-to for when I want to look good, but don’t want to go ultra-formal and spend the extra time doing hunter braids.

    And I think the sticky-up braids look very unprofessional (flashbacks to local shows). Six years from now people are going to look back on that trend and say “How on earth…??”

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