The following is an excerpt from a response to a question
'How to do mane rolls and tail buns??'.
Many thanks to Lisa for answering this question so well!
Re: How to do mane rolls and tail buns?? Here ya go!
Believe it or not, I actually typed them out today for someone else. Good thing I saved them! They probably aren't the best step by step instructions, but it will give you an idea (methods vary, too). And if you get stuck, someone at the show will be more than happy to help you out. Draft folks are good people!
Quick rundown on when and where needed...
Halter - Mares do not have their manes rolled... just their tails and braid the foretop (w/ or w/out a ribbon) and tuck under the show halter.
Yearlings just the tails and weanlings nothing.
Geldings and stallions get both.
Driving - Mares, Geldings, Stallions are all rolled and tied.
Riding - Whatever you like. I braid the foretop (w/ ribbon) and french braid half the tail. MANE ROLL
Mane should be evenly pulled/trimmed and thinned and I like them no shorter than 5 or 6", as it lays nicer. Mane should all be on the right side.
All you need for this is the mane roll, comb and a braiding bench, chair, show box, or whatever to get up there so can look down onto the mane.
Keep his/her head tied up or it will come loose when he/she puts their head down once it's rolled.
Because the rolls are so long, tie up the bottoms a bit, then let it out as you need it.
For halter, you'll need a long enough roll to put seven flowers in, evenly spaced approximately 3" apart and for driving he'll only need five, as the roll will be shorter due to the collar.
Because I haven't seen him, I really can't tell you, space wise, when to stop, so you'll have to judge that. But, for the driving class, you could put his collar on first, then roll it so you'll know where.
Start right where the bridle path stops, grab a sprig of hair (about as big around as your finger and only the hair closest to the crest, like the top layer... the smaller the more, the larger the less) lay your roll centered behind that and grab another sprig of hair.
Twist them together until it's tight against the roll, left over right and this will be your "anchor point" for the roll and hold it in your left hand.
With your right hand, take the side of the roll closest to you (inside) and bring it over to the other side going behind your anchor, then bring the outside back over to you (criss cross type thing), pull each side tight.
Grab another sprig and twist them (again, left over right) the same as you did before, then criss cross your rolls, starting w/ the inside and pull tight (you do this a lot)... until you think you've gone as far as you need.
And when you get there, braid your roll into the last sprig you're holding onto so it lays nicely acrossed his should, tie a half hitch w/ the roll to secure the braid, add your flowers, comb it and you're done.
When adding the flowers, put in the top one and the bottom one first, then fill in the spaces.
The bottom one should stop just before you started braiding the last sprig or there-a-bouts and the first one can go in between the first two rolls, behind the anchor or right on top of it.
The hardest thing for me was getting it straight down the neck. My first one kinda looked like a drunk person did it. So keep tightening as you're going along and keep it as close to the crest as possible and over to the left. Otherwise you won't be able to see it. TAIL KNOT/BUN
If you're short, have a milk crate handy to stand on!
I like to do it when it's still a little wet (same w/ the mane), as it helps eliminate straglers and you can get it tighter.
Have a couple bands, a comb, a string (long - we use two black shoelaces tied together, blend whatever you use w/ the horses tail color) or twine and something to help pull the braid up through (we made a deal out of a coat hanger w/ a loop on one end, but you can use your finger), handy.
The tail is basically a braid w/ a twist and is done in three sections. You will probably need a helper at first and once you master it, you can do it by yourself.
Take your comb or fingernail and make a part starting and the very top and ending just above the point of the rump, seperate those evenly, comb them good from the outside in and band them to keep them over and out of the way (kind of the pippy longstocking look).
Then take the center/remainder of the tail, starting and the top, and take small layers and comb it all up to meet in the center of your two banded sections (this is where the knot/bun will end up), like a pony tail.
*That part will vary on the horses hair (thickness, etc...).
If the tail is really thick, thin it out, or your knot/bun will be too big and hard to braid.
You can start from the bottom if the tail is fairly thin and make it look nice.*
Now once you've gotten that all combed up and tight (have your string handy... I put it around my neck).
While you're holding onto that last section just above the banded sections, bring your banded sections over, underneath the last section, (this is where your helper comes in) take your string and place it centered and horizontally acrossed the two sections you just crossed over, so when you start to braid it goes w/ those... now pull the center one as tight as you can then bring it down between the two sections and braid those all together.
It should be taking some shape at this point. When you get to the end of the braid, use a half hitch and secure the braid.
Now using your finger or wire, from the top of the braid, stick it right down the center (just above and behind the knot), grab or thread the string and pull it up and through.
Use one hand to bring the straglers up from the tailbone to your knot/bun and at the same time, pull your braid tight and wrap it around the knot/bun, grabbing all the straglers along the way... now stop wrapping when you get one loop of the string around, split the string and cross over and under the knot/bun to complete it and leave enough to tie it off (like you tie your shoes).
Put on your tail bow and you're done!
If you still have straglers, like we always do, because it seems like they swish their tails more when tied, then use a hair net of the same color or stockings (we use the fish-net kind), bring it up around the tail bone and on or around the knot/bun.
Hope this helps and that it wasn't too confusing.
There are books and videos you can get, as well.
One book is called, "So, You Want to Show Draft Horses". Sorry, I can't remember who wrote it, but the Rural Heritage website may have it.
Good luck and Have Fun!!!