Dressage rider Sarah Millis is a self-confessed “control freak” and her meticulous attention to detail extends across all aspects of her horses’ management, including to her horses’ turnout.

In this exclusive video she explains her technique for achieving flawless dressage plaits, which help her horses wow the judges with their immaculate turnout in the arena.

How to do dressage plaits with Sarah Millis

1. Separate the mane into sections that are almost as wide as a normal mane comb

2. Begin by plaiting upwards away from the horse’s crest to give a bit of lift

3. Plait the rest of each section down to the end, pushing the mane together to avoid over tightening over the crest.

4. Secure the end of the plait with a plaiting band, doubling up the end and wrapping the band around a couple of times to avoid any loose fly-away hairs

5. Use a thick waxed thread as this will grip the mane better

6. Use big needles — like ones used for sewing carpet or tapestry — these have a big eye making it easier to thread, plus if you drop them they are easier to find

7. Roll the plait down keeping the band in the middle so you keep the lift in the plait to show off the horses neck better

8. Pass the thread through the centre of the plait so you don’t pull in the sides, which can spoil the look.

Continued below…

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About Sarah Millis

Sarah Millis is an international grand prix dressage rider based in Sussex. She has represented Team GBR at 10 european championships at under-21 level, picking up five team bronze medals, as well as many senior international events. She currently has 22 horse on her yard and typically rides between five and 10 horses a day.

Don’t miss our dressage special issue of Horse & Hound magazine (23 March 2017), with our exclusive interview with Isabell Werth