BY BETH BOYER
There’s currently a braider shortage at the horse shows, and braiders are quitting left and right. It’s a hard job under the best circumstances. While some clients are great, many are the opposite. If you can’t find a braider, one of these reasons might be why.
- You haven’t paid on time in the past (or at all).
- You don’t know your show schedule.
- You changed the schedule 15 times, and no one knows what’s going on.
- Your horse isn’t in its stall at the time of your appointment.
- Your horse’s mane is too long, too thick, or otherwise unprepared.
- Your horse thinks the braider is a chew toy, or doesn’t stand at all.
- You add something last minute at the time of your appointment.
- You call the braider after they finish a 24 hour shift, because you weren’t watching your horse and he rubbed some braids out.
- You load the mane with product or cut your bands after the braider already trimmed the mane to braiding length (but we manage to get the job done anyway).
- You don’t leave the fake tail out so we can braid it in.
- You double book braiders.
- You pay digitally as “books and services” so we have to pay an extra 40% in fees and taxes.
- You cancel on us last minute when we’re halfway across the country.
- You beg on social media for someone to do your horse, and when someone takes the job you bash the quality of work.
- You don’t book in advance and think you’ll find a braider once you get there.
The list goes on and on. We are in a huge braider shortage right now. Every single one of us is working at max capacity every show. Some of us have multiple shows in a single weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, we want to help. We love our job, but sometimes it is too much. Adding “just one horse” that wasn’t on the list because the owner forgot isn’t a small thing. Having to braid 3″ of too thick mane, slippery with product takes two hours… and you have ten more on your list. This is hard work. It’s extremely mentally draining, especially when you have to hound people to get paid for work that’s already done.
I don’t want to complain. I love my job and choose to do this, but we need help. It’s hard to convince new braiders to come when they run into these problems all night long for multiple days. Think about this list next show. It’s time to save the braiders.