If you have long hair, you know how challenging it can be to wrestle your tresses into a tidy bun—and make it look nice under your hat for the show ring. And while a ponytail may be acceptable for most rail classes, a bun is a must for polished showmanship and horsemanship presentations. Try this step-by-step approach to pull together a sleek look. (Note: Have on-hand a brush or comb, coated elastic hair bands, hairpins, bobby pins, a hairnet, and ribbons that coordinate with your show outfit.)
1. Here, I’ve had amateur exhibitor Angela Fox brush her hair into a low ponytail, at ear level. If your hair is thin, you can tease the ponytail to add volume for a fuller bun. Tip: Hair that’s too clean and shiny can be difficult to manage. Skip washing your hair before your class.
2. Next, I put a coated elastic hair band around the bottom third of her ponytail. (Purchase a band in your hair color to help camouflage it.) If you have layered hair, a hairnet and hairpins will help tidy strays (more on that to follow).
3. Holding the bottom of the ponytail with one hand, I roll it under, toward the nape of Angela’s neck, wrapping it around my finger in jellyroll fashion.
4. Once it’s rolled up underneath the base of the ponytail, I carefully tuck in loose ends, then pin each side with hairpins, allowing the sides to form a symmetrical bun.
5. I carefully shape the bun by stretching a hairnet over and around it, adjusting as needed. It’s hard to find small hairnets, so if you’re using a large one, you’ll have to pull it to the side, twist it, stretch it back over the bun, and repeat (if necessary) to make it snug and tidy. If you have a lot of hair and a large bun, use the net to make it appear smaller. Make sure the hairnet matches the color of your hair as closely as possible.
6. Next, I use bobby pins throughout the bun to help sculpt and anchor it.
7. I attach a bow to a bobby pin, and tuck it at the top of the bun. Two or three colors of ribbon look attractive, help cover the hair band, and lend a polished appearance.
8. With her hat in place, Angela’s hair is picture perfect.