Braided Manes & Horse Plaits

CarlosTheDJ

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From the Argus (Brighton & Hove) Saturday 23rd January 2010.

Witchcraft could be behind a spate of mysterious plaits in horses’ manes which has left police baffled.

At least ten horse-owners in Sussex have reported finding plaits in their horses’ manes over the last two months.

Police have received reports from places as far apart as Westergate in Chichester, Rother and East Grinstead - reflecting similar reports across the country.

Officers in Dorset have been contacted by a warlock, or male witch, who claimed the plaits are used in rituals by followers of “knot magick”, also known as “cord magick”.

But Kevin Carlyon, the Hastings-based self-proclaimed High Priest of British White Witches, told The Argus some plaits or knots could be evidence of devil-worship or black magic.

He said mostly the practice by “white witches” is harmless and intended for the witch to benefit from the horse’s natural power or as a gift or tribute if they see horses as sacred animals.

Mr Carlyon said plaiting has also been known to precede ritual mutilation of horses in black magic.

Mr Carlyon said: “It still goes on unfortunately.

“If it is normal plaiting, like a girl’s hair, that is beneficial witchcraft.

“With more complex, more tightly knotted plaits, you’re looking down the darker side.

”It is like they are marking the horse to say, this is our chosen one.”

PC Peter Child said the possibility of witchcraft has not previously been considered as part of the Sussex Police investigation.

Police are urging people to contact police if their animals have been plaited, and to challenge strangers hanging around farms or places where horses are kept.

Anyone with information about the plaiting is asked to call PC Child on 0845 6070999.
http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/4866264.Witches_blamed_for_Sussex_horse_plaits/?ref=rss
 

James_H

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Fascinating! It's nice to see that Kevin Carlyon's got in on the act.
It's interesting seeing stuff like this. I remember seeing red ribbons tied to various trees in Oxford and thinking it was something witchy.
 

PeniG

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I thought knots in horses' manes and tails was to give the fairies something to ride on.

If I saw a red ribbon tied around a tree, I'd think that those trees were marked for either salvation or destruction, depending on the priorities of whoever owned the lot. (You mark the fewest trees - trees to save if you're clearing the lot, trees to cut if you're harvesting.) But the marker would more likely be tape and orange. If it was an actual red ribbon, I'd think in terms of deocrations not being taken down after Christmas, markings for a game, or some new variant on activist ribbons. After all, the original yellow ribbon was tied round an old oak tree and was intended to welcome home POWs (although the guy in the song was coming home from a regular stateside prison). Red ribbon is for HIV/AIDS and tying it around a tree could be a new movement in the evolution of activist ribbon codes. Witchcraft would never have crossed my mind. But then, I'm in America.
 

GNC

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Better to have horse plaits than horse ripping. Does that still go on? Seems to have gone (thankfully) quiet on that front.
 

rynner2

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Down here too:

Police probe pagan link to horse weaving
Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 10:00

POLICE believe a bizarre outbreak of horse mane weaving may be the work of a secretive cult of pagan worshippers practising a form of white magic.

The strange practice has broken out in fields in Devon and parts of Dorset and Somerset.

Nearly 20 animals have been singled out for the bizarre treatment over the past three months in Hemyock, Culmstock and Clayhidon, the Culm Valley and Exeter.

Officers initially believed the horses were being marked for theft by organised criminals – until they realised none of them disappeared.

Now they think white witches who practise "knot magick" are using the horses to help them cast spells.

Pagan gods are thought to have a close connection with horses which adds strength to spells that incorporate the animals.

PC Jeff Howley, neighbourhood beat manager for Cullompton, said: "At the moment we do not know of any motive for the plaiting to start with we thought they were being marked for theft but that is clearly not the case.

"One motive from research by Dorset police who are also investigating a number of cases is that it may be a pagan ritual.

"It is hard for us to judge at the moment but any speculation will have to be considered."

Although the braiding does no harm to the affected horses, owners are becoming increasingly bemused and concerned.

Jenny Parsons, secretary to the Taunton Vale Harriers Hunt, who has set up a horse watch scheme, believes a small group of people are targeting the same animals after communicating through social networking websites.

She said: "It is possible it's a pagan ritual and I have had reports of a change in horse behaviour so if these are children's ponies it is an absolutely awful thing to do."

Mrs Parsons urged horse owners to send pictures of the plaits to local police and to remain vigilant.

She added: "Until we know anything different this is worth taking very seriously. They seem to be targeting some individuals more than others, but why?"

It was originally thought the plaits might be being used to mark horses by rustlers so they could be collected at night by gangs armed with fence-cutting equipment and a horsebox.

http://www.thisiswesternmorningnews.co. ... ticle.html
 

sanjose1

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I live in Costa Rica these days. My girlfriends family here own a farm with many horses. She tells me that many times in the past they have discovered some of the horses in the morning with their manes braided perfectly. She says the horses were in a remote part of the farm where there are no people. It would be very difficult for anyone to carry this out at night if for any reason anyone would want to this. When they undo the braids they are often redone either the next day or shortly afterwards. It has happened repeatedly, very odd indeed. Anyone have a clue what could be going on here? Many thanks
 

Bigfoot73

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There's been a spate of mane braiding in UK recently and it's been blamed on occultists, it's on a thread here somewhere. It has been going on in USA for years and gets blamed on sasquatch, for instance in "Backyard Bigfoot" by Lisa A Shiel. I don't think either cause has been conclusively proved.
 

amarok2005

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I could do no better here than to quote one of my own (unfortunately never published) short stories, "Nobody's Workhorse":

The writer spun a book around on his coffee table. A page-sized illustration showed a baboon-like creature astride a foaming horse.

“Equally common was the idea that witches, elves, and other supernaturals ‘borrowed’ horses at night, working them to the point of exhaustion. See, here. ‘Hang up hooks and shears to scare/Hence the hag that rides the mare . . . This observed the manes will be,/of your horses, all knot free.’”

“Knot free?” asked Laura.

Trent grinned knowingly.

“Nearly every culture that tells of supernatural horse thieves mentions their propensity for braiding the manes.”

Laura stroked her hair self-consciously. The mustached writer continued.

“These legends stretch from medieval Europe to central Asia -- where yeti-like creatures, the Almas, were blamed -- and even to North America. This book -- Were-Wolves and Will-o'-the-Wisp -- is about Michigan folklore. And here -- German Legends of the Brothers Grimm --”

He flipped through the book named and positively beamed.

“Yes! ‘The Nightmare’ -- ‘At night they ride horses, and in the morning one can see that they have done so because the horses are exhausted . . . They like to tangle their victims’ hair into elflocks.’ And William Craigie’s Scandinavian Folk-Lore -- ‘The Night-mare on Horses’: ‘It is often the case that in the morning the horses are found standing in the stable dripping with sweat, although they have been there the whole night. In that case it is Marre [Nightmare] who has ridden them . . . Marre also often plaits the horses’ manes and tails into Marre-locks.’"
The Marre or Nightmare is a witch-like being, the same one that presses on people in bed at night, causing paralysis and night-terrors. And as the quote indicates, elves, Almas, and other creatures have taken the blame for "elf-locks". As to who or what really causes them -- your guess is as good as mine!
 

colpepper1

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My wife saw the mane braiding headline in FT and immediately said, 'small girls'.
As an ex-horse freak (probably more suppressed than reformed) she said it was standard practice to lure a nag to a field gate when she was a youngster and plait its mane. Every other horse mad girl she knew did likewise.
 

GNC

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colpepper1 said:
My wife saw the mane braiding headline in FT and immediately said, 'small girls'.
As an ex-horse freak (probably more suppressed than reformed) she said it was standard practice to lure a nag to a field gate when she was a youngster and plait its mane. Every other horse mad girl she knew did likewise.
That sounds more likely than some roaming black magic cult or fairy infestation.
 

SHAYBARSABE

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gncxx said:
That sounds more likely than some roaming black magic cult or fairy infestation.
Of course, it is an infestation of sorts (I speak as an ex-Girl Scout leader).
 

Anome

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Oddly enough, it was my thought too. And I'm not a horse-mad girl, never was a horse-mad girl, and only know anything about horse-mad girls through Thelwell's cartoons.
 

wembley9

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Sounds like the crop circle for the new decade!

Has anyone discovered inexplicable anomalies in the braided hairs yet?
 

sanjose1

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Just ran that possibility (young girls) by my girlfriend and she says not likely at all. It was always done overnight and you would have to treck through the fields to get to the horses. No way I would do that for fear of snakes here in Costa Rica, Just as unlikely young girls would do it for same reason and also fear of other wild animals at night. Other curious thing is the dogs would certainly react anyway if anyone tried to get at the horses. Her Dad thought maybe some small bird could do it, but I dunno, the patterns were so intricate and seemed to be put together with some sort of adhesive too
 

Bigfoot73

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but I dunno, the patterns were so intricate and seemed to be put together with some sort of adhesive too
A very telling feature. Any chance the braids could have been spliced onto the natural hair?
This is nothing more than thinking aloud, but could some insects have made their nest/hive in the manes, using an adhesive secretion?
Were the strands actually physically plaited together, or did it just look that way?
 

lawyerbunny1

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Good point re insects, etc.

Do you have any photos of the plaits/braids?

I've heard (well, read :) ) a lot of recent discussion on various horsey-message boards in the UK about plaits being found in manes. They're often posted by panicked owners who are convinced the plaits are put there by theives to mark a horse they are coming back to steal later that day...

Those who don't believe thieves are at work tend to respond to blame either (i) witchcraft, as Bigfoot says; or (ii) them being formed by the wind/horses simply rubbing themselves/rolling/grooming one another, forming them quite naturally.

A quick google found a recent news story blaming plaits on the former... http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/4866264. ... se_plaits/

Have to say that the picture in that link looks like a natural tangle, horses can be incredibly good at getting manes and tails knotted!

The horses' location might rule out someone plaiting them (for whatever reason) but do the horses have particularly long manes? Might they be occuring naturally?
 

James_H

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We've got a thread on the Sussex thing.

I find it very interesting that this has cropped up simultaneously in England AND Costa Rica, two not-very-connected parts of the world (different languages, geographically very separate). I wonder if this has just been picked up on, or if it's been happening for some time?
 

Mythopoeika

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lawyerbunny1 said:
A quick google found a recent news story blaming plaits on the former... http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/4866264. ... se_plaits/

Have to say that the picture in that link looks like a natural tangle, horses can be incredibly good at getting manes and tails knotted!
I agree, that looks like a natural tangle. Long hair does sometimes get knotted up like that.
 

marion

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I was grooming a horse at the stables where I used to live and was asked to remove a tangle from the mane- it was a plait, very rough and tangled but definitely a three strand plait, no way could it have been done by the wind or insects. Everyone denied to the point of getting irritated with me that it was a plait, no one would have done that apparently, everyone esle was convinced it was a natural knot but it wasn't. It took ages to remove. The horse wasn't one of the friedlist there but I guess most horses will do anything for a carrot.
I read a thread on a horse forum about horses found with their tails stuck up their arses! Someone said no kidding it had happened to one of their horses and a couple of other people admitted it had happened to their horses too, the whole end of the boney living bit of the tail and lots of hair, right up! The horses didn't seem bothered so everyone assumed it was a feak natural occurance.
 

MsQkxyz

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^^^Crikey! Thats not very nice :?

RE the OP, since its already stated that the horses are in an unlikely place for humans to access; could the horses be taking off at night sometimes to a neighbouring property where perhaps theyre being pampered and spoilt and getting their hair platted?
I dont know much about horses, but I know some people get crazy over hair, like really crazy. I have very long hair which is often likened to a horses mane as it happens lol. Complete strangers often come up and try to plat it, I also get followed a lot because of it. If I werent able to fend them off Id probably regularly come home with braids too :x
 

OneWingedBird

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This is a new one on me:

Two horses had to be moved by their owners after having their tails plaited.

It was feared the animals in the Thorner/Collingham area of Leeds were about to be stolen as thieves have used the technique in the past to mark horses.

West Yorkshire Police said: “On this occasion the owners have noticed this and made sure that the horses have been moved to a safe location.”
YEP

Has anyone heard of this before?

It seems a troublesome way to go about stealing a horse, really, why bother telegraphing that you're about to steal something?
 

Mythopoeika

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I think it's been mentioned on a thread here before.
 

Xanatic*

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Weren't fairies or little folk usually blamed for this plaiting?
 

GNC

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Wasn't Bigfoot a fan of horse tail plaiting?
 

eburacum

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When asked ‘Why don’t they just ASK!?’ – she replied that it weakens the spell if they speak about it, so I know it’s very, very worrying but if it is this reason, then their intentions are never ever malicious. "
This is funny.
So is the fact that YEP report it as if the 'thief mark' legend is true, when it is obviously utter crap.
 
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