Here are some photos that show Russell braided for show. Maybe you can click to biggify to see his braids more clearly.
Boy, I miss that horse!
As I mentioned in the comments to my last post, I've pulled manes short, left them long, and cut them halfway. For me, a little longer is easier. I braid locks, put a rubber mane band at the bottom, then fold them up in half and half again, and wrap another band around the short, now fat braid. Relatively easy in, easy out, and easy to repair a braid if one gets messy. (I leave braids in if I am showing on Friday and Sunday; it's never caused any noticeable damage to my horses manes.)