|3 yard needles|
Seriously, this 50¢ item improved my braids like 500%.
How did I ever get by without one these last few years? It made it so much easier to get the braids into a tight ball and they felt much more secure in place. Best of all, they are cheap! It's 99¢ for a 2-pack at any craft store. I bought several since I figure they break and I'd rather have a few extras.
The below picture is from our dressage show on May 19th and it was the 3rd time I braided Hemie. So far, its by and away our best attempt. I did the braids the morning of the show, around 6 am or so. The braids a a tad lumpy and uneven, but at least they are actually round balls rather than squished folded things.
And for those who don't braid, or are newbs like moi, the yarn needle comes into play after you have braided yarn into a section of mane, then used a pull-through to loop the braid underneath. At this point, instead of using your fingers (and sometimes teeth), to try and tie the braid loop into as much of a "button" as you can using the yarn at the end of the braid, you simply feed the yarn through the large eye of the needle and then fold the braid over itself again, pinning the needle through the braid to secure it into a tight little ball. Brilliant.