I have read that with certain breeds like Friesians and Andalusians, a running braid is acceptable. But to me he looks more like a Thoroughbred/Warmblood than a Friesian. So if I show up with a running braid it may be perceived as lazy vs paying tribute to his breed and thick mane.
The other option is to go a head and shorten and pull his mane. But as I look at the pictures of current button braids they seem to be quite thick. I'm imagining if I only fit 8-10 braids on his neck they are going to be the size of my fist, without completely thinning it out. That is something else that seems to have changed. When I was showing years ago, we had 15-20 individual braids, maybe I've been doing it wrong this whole time. And where is the white tape? That seems to have gone away too. Geez I wonder what else has changed. Are we still wearing white pants? I hope so because they are the only ones that still fit :).