Managing Your Horse’s Mane

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Horse manes can be some of the most challenging aspects of grooming. Pulling a mane is a time-consuming chore. Left unmanaged, your horse’s mane can grow wild and unruly, get tangled up, and lie on both sides of your horse’s neck. While that all might be fine if your horse is just spending time around an agistment and won’t be traveling out to shows, it can make preparation very difficult if you do decide to ever compete with your horse. Here are some tips to help you manage your horse’s mane.

A Bit at a Time

If your horse’s mane is long and unruly and in need of some serious maintenance, remember to do just a bit at a time. Asking your horse to stand still for hours while you detangle, pull, and trim his mane is asking a lot, and your hands and arms will be left very sore if you complete the whole chore in one session. Instead, break down the task into shorter, manageable sessions.

Start with Detangling

If it’s been a while since your horse’s mane received proper care, the first thing that you will have to do is to detangle his mane. This in itself can be a chore. A spray-in conditioner or gel can help to detangle some of the knots. Alternatively, you can bathe your horse and use conditioner in his mane, then set about detangling it. Be patient and use your fingers when necessary; otherwise use a mane comb to gradually work your way through the mane.

Not Too Short

Pulling your horse’s mane will be the next task. If you’ve used conditioner to detangle his mane, the mane will probably be slick, making pulling it difficult. Wait a few days for your horse’s mane to return to normal before you try to pull or thin it.

When you do pull your horse’s mane, be patient and do so in sections. If his mane is very long, it might be easiest to cut some of the length off, then pull the remaining shorter mane. Be patient – remember that you can always pull more hair out, but once you’ve pulled a section, you cannot put it back. If you pull a horse’s mane too short, it will make braiding difficult, and the mane will be more likely to stand straight up or for some of it to fall over onto the other side of the horse’s neck.

Make It Easy

There are many horse supplies for sale which make mane care easier. Look into special conditioners, combs, and rakes to help detangle your horse’s mane. Try out a variety of mane combs and thinning combs until you find the combination that works best for your horse’s mane. Special neck wraps are also available to retrain your horse’s mane to lie on one side.

Maintenance Is Key

Once you’ve gotten your horse’s mane back under control, follow up with regular maintenance to keep it manageable. Regular grooming will make future maintenance of your horse’s mane easier and faster.

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