Riders pull manes for a variety of different reasons, from just an overall neater appearance or in preparation for braiding, to keeping the horses cooler in hot weather. It is 100% up to you whether you want your horse's mane long or short. Certain disciplines require it a certain way for showing, but if you're just having fun at home, feel free to leave their locks however you'd like.
I am a mane pulling freak... the fact I was able to purposely let Mira's mane get extra long is a testament to my dedication to these blogs! I like my horse to look tidy, and having a shorter mane is easy for me to maintain and is my personal preference.
Step 1: Brush out the mane and make sure there are no tangles. Do not add any hair products or detanglers because that will make the hairs too slippery to hold on to.
Step 2: Get your mane pulling comb and start at the bottom of the neck. Take hold of a small section with the longest hairs from the underneath of the mane.
Step 3: Gently backcomb the excess mane you've taken hold of up to the base of the mane until there are only a few long hairs left.
Step 4: Place your comb as close to the roots as possible and wrap the remaining strands of hair around the comb.
Step 5: Firmly pull the comb downwards in a smooth movement and the hair should fall from the roots without too much resistance.
Step 6: Repeat until the whole mane is the thickness and length desired. Take time with your work so that everything is even.
If you’re not sure how your horse is going to react to having their mane pulled, have an experienced horse person hold your horse instead of tying them. Just in case they were to react negatively, you don’t want them to hurt themselves.
If your horse is more sensitive and doesn’t enjoy their mane pulled, try exercising your horse first. They will not only be tired and more relaxed, but this will allow the pores to expand from being warm. This makes the hair fall out easier. Or pull small sections every day so they don’t get as flustered.
This is my secret trick of the trade… use an old clipper blade to shorten an already thin mane! That way you don’t have to resort to scissors. I also like to do the finishing touches this way to ensure that the length is super even.
Traditionally your horse’s mane should lay on the right side of the neck. If your horse’s mane naturally falls to the left side, you can train it to rest on the right side. Simply brush the mane over, braid it flat, and let them stay in a few days. This will encourage the hair to stay on that right side.
The length of the mane depends on personal preference, discipline, and mane type. If you’re going to be braiding for the hunters, you’re going to want a slightly shorter mane than if you were braiding for the jumpers or dressage. A good starting point is to shorten it to the width of your hand.
Good luck and happy mane pulling!
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