Maximum Mane Care Tips

When it comes to growing a long, flowing mane, there is no denying that genetics play a role. Your horse might just be born with the ability to have luscious locks that don’t require much effort on your part. However, if this isn’t your case, there are steps you can take to encourage mane growth, and care for your horse’s mane properly to protect hair health.

Whether you’re protecting your horse’s long mane, or working on growth, follow these tips for maximum mane care. Callipso88/adobe.stock.com

Breaking Down the Basics

Feed well

High-quality forage (pasture or hay) is the basic, augmented with whatever concentrate your horse needs for his particular energy requirements. Maintain a good parasite-control program, to ensure your horse is getting the most from his feed. A horse receiving all the nutrition he needs will have an easier time growing out his mane and tail. It is worth noting that some breeds or horses will not have a tail that drags the ground, or a mane to his knees. Know his limitations and do your best to keep what he does have – healthy.

Tangle-Free the Right Way

Avoid ripping a mane brush through a tangled mane to try and get him knot-free. And don’t get busted using a metal curry comb on the mane or tail! Start with a good detangler, one that’s tried and trusted, and gently work out the knots with your fingers first. Then, gently work a wide toothed comb or mane brush through his mane. Start at the bottom of the mane or tail and work up. This helps prevent breakage.

If you use a comb or brush, use your other hand to hold the tail hair tightly above where you’re working to prevent hair pulls that go through to the tail head and result in hair loss.

Braiding for Health

Keeping your horse’s mane in braids can protect the mane from damage, keep it cleaner, and encourage growth. If you opt to keep his mane in braids, here are 7 ways to avoid breakage and damage.

  1. Start with a Clean Mane: First, avoid overwashing. This can strip the mane of it’s natural oils and dry out the hair. Wash and thoroughly dry your horse’s mane before braiding. This will prevent dirt and sweat from getting trapped in the braids, which can lead to irritation and breakage.
  2. Wash the Underside: When washing a mane, flip it over and be sure to wash the underside, especially at the base of the mane. This is where most dirt and residue accumulate. Opt for a shampoo formulated for horses, that will be gentle on the hair.
  3. Avoid Tight Braids: Ensure your braids are not too tight to avoid putting excessive tension on the hair follicles, which can lead to hair loss and discomfort for your horse.
  4. Moisturize the Mane: Apply a mane conditioner and detangler before braiding or when combing, to keep the hair hydrated and supple, reducing breakage and making it easier to work with. Choose a hair polish and detangler that is formulated by hair care professionals and trusted by horse owners world-wide.
  5. Braid Loosely at the Base: Start braiding loosely at the base of the mane. This helps you avoid pulling on the roots, allowing for natural movement and preventing stress on the hair follicles.
  6. Rotate Braiding Styles: Alternate the placement of braids along the mane to prevent repeated stress on specific areas, promoting even growth and reducing strain on the hair.
  7. Remove Braids Gently: When taking out the braids, carefully unravel them without pulling or yanking on the hair to minimize breakage and maintain the mane’s overall health. Use your fingers to comb through knots and be gentle!

Simple Do’s and Don’ts of Mane Care

Do use clean tools. Keep your brushes clean, and disinfect them periodically, particularly with new horses or with any noticeable skin issues.

Do Avoid Tangling. Use a detangler to work through knots gently and effectively. Choose one that can be used as a hair polish to keep your horse’s coat healthy.

Do Feed for Growth. Provide adequate and proper nutrition for your horse and you’ll notice the impact on his coat, mane, tail, and overall well-being.

Don’t Brush When Wet. Let the mane dry completely before brushing through it, to avoid breakage.

Don’t Braid Tight at the Top. Aside from potentially damaging the hair follicle, braids that are too tight, especially at the top of the mane can be uncomfortable for your horse, and pull on his mane.

Don’t Discount Detangler. Having a trusty detangler and hair polish in your tack room isn’t just for growing and protecting a healthy mane. Use this to remove burrs, sand spurs, tough knots and even to eliminate static under blankets.

[Read: Why You Should Be Rotating Fly Spray]

Share
Related Articles
HR_24BON Grooming Feature_01
Groom to Win
Grooming Secrets to Show Like the Pros
HR_24BON_Conformation Clinic_Performance-Mares_01
Conformation Clinic: Performance Mares
HR_24BON_Crabbe Dont Call it Maintenance_crabbe_01
To Inject or Not to Inject
Don’t Call It Maintenance! 
HR_24BON_Horsekeeping_Ulcers_01
Ouch, an Ulcer!
Newsletter
Receive news and promotions for Horse & Rider and other Equine Network offers.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
Country*

Additional Offers

Additional Offers
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.