Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.
Why Not Just Give Your Horse a Haircut With Scissors?
When we pull our horse's mane, we want it to look tidy and natural. If you use scissors to cut your horse's mane, the result does not look natural at all (I'd say compare it to a little kid whose mom cut her bangs the night before school pictures). You know the look I'm talking about, and it's not a cute one. It definitely doesn't look natural!
The Traditional Method of Mane Pulling
The traditional method of mane pulling using a comb is a skill that takes time to perfect. Just like everything else with horses, the more you practice it, the better.
There are other facts that determine how hard it is to pull your horse's mane. For example, the type of hair they have.
- If it is thick and course, it can take longer and be harder to pull than a thin, fine mane would be.
- A thin and fine mane can be just as hard to pull just because it is hard for the comb to grip. Not to mention, if you have the technique down, it is really easy to pull a thin, fine mane too short and thin just because the hair comes out so easily!
Hints for New Mane Pullers
If you have never pulled a mane before, know that it is going to take some time to get the technique down. That being said, I would recommend not planning on pulling the whole mane at one time. Your fingers will get sore, and you will get frustrated. Plan on just practicing a little bit at a time.
Some Horses Hate It
Some horses don't mind mane pulling at all. Others are very disagreeable about it. You won't know until you try. If your horse is not good for mane pulling, definitely breaking it up and doing it a little bit at a time will make it less painless for both of you.
There Is an Easier Solution: The Solo Comb
If your horse hates mane pulling or you just can't seem to get the technique down, I have found a tool that is a great solution! I have been pulling manes for years the old fashion way. The two thoroughbreds that I have now both really hate having their manes pulled. Even though I'm good at it and can do it quickly, it was still a fight to get it done.
Knowing what a cut mane looks like, I refused to cut their manes with scissors, so I started looking for other options. That's when I found the Solo Comb.
The Solo Comb is basically a plastic pulling comb with a handle. It is easy and comfortable to hold. The technique with this is the same as the old fashion pulling comb. The only different thing that makes it so much better is that there is a blade in the comb. So instead of having to wrap the hair around the comb and yank it out, you just squeeze a button, and there is a blade that cuts the hair. Since you are still teasing the mane up like you would with a normal pulling comb, the result is a mane that looks just like one pulled with an old fashion comb.
It is easier on your fingers and also on your horse's neck. He will feel more comfortable since you do not have to yank out the hair. I have been able to pull my two horse's manes that are difficult with an old fashion comb really easily with the Solo Comb.
I would definitely highly recommend it to anyone!
© 2018 Ellison Hartley
What to Do If Your Horse Hates Mane Pulling - pets
Pulling a horse's mane, as most of you I'm sure already know, basically involves pulling out sections of hair using a small metal comb, in order to make it shorter, thinner and neater. And I can't deny it, I think a horse with a well pulled name looks extremely smart, and of course, it makes plaiting easier too. However, there is also no denying that some horses really dislike having this done my old horse used to get all fidgety as soon as he caught a glimpse of the mane comb, and would stick his head in the air like a giraffe so I couldn’t reach. But, can we really blame them? I mean we know all too well how painful having our hair pulled or yanked can be, particularly if the perpetrator comes away with a fistful of hair, which begs the question - does pulling a horse’s mane cause enough unnecessary discomfort to deem it cruel?
Whilst horses have far thicker skins than humans, it is also commonly thought by some that horses do not have nerve follicles in their hair which means that pulling it doesn’t hurt. However, vets have pointed out that actually, this isn’t the case, and horses have sensory nerves at the ends of their hair just like we do. This means that they are bound to feel some kind of discomfort from having their manes pulled, especially when large amounts of hair are removed in one go. 'DUH' says my horse,'that's what I was trying to tell you!'
But just to be sure, a study was carried out recently by student Louise Nicholls who looked in to the effects of having the mane pulled on a horse’s heart rate. Taking a survey of 20 horses, Louise found that the heart rate rose significantly when the mane was being pulled as opposed to when it was just being touched by a human, an obvious sign of increased stress. Similarly, the body language of these horses changed when their manes were being pulled, with many of them exhibiting clear signs of discomfort such as putting their ears back, bracing themselves and swishing their tails. These results highlighted that mane pulling was definitely something that caused stress to these horses, and was certainly not by any means as relaxing for them as other kinds of grooming.
However, there do seem to be horses who don’t seem bothered by it at all, and appear happy to have their hair pulled out. To me, the effect of mane pulling is very personal to the horse. Some clearly hate the feeling and are scared of it – it could well be that this is due to a bad experience in the past with someone doing it too aggressively, so now the horse is anticipating a similar kind of pain. Others do not seem bothered, especially when it is done gently and carefully.
In order to minimise discomfort and stress caused by pulling the mane, it is suggested that you begin at the bottom, by the withers, and work upwards towards the poll. The same study by Louise Nicholls found the heart rates of horses were significantly higher when the mane pulling began by the poll and worked downwards rather than the other way around. Also, it is better to pull the mane when the horse is warm, such as after exercise. This is because the horse’s pores open up when their temperature rises, meaning that the hair can be removed from the follicle with less force. It is also suggested that rather than spending hours on end pulling a mane, you do it in small sections over a period of time. This way, you can avoid the likelihood of it becoming a stressful experience.
Having said all that, there are alternatives to pulling the mane, full stop. Whilst cutting a mane with scissors is tricky and can risk making your horse or pony look like you did as a kid after your mum had cut your hair, there are some special trimming tools on the market such as the ‘Solocomb’ that combines a comb with a blade to shorten and thin hair it in a way that doesn’t cause discomfort. Using a grooming tool like this can make the whole experience much less stressful for both of you and that can only be a good thing, right?
What are your thoughts on pulling manes? Does your horse dislike it? Do you think it's cruel? Do alternative tools do as good a job? I would love to hear your opinion and of course any tips!
How To Fix A Clip
Clipping horses is definitely a skill that takes time to develop as it's not as easy as it looks. But the only way to develop those skills is to jump in the deep end and give it a go!
When you start it's not … Ещё uncommon to end up with a finish that you're not 100% happy with. But it's not the end of world and it is often fixable, remember, it's only hair and it will grow back.
This video is a quick one to show you how to fix a clip. Hope it helps :) # horseclipping # howtofixaclip
Nags To Riches Equestrian
Grooming: Mane Pulling 101
A long, flowing natural mane is the desired look for some horse breeds and disciplines. In others, a shorter, thinned version is “in.” The traditional method to achieve this shortened look is by “pulling” the mane. A neatly pulled mane helps make a good first impression and it’s also practical, as it makes grooming easier.
For tips on mane pulling, we spoke with Shari Eisaman of Eisaman Equine near Ocala, Florida. A prominent two-year-old-thoroughbred sales consignor and training facility, Eisaman Equine has sold many top racehorses, including 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another.
“You don’t want the mane too short or it won’t lay nicely. Four to six inches is a good rule of thumb,” says Eisaman. The length of a dollar bill is frequently the standard measurement when it comes to pulling a mane.
Many equestrians say horses hate having their manes pulled, probably because of how it’s done. None of us would appreciate having substantial sections of our hair yanked out, so the key is to only pull a few hairs at a time.
Mane pulling is easier if it’s done when the horse is still warm after training because the pores are open. After hosing the horse off, the mane will be damp, making it easier to pull than a dry mane.
You can use a mane-pulling comb or a “people” comb. Start in the middle of the mane, not at the withers or behind the bridle path. Placing your hand parallel to the neck, take hold of a few hairs along the bottom of the mane. Use the comb to “tease” the rest of the hairs in that section up to the crest. Holding your thumb against the comb and hairs, quickly pull the comb away. You can pull in an upwards or downwards direction some say pulling up is more comfortable for the horse. Keep checking the length as you go, making the next section match the section you’ve just pulled as you work up and down from the middle of the neck where you started.
“I just wrap a few strands around the pulling comb and pull down,” says Eisaman. “Take your time and only pull a little bit at a time if you pull a lot, that’s when it hurts.”
If the mane is thick, you’ll want to pull enough hair to actually thin the mane at the same time you’re making it even and neat. If the horse already has a thin mane, just pull enough to tidy it up and even the bottom. DON’T use scissors, which can make the mane look “clumpy” and uneven.
“If a horse has a really thin mane, I will only pull a little and then trim it up by ‘back blading’ it,” Eisaman adds. “I pop the blade off the clipper and just use the blade to kind of feather the mane.”
The pulling process will go more smoothly if the horse is used to having his mane combed regularly. Dampen the mane and comb it down on the left side every day. Not only will this get the horse accustomed to the comb, it will also train the mane to lay on the correct side.
How to Change the Side Your Horse’s Mane Lies On
Comb out the mane so it is neat, tangle-free, and all laying on one side of the horse's neck. A grooming spray can help work out any tangles and prevent breakage which can make a mane look frizzy. Once the mane is smooth, dampen it slightly (a sponge or spray bottle works well). Divide the mane into sections about 1 to 2 inches wide all the way up the neck.
Braid each section and secure with a strong thread or elastic. You might want to pick up a package of small braiding elastics at your local tack shop. Don't braid the tuft of mane at the withers. It doesn't matter if the braids look nice. They don’t even need to be particularly even in width or length you just need them to hold all of the mane on the side you choose. The weight of the braids over a short time will encourage the mane to lay on one side.
After a week's time, pull the braids out, comb out the mane, and re-braid if necessary. Some thin manes will lay flat after a week, others can take a few weeks. If the braids start to fall out, start again, smoothing and braiding the mane. If your horse has a particularly thick, untamable mane, the process can take much longer. It can come ‘undone’, so you might have to repeat the process every so often.
This is the only time you will want to leave braids in your horse's mane. Don’t leave the braids in and not take them out occasionally for grooming, or leave your horse out with show braids after the show is over. If braids are left in for a long time the hair will break and tangle, leaving your horse with a frizzy uneven mane. This won’t look nice and will make extra work for you, untangling the snarls.