I tried finding a picture of a wad of hair in a hairbrush for this post. I learned one thing for sure- don't bother trying this online. Just take your own picture or use your imagination. So I'm going with door number two. You all get to use your imagination today...
In my many years of owning and working with horses, I have found that when it comes to manes and tails, some people can be absolute freaks about them. All of us have or will at some point deal with a horse with a long mane and those so not wonderful twisted knots they manage to work themselves into. Attractive? Not hardly.
Being the realist that I am, some of that hair has already worked its way loose from the horses neck and is just wadded up in the knot and stuck there. Some of what is still attached and holding everything else in place, is also going to pull loose from its roots and come with it, as you try to untangle the mess and save what you can. Your horse is going to loose some amount of hair no matter what.
Yet still I have been 'advised' how to rid horses of knots and sacrifice the least amount of hair possible- or my job was on the line. Well since the dead stuff has already fallen out and will be taking some friends with it, what do you do? Sometimes there is nothing you can do.
When faced with these knots, you have a few options. Roach the mane and just say forget it, calling it good and being done with it. Won't be worrying about knots any more for a while that way, now will ya? Get out the ol' scissors and start trimming- going for the short maned 'hunter' or stock horse look... Did everyone hear all of those gasps? Surely someone, somewhere, is just mortified I would even suggest that. Each gasp, just confirmed it.
The method most people choose is to wash the mane, shampoo and conditioner of choice- leave in, rinse out, super expensive, dollar store deals or whatever was on sale... and proceed to pick it out by hand, because a brush or comb at that point is just not your friend. Starting at the bottom, you begin to slowly unwind what you can.
There are probably at least two or three thick sections and several small twisted sections that have worked their ways around and through the big stuff. Take your time, you could be at it a while. Sometime during your untwisting, you may run a single hair or two across a sensitive part of your skin. Feel free to grumble with discontent, we all have before. You aren't the first, won't be the last.
When you finally get the knots removed and a substantial pile of hair lays at your feet, rest assured you just may have wasted a good amount of time and half a bottle of 'brand name knot remover' as the horse shakes their head and it all twists and wads back up. You have had that happen before too? If so you are shaking your head and laughing, because it does. So you whip out the rest of the bottle of knot remover and soak it all down. "Twists be gone!" is your war cry. Sometimes that works. Other times, the scissors are looking pretty darn shiny and appealing over there and ol' Blaze may be able to pull off looking like a hunter for a while.
So why do people freak out over a few lost hairs, whether they come from the mane or tail? You don't see them panicking at all of the hair coming off their entire body from using the curry comb. I mean our own hair falls out to some degree too. Ask JR and he'll tell you nearly everything at our place has at least one of my long red hairs attached to it.