Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pulling manes

I didn't get to ride over the weekend so I was pretty bummed about that, but I was busy running errands and sewing so it sorta worked out that way. Life happens and it isn't always the way we want it too.

A few posts back when I had mentioned Lynn Palm doing both canter pirouttes and reining spins on her horse Rugged Lark, in looking for a video of it I ended up instead on her video about how to pull manes. I have to say I am not a fan of her on a few levels, but I do respect her for some of the things she has done.

I have never pulled a mane up until recently. I had always worked with breeds where the mane was a coveted thing and the longer the better. Imagine the shock I encountered when the Barn Owner of the Arab farm I worked at for a time realized I had roached the mane on my Arab gelding Tai. He was my horse, he had rubbed out a BIG section in the middle of his mane, so I roached it. I shaved it all off, leaving only his forelock and a small portion at the end by his withers. The rest was gone. She was stunned. I thought it looked a lot better than the ragged mess he had before that and it is hair- it will grow back.

Pulling manes (to me anyways) always seemed like it had to hurt. I know it hurts when some of the hair on my head is pulled out, so it has to be the same for the horse, right? I always whipped out the scissors or the clippers and evened it out. I would often braid the mane for the upcoming show, tie it off and snip off the ends. Afterwards when the braids were out, I would go back and even it up.  The first time I braided Tess, she had a really worried and 'on high alert' look to her when I got up on the stool so I could reach. Only after I started braiding and she realized it didn't hurt, did she begin to relax.

I found this video on You Tube about pulling manes and while it is a rather traditional approach to doing it and the horse only seems bothered at first, it is effective and gets the job done.

(I like the fast forward part at the end)

I have to add in here that there was a piece either on the website or in the newsletter from Ruthann of Lucky Braids, about pulling manes and it said to move back and forth along the mane so as not to focus on one area too long and create soreness there. This makes sense to me if you are doing it as seen in the video above.

Then there is the way LP does it. Letting the horse 'let go' of the hairs in the mane.

She has to be kidding, right? I tried it on Aruba's mane and yes, the horse just seems to release the hairs and the hairs just slip right out.  Please note she said it works better if the horse is warm, as in after being worked and the mane not so much clean so you get a better 'grip' on the hairs that need to come out.

I gave it a shot one night after our ride and Aruba was not bothered at all in the process and stood there while I worked on a small portion of her mane trying it out.  I need to pull a few manes around here and now I know a quick, easy and relatively painless way to do it.  Now if I can just find the time.... 


  1. I learned how to pull at a clinic in the spring, but I just don't care for it. I did use it some on Trax to prep for his first show, but opted to use thinning shears on the under side to really make the big difference. We did not end up with your classic halter class mane, but it did look nice and even when I was done.

  2. Simon HATES having his mane pulled (he is really, really naughty for it) but I have been trying the Lynn Palm method and he is much better. That plus a little Ace and he is really good, lol :)

  3. I have appaloosas,nuff said lol Actually most of mine do have nice manes and tails but I rarely pull them , when I do it I do it as I was taught , slow steady and it takes forever

  4. I don't pull manes on any of our Quarter Horses... it takes too long, they don't like it and I don't like the way it looks. I love long manes, full tails- not the add on switches though...I don't criticize those who do but I don't think a well maintained long mane should be subjectively counted out in the show ring.