Last Updated on March 1, 2022 by Allison Price
The mane is one the most distinguishing features of a horse. Have you ever wondered why the mane looks the way it does?
We will be looking at 16 facts that might surprise you about horses’ manes. You’ll be able to learn everything you need about horses’ manes by the end of this article.
If you are ready to learn more, keep reading!
Table of Contents [ hide]
- 1. Stallions have thicker manes than mares
- 2. Horse health is indicated by the manes
- 3. Horses feel it when their manes are tugged
- 4. Horses are kept comfortable by their manes
- 5. Fast growth can be possible for manes
- 6. At a certain length, the manes stop growing
- 7. Conditioning can help promote a healthy body
- 8. Some breeds have thicker hair than others
- 9. You can style your manes in many different ways
- 10. Different breeds have different mane styles
- 11. There are many styles and types of braids.
- 12. Braiding was different for mares and stallions.
- 13. Many styles of mane can be partially shaved.
- 14. Some manes get a perm!
- 15. Old English is where the word “mane” came from.
- 16. The horse’s color is classified by its mane
- The mane Event!
1. Stallions have a thicker mane than mares
Males in many species have a more striking appearance than their female counterparts. However, the mane of a horse is a male’s. Males have thicker hairs than females. This has nothing to do attracting a mate. The reason is actually a lot more sweet than that!
Wild males will often fight for dominance. When they do, the common tactic is to bite their opponent’s necks. Protective measures include thicker hair. It’s like hairy armor!
2. Manes Are A Good Indicator Of Horse Health
A horse’s mane is a sign of his health. A shiny, thick mane indicates that he is getting all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients he needs. An animal in poorer health could have a thin or uneven mane.
Regular grooming is a good way to keep your horse’s mane in tip-top shape. Braiding it can reduce tangles, and also reduce the frequency you have to brush.
3. Horses feel it if their mane is tied
Remember that horses can sense when their manes are pulled, especially when grooming them. Just like human hair, the nerve sensors in horse hair’s hair follicles have nerve receptors.
It can cause discomfort and pain for horses to pull their mane. Research has shown that horses respond to stress by having their mane pulled. This can cause an increase in heart rate.
This can be avoided by using careful grooming techniques. There are special combs available that can thin the mane of your horse without having to backcomb it. You can make grooming a pleasant experience by taking it slow and gentle.
4. Manes Help To Keep Horses Comfortable
Manes keep horses warm and dry by providing a protective layer. They direct water away from the neck and head . They also help animals maintain their body temperature by insulating the head, neck and major blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.
They are also a valuable protection against biting insects. The long hairs are a barrier and can also be used to repel insects. Horses can bat away bugs by shaking their heads and flicking their manes.
5. Manes can grow fast
A variety of factors affect the rate at which a horse’s mane grows, including climate, diet, and breed.
The fastest growing horses are generally larger horses, such as draft horses or cobs. All breeds have a range of between one and two inches every month.
Healthy mane growth can also be supported by a balanced diet. This means that you need to eat the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, and amino and omega fatty acid. You can find specialist products that will deliver the right balance of nutrients to encourage vigorous growth.
Age doesn’t seem to have an impact on horses’ mane growth. Horses don’t have to worry about their manes getting thinner as they age, unlike humans.
Different parts of the mane develop at different rates. The fastest growing hair is the one at the top of your mane. This is the closest to the poll (or the horse’s head). The lowest, at the withers, is the fastest.
6. The Manes Quit Growing After A Certain Length
Wild horses don’t usually have their manes lowered to the ground, which might be a reason why. Each hair goes through a three-stage cycle. As with all living things it takes some time for this life cycle to complete.
The initial stage is known as the anagen Phase. This is the time when hair starts growing. This part of the cycle can last between two and seven year. Different breeds have different cycles depending on their genetic makeup.
It’s over when the anagen phase ends. The hair will stop growing.
The hair then enters the catagen stage. This is the rest phase for hair. It occurs while new hair grows to replace it. It lasts for several weeks.
The telogen phase is the last stage. This is when the hair falls out and new hair takes its place.
Every hair in a horse’s mane is at a different stage in its life cycle. This same process is applicable to all hairs, equine and human.
7. Conditioning Can Promote A Healthy Mane
Conditioner can make your hair smoother and more shiny if you have used it before. Horses’ manes are the same! Many conditioning products are available that can detangle and add shine.
Grooming oils are especially effective because they can both remove knots and condition hair.
Be aware of products that are specifically made to add sheen. These products often contain silicone or alcohol. The mane will become brittle over time as alcohol can cause it to harden. Silicone can also make the reins slippery if it gets on the skin. This could be dangerous.
8. Some breeds have thinner manes than others
As we’ve seen, stallions tend to have thicker manes that mares. The breed of the horse is also a factor in the thickness and shape of its mane.
Ponies have thicker manes than other animals. The thickest manes are often found in shorter animals that have evolved to survive in harsher environments.
The Icelandic, Gypsy Vanner, and Friesian horses are some of the breeds that have the longest tails and manes.
9. You can style your mane in many different ways
There are many ways to groom horses’ manes – almost as many styles as human hair!
There are five main styles. There are five main styles: natural, braided (also called plaited), pulled, thinned or pulled, and roached.
As you would expect, the natural style is where the mane grows naturally. To avoid tangling, it will need to be groomed frequently and is often kept in a well-conditioned state.
Braided and plaited mane styles are neater and require less brushing. This mane style is common on horses participating in English riding disciplines.
Banded manes can be divided using bands into many smaller sections. This is most common in Western riding.
A pulled mane or thinned one is one that has small clumps removed. The mane should be between 3 to 5 inches in length and lie flat against the horse’s neck.
A roached, or hogged mane means that it has been shaved. It can be seen in horses used for Polo, which prevents the mane from getting into the eyes of the horse during matches.
10. Different breeds have different mane styles
As we’ve seen, different activities can be associated to different types of manes. Different breeds of horses have different mane styles.
The natural manes of Baroque breeds such as the Friesian, Lusitano, and Andalusian are common in the USA. They are kept for as long as possible to give horses a dramatic look. French braids are used for horses competing in competition.
Similar stories can be found for Arabian and part Arabian breeds.
Connemaras have braided or pulled manes. Saddlebred and 5-gaited horses are often braided in their forelocks. The rest of their manes are left natural.
Three-gaited Saddlebred horses might have a roached hair. The Fjord horse breed standard requires that the mane be roached in order to show.
11. There are many styles of braids.
Each style of mane has its own sub-categories. There are many options when it comes to braids.
Button braids are the most popular style in US and UK equestrianism. These braids are large and round, and can have anywhere from 9 to 15 braids per mane.
It is common for there to be an odd amount of button braids. A horse will look longer if there are more braids, but fewer will create a shorter neck.
Another style that is very popular is the hunter braids. These braids are smaller and will have between 20-40 braids on the mane. They are often worn by dressage horses but are most commonly used for hunt seat events.
Knob braids are similar to hunter braids. To create a longer section, however, the braid’s top is pulled up.
There are also French and Continental braids that can be used for dressage. The rarer “scalloped” braid is a series of loops.
12. Braiding was traditionally different for mares and stallions.
There are many traditions when it comes to braiding. These traditions even extend to braiding the mane. It was customary in the USA for male horses to have an odd number braids and female horses an even amount.
Another tradition concerns where the braids are placed. The mane of eventers and show-hunters is usually braided on their right-hand side. Dressage horses may have the braids placed on either side.
13. All styles of mane are often partially shaved
Although it is a completely shaved roached hair, many styles allow for a slight shave. This is located just below the ears on the poll.
This allows the bridle a better position. This is also known as the “bridle way”, and it too is subject to many traditions and rules. Its length depends on the breed of horse and the discipline it is performing.
14. Some Manes Get A Perm!
Well, not quite. Some trainers prefer a mane that is wavy.
They will braid the mane of a horse before it goes to a competition. It will have a beautiful wave when it is unbraided. This will give the hair a fuller appearance.
15. Old English is where the word “Mane” comes from
It is easy to mistake the words “mane” and “main”, which means primary. The root meaning of “mane” for horse’s neck hair, however, is very different.
It is derived from , the Proto-Indo-European root. This can be translated as “neck” or more precisely, the nape. This became “manu” in Old English and then the word “mane”, which we now use.
16. The mane helps to classify a horse’s color
Horses come in many colors, so a unique vocabulary has been developed to identify them. This classification also includes the horse’s tail and mane.
For example, both bay and chestnut horses have brown-to-reddish-brown coats. A bay horse will have a dark mane, tail, and lower legs (known as “points”). A chestnut horse’s mane and tail will have the same shade or slightly different from the body.
A palomino horse’s distinctive characteristic is its white or flaxen tail and mane. This color type has a golden, yellow or tan body.
The Mane Event
We hope you enjoyed our 16 facts about the horse’s mane. We hope you learned something about these fascinating creatures.
The manes protect horses from weather and other animals, large and small. They are also beautiful. The variety of products and styles available for manes speaks volumes about their importance in horse appearance.
They can also tell you a horse’s race and his breed. Take a look at the mane of your horse next time you pass it.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!