Last Updated on February 26, 2022 by Allison Price
These do’s and dont’s will help you unravel the secrets to your horse’s silky tresses.
WOW FACTOR: Quarter Horse stallion Smart And Sheney, owned by Lyle Lovett (non-pro reiner), has a long mane and a full tail. These are the results of a hair-care routine shared here.
It’s all here for you. You won’t find a single secret trick here, so don’t expect to learn about it. If there is a “secret”, it’s that you have to stick to a manes and tails program. Here are the tips and tricks that will help you give your horse the best hair possible.
Lovely Locks: What to Do and Not Do
Regular care and good nutrition are key to maintaining healthy tails and manes. This is something I cannot stress enough. Each horse is unique in his ability to grow and maintain his mane or tail. This is due to hereditary factors. It is important to give your horse the nutrition he needs to be healthy. Regular washing and conditioning are also essential. It’s important that you don’t comb your hair daily. Instead, use your fingers to remove shavings from the tail and clean it. You must give your horse’s mane and tail proper care, even if it is cold or he has been on a long break.
Provide proper nutrition. We use SmartPak from smarkpak.com to personalize our horses’ diets. Although we don’t usually use specific supplements for hair growth, multivitamins can be helpful in giving horses the nutrients they need to grow a strong, healthy body and a flowing mane.
Don’t over-comb. Avoid combing and brushing your hair daily. We only comb and brush hair after showering, conditioning, or showing. We don’t comb or brush on other days. A lot of hair is lost each time you comb or broom. Because it removes less hair than other combs, we use a mane/tail comb with wider teeth. There are many options, but it is important to select one that doesn’t grab hairs and pull them out. Be sure to inspect the bristles for hooks. These will pull out a lot of hair.
DO NOT INCLUDE (clockwise, starting at the top-left): Only brush or comb hair when absolutely necessary. Rinse product thoroughly. Massage dead skin off the manebed. Condition ends.
Use clean tools. Disinfect your brushes regularly, especially with new horses and with skin conditions.
Always bathe your horse thoroughly. We follow the recommendations of our veterinarians to keep your horse safe and gentle. Most horses are bathed and condition their tails and manes at least once a week. To remove and prevent stains, we use white vinegar to pre-rinse light-colored tails. If your horse has a tangled tail and mane, a combination shampoo/conditioner could be a good choice.
Follow a routine when washing your mane and tail. You must thoroughly wet your mane and tail. Dry spots can cause you to miss some dirt. When shampooing, it’s important to pay attention to the base of your mane and the tailbone. These areas are home to extra dirt and dead skin.
PROTECTIVE BROWNING: You can use a detangling product to separate your mane hair into sections that you can braid with your fingers. To reduce tension at the root, make braids several inches in width.
Avoid tangling. Don’t tangle your mane or tail when shampooing. Make sure you rinse out all shampoo. Use your fingers to separate hair. As long as you get all of the hair, you don’t have to go back and forth. You will only need to scrub the base of your mane and the tailbone. The tailbone is a common area where dirt accumulates. This area is often overlooked when washing. It’s important that the skin at the base and tailbone of the mane are free from dead skin and clean, in order to avoid itching and rubbing. Sometimes sweat residue can remain at the top of horses’ tails if they are not rinsed off in hot weather.
Do not neglect the ends. While conditioning your hair, be sure to pay attention to the ends. These are more fragile and require extra conditioning. Allow the conditioner to sit on the tail and mane for several minutes.
CUSTOMIZE: Consider your horse’s lifestyle, job, and breed when creating a hair-care plan. For example, Arabian show horses require a long flowing tail that is untrimmed. Reining horses, on the other hand, need to trim their tails in order to avoid them stepping on theirs.
Rinse thoroughly. Wash all products thoroughly. Conditioners left in the hair or tail can attract dirt.
Make braids as necessary. We braid our horses’ manes mainly for their comfort. Long, thick manes can become very hot in summer. Some horses are more sensitive to heat than others. We braid the manes of the horses we don’t keep braided at least twice per week. Before re-braiding, it is important to let your hair air dry. This is important for the scalp’s health and to prevent frizzing. We use rubber bands to attach the braids to the bottom of the braids when we braid dry mane.
Do not let your horse’s tail grow too long. We braid the reiners’ hairs to teach them stopping techniques. To prevent them from getting caught in the dividers, we braid the tails of all horses and place them in socks before they go to sea. The tails are left down in the stalls to keep them clean and healthy. They can also be kept short enough that they don’t get stepped on. This is the best thing for horses and tails. Avoid allowing your horse to step on your tail. If your horse is in danger, you can keep it shorter or braid it.
Avoid using too many tail bags They can cause extra breakage and are often heavy. A braided tail will make your horse’s tail more secure when it is in the stall. Horses love to grab their braided tails and break hair.
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!