Thinning and pulling a horse’s mane shortens it and makes it possible to braid. It’s not something that you must do — for many breeds a long mane is part of the “look” — but if you want to show in disciplines where braiding is required, pulling your horse’s mane is a skill you’ll need to learn.
Back in the “old days” we pulled using a traditional pulling comb. This was torture for both the horse and the groom. It took a long time and many horses objected to it. Cutting with scissors isn’t an option as it leaves the mane looking choppy and uneven. If you must use scissors, never cut straight across. Instead, use it like a razor with an up and down motion.
Then I discovered the thinning comb — a comb with closely spaced teeth and a sharp edge. this is a great tool; it gives you a lovely even length and you can use it to shorten as well as thin the mane. The best part? It takes practically no time and doesn’t irritate your horse.
- To use the thinning comb, first comb out your horse’s mane.
- Come up under the mane with the blade facing upward. I like to do small sections at a time so that the blade cuts through the hair easily. You don’t want to have to saw through the mane.
- Start in the middle of the neck where the mane is the longest/thickest and choose the length you want. Pull and thin the rest of the mane to match it.
- Remember — it’s better to go slightly too long if you have any doubts. Many people give 4″ as a standard length but how long you want the mane depends on how thick it is and what kind of braids you prefer.