Getting stickers and burrs on your horse’s mane and tail out


Put the scissors down. You can do this. Breathe deeply. Then add oil to remove burrs from your horse’s mane. This process will have many benefits: untangled mane and/or tail, deep conditioning of the mane and/or tail, and a mini spa treatment for your hands, too.


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burrs stuck in horse forelock New style of hat?



  • The name of the game is to remove the burrs and keep most of the mane and tail intact. So, you need to create some slimy and slick hair. Your best bet is to use a conditioner or grooming oil.


  • ***** STAY AWAY FROM WD-40. I’m not kidding – the stuff is toxic as heck. And no, it does NOT contain all-natural fish oil. For more on the horrible-ness that is WD-40 and horses, learn more here. *****



Work in your grooming oil of choice on the burrs in the mane.


  • Rather than dousing your horse with the conditioner or oil, apply a little bit at a time. You may need to work it in or let your conditioner marinate a bit. Applying too much too soon leads to drips.


  • Start at the bottom or edge of the mat and slowly work the burrs and stickers out. Add a bit more conditioner or oil as you work into the tangled portions of the mane or tail.


  • The bonus of using a horse conditioner or horse grooming oil is that you likely won’t need to wash it out. If you do find your horse with way too much oil in his hair, a quick shampoo will do the trick.


large metal mane comb for horses

Sometimes a wide toothcomb is helpful.



  • You can use your hands or a mane comb (pick your fave) to help you work out the hairy mess of burrs and mane. A generic mane comb can be angled so that only one or two tines works the little stickers out of there.


What if there are more than just stickers or burrs? Like tar or sap?


  • If your horse has a compound mess of stickers and sap or tar, your oils should still do the trick. You might need to soak extra long. This article details some other oils you can use from your kitchen for this grooming challenge.


Keeping the mane and tail brushed or picked daily helps prevent massive burr balls.


  • Also, making sure the mane and tail are slickery and conditioned will help. I often find that a dirty tail is sticky, and shavings, burrs, and hay bits are harder to remove.



Shapley's No. 1 light oil grooming oil

Grooming oil is great for burr removal, saddle oil is NOT. Saddle oil is for saddles.



Fun times! And don’t think you will get all smart and do a pasture check and find the offending bushes then vaporize them. Your horse will just find another source. It’s their special skill.





If you want to pick up some grooming oils, here are some links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But it’s no extra cost to you and I appreciate it very much!

You can also snap up a bottle of the grooming oil I love 



No. 2 Heavy Oil, just a bit of deeper conditioning for dry winter coats.

The Wet brush – great for damp or wet hair

I love the WET brand for manes and tails.


Thank you!