Growing a long mane on your horse
Long manes are often a large challenge – both grooming-wise and also genetics-wise. Horses, like humans, have a hair life cycle that is ruled by genetics. Have you ever seen an Appaloosa with a mane like a Friesian? Probably not. You can learn more about how manes and tails grow in this amazing article.
Long manes come from a healthy horse
- The goal is to grow a healthy, undamaged mane and keep it that way. Only then can the mane grow as long as your horse’s genetics will allow.
Prevent breakage on your horse’s mane
- Helping your horse grow a long mane is like maintaining hair on your own head – you want to prevent breakage.
- You will have hair shedding, this is normal and all animals with hair do it. Breakage is the result of brittle and unhealthy hair, or sometimes wind knots and tangles can lead to breakage. Daily attention is key.
The role of nutrition
- Consult your veterinarian and/or nutrition specialist to make sure your horse’s diet is on target. Only then can your horse’s mane grow well.
- In order to grow a great mane, you must feed it from the inside. Our friend Karen from Kentucky Performance Products lets us in on some nutritional tidbits for growing a great mane and tail.
“Certain nutrients, such as omega fatty acids; the trace minerals zinc, copper and iodine; the essential amino acids lysine and methionine (found in high-quality proteins) and the B vitamin biotin, must be present in the correct amounts in a horse’s diet or skin, hooves, and hair will suffer. Getting the right balance is key, more is not always better. Take selenium, for instance, this trace mineral must be properly balanced in the diet, too much selenium can cause toxicity which leads to hair loss in the mane and tail, among other symptoms.”
- You can supplement your horse’s diet with products that enhance the coat and skin. Luckily for your horse, many of these also improve hoof health.
More ways to prevent breakage
- Keep the mane conditioned. Be warned – some brands can make the reins slippery and therefore dangerous. I like grooming oils, they get soaked into the hair.
- When the mane starts to get really long, consider keeping it in several long and loose braids that hang down. If your horse rubs his neck, I would just leave the mane long and skip the loose braids.
- Use fingers to groom the mane and very carefully with a wide-tooth comb or brush. Burrs and foxtails and the like can be picked out easily after applying a detangler, use your fingers and a lot of patience. As with tails, work from the bottom up.
Long and loose braids are comfortable for your horse and don’t get tangled in the reins.
If you do get stuck with wind knots, you are at least lucky that your horse’s mane can grow that long!
- Try and spend some time on the mane every day, working with a conditioner and your fingers to untangle that mess.
- Adding water and shampoo to a wind knot will likely leave you frustrated, the wet mane is likely to make the hairs snap easily and the hairs will not be as slick. Slick is what you want for detangling. Grooming oils are GREAT for getting wind knots out of manes and tails.
- Keeping the mane detangled is key to the prevention of these knots. If you can’t attend to the mane every day, consider keeping it shorter or heavily conditioned. You can also try the loose braids once you get the knots out.
- Wind knots take lots of time to happen – so plan on a bunch of time to get them out… You will probably want to work on them a little at a time! Lots of patience and reward for your horse as you work them out.
Products for gorgeous manes
- Sheen products are usually silicone-based. Some of them also have tons of additional alcohol, which eventually dries everything out. Magic Sheen skips that step, so the product isn’t drying, and you use a lot less of it.
- Grooming oils are deep conditioning and detangling in one step. You can use them as a tail hair mask, letting the oils soak in for hours or even overnight. You will likely need to do a mild shampoo to remove the excess if you use a lot.
- Conditioners act like they would on your own head. You will need to rinse a conditioner out, but you could leave it in for a longer time and rinse later.
If you want to try some great products for your horse’s mane, you can try these. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, and it’s no extra cost to you. I’m forever grateful for your support!
Shapley’s Magic Sheen Hair Polish, 1-Quart – for keeping things sleek.
Shapley’s No.1 Light Oil – for deep conditioning and wind knot removal.