train your horse's mane to one side

Mane taming tips

 

chestnut horse with crazy mane

A condition I am familiar with. One horse, two manes.

 

This is perhaps every rider’s pet peeve about manes – they lay to both sides and are wacky crazy flopping around.

 

  • Generally speaking, a thinner mane is easier to tame than a thick one. If you need to, you can pull the mane before you start the taming process to assist you. Pulling the mane thins the mane and will shorten the mane as well.

 

wet towel on a mane to train it to one side

A damp towel as a hat. Use while your horse is in the cross ties.

 

Train the mane

 

  • One easy way is to use a damp towel as a “hat” while you groom the rest of your horse. Moisten, and just lay over the mane. Some horses will shake off the towel so this may not be worth it.

 

  • You can also take your very stiff, short-bristled nylon brush and dunk it in water. Use this to brush the mane down. You can wet the mane down and then add some “horse underwear” so the nylon holds the mane down as it dries. Doing this day after day will help, but you may need to break out the big guns.

 

  • The surefire way to tame a mane is to put in some teenie tiny braids if the mane is on the thin side. I use bigger braids for thicker manes because it’s just a bit easier. VIDEO BELOW.

 

tiny braids to tame a mane

You don’t have to braid all the way down.

 

  • And when I say teenie training braids, I mean it. Grab the smallest section that you can handle, and pull down tight and hard. Throw in a few crossovers of the plait, and then secure with a band. You don’t need to braid all the way down. If you are lucky, your horse will not rub them out overnight.

 

  • If you choose to leave your horse’s mane as thick as possible, use big fat mane taming braids. I also suggest that you leave the mane as long as possible in this situation.

 

  • Leave them in as long as you can – you may need to redo them daily. Some horses need them in for weeks at a time. Be patient and diligent and work at it every day. You may also find that wider looser braids do the trick for your particular horse. I personally like the little ones, but your horse may object.

 

 

wide braids on a horse mane

Thick mane braids!

 

You can also loop the training braid back onto itself to help everything stay down.

 

  • After you have finished your braid, create a small hole at the top of the braid where your horse’s mane meets his neck.

 

  • Take the training braid and fold it towards you.

 

  • Loop the braid through the opening from the top down. This helps keep everything a bit more snug.

 

Other ideas for training your horse’s mane to rest on one side of his neck:

 

  • Sometimes you need to play around to see what works best to train the mane to one side. You may have to do a combo of lots of little things – wet the mane, braid it, use a neck cover.
  • Bust out the product! Mane Mousse is a great mane taming tool that creates hold without stickiness. It’s great for use with the training braids, as well as for show day to tame flyaways.

 

mane mousse for braiding
A little bit of mousse works wonders!

 

  • A note about what side of the neck braids should lay on. There is no written USEF rule that says hunters must be braided on the right. But, the tradition in the hunters is strong, there’s no way I would send a hunter into the ring with braids on the left. Other disciplines sport braids to both sides, using the horse’s natural mane lay as the guide.
  • When you are taming a mane, think marathon, not a sprint. Every bit counts – and work on it every day. Also, consider that you may need to pull the mane to thin it out. A longer mane is also easier to train to one side, so don’t go too short on mane length.

 

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Shapley’s Mane Mousse for flyaways, a sleek finish, and not sticky!

Tough 1 Spandex Mane Stay Hood – pick a size and color!

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