pulling your horse's mane is optional

Mane pulling tips


  • Pulling your horse’s mane doesn’t work for everyone. This is definitely a polarizing issue, and it doesn’t work for every horse owner out there. It’s also not mandatory. But, it is your job to make it comfortable for your horse if you need to pull the mane. VIDEOS BELOW of some different mane grooming techniques!


back combing the mane to pull it

The backcombing part of pulling. I would even backcomb a little further to reduce the number of hairs you are holding in the left hand.


  • Most jumpers, dressage, event, and some western horses sport a shorter, tidy, and thinned mane. This helps tremendously when braiding or banding! Baroque horses and some western horses, as well as some Arabs, will sport longer manes that are typically not pulled.


  • The vast majority of horses do not mind having their mane pulled, and in fact, some of them quite like it. One of mine will take a nap during his pulling sessions! Other horses are more irritated by a pulling session, no worry, lots of ideas to help.


Some horses do not need their mane pulled, only shortened.


  • The purpose of pulling is to thin the hair, and shortening it is a secondary consequence of pulling. If your horse’s mane is quite thin to start, you can probably get away with just shortening it with a blade. You want to thin or even out the mane to be braiding for a show, or if you want your horse’s mane to lay flat and even on one side.


  • Some horses have thin manes for the most part, but the middle portion is thick. You may just need to pull the mane in the middle to even it out for consistent braids. If you never braid, you may never need to pull!


Tips for pulling a mane:


  • Backcomb a small section of mane so that only a few hairs are in one hand.
  • Wrap only a few hairs around your comb.
  • Pull firmly and consistently. Some people like to pull down, some like to pull out, some like to pull up. You pick what works for you and your horse!
  • Carry on to the next section.
  • You will need to go back and comb out all of the backcombed sections, then go again with another row of pulling.


mane mousse for braiding

A shorter mane on a dressage horse, getting ready to be braided.


If your horse’s mane is thick, and you need to pull it, there are some things to do to make it easier for both of you.


  • Pull the mane after exercise when your horse is warm and relaxed.
  • Pull only a few hairs at the same time.
  • Use a topical cream with some lidocaine on the mane base if your horse is very sensitive.
  • Pull the mane in sections, doing this over a few days will help also. Don’t spend tons of time on one section.
  • You could also pull the mane by going up and down the mane like a harmonica only pulling a few hairs before moving on to a new section.
  • Use a hay net to distract your horse while you pull.
  • Reward! Even if your horse doesn’t even bat an eye, he deserves a reward anyway.

If your horse does not like this process, don’t do it. There are other ways.

  • Use a solo comb, or rake, to thin the hair out. Haircutting shears that are thinning also work.


fold up mane blade on chestnut horse

This mane blade will shorten the mane without pulling the hairs from the root. It will not thin the mane to make it uniform for braiding.


go shopping button for horse products


I can say that the mane blade is my favorite grooming tool for the mane. You can pick one up here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, and this means there is no extra charge to you. Thank you for your support!

JT Tough-1 Fold Up Thinning Knife

The Solo Comb thins the mane without pulling hair.

This is a rake that works similarly.