Ouchless “Dressage Mane” for Your Saddlebred
by Suzon Murray and some comments from Chris Uhlinger, VMD
Many Saddlebreds come with a mane that has never, ever been pulled, and some will object strenuously to the entire undertaking. If you decide to go for the traditional short mane “look”, here are some ideas for dealing with that mane.
Start early. Its better to do a little each day than to have an exasperating marathon the day before the show (and who wants to ride a pissed off horse down center line, anyway?)
Do not try to pull and/or braid a freshly washed (or worse yet) spritzed with ShowSheen mane. You won’t get enough traction.
Here’s Suzon’s Ouchless Method
- Chop the whole mane off at 5 inches.
- Cry your eyes out and keep the hair for a memento.
- In the hand in which you would normally wield that pulling comb, put a pair of scissors over your thumb and index finger and then pick up the pulling comb… you’ll have both tools in one hand.
- Grasp very small amount of mane at bottom and comb upwards as if you were going to pull it (and watch out! Your horse may THINK you are going to pull it, particularly if you’ve had a problem with this in the past.
- Don’t cut straight across with the scissors, but gently clip or razor the hair in an uneven line.
- Comb the mane flat.
- Repeat for whole mane.
At the very end, I will pick/pull stray hairs from the very bottom to even it up.
Chris’ Ouchless Methods for Klutzes
Do as Suzon says, but use a specialized tool that contains a thinning blade embedded within a comb. Some people comb the hairs back and then cut off the long hairs (near the crest of the neck) with an old body clipper blade. In either case, work on very small sections at a time.
Chris’s Other Ouchless Method
Drugs. Wine for me, Xylaine with or without Torbugesic for him – not within 2 days of showing, though!
If you can’t bear to pull it, you can show in a french braid. There was a fad for roached manes on dressage horses several years ago, but this is a style people either like or hate. However, if you are going to walk the walk and try to fit in with the cool kids?.the flowing locks are going to have to go?..
Of course, you may have the opposite problem – the horse who has been roached (or, as the ASB people would have it, “trimmed”). No solution here but tincture of time!