How to Train a Horse's Mane

How to Train a horse's Mane, train the equine mane, horse grooming, shorten a horse's mane

How to Train a horse's Mane, train the equine mane, horse grooming, shorten a horse's mane

By April Ray-Peterson

For most disciplines, the horse’s mane should fall on the right side of the neck. However, a mane might have a mind of its own and prefer to be on the left side, or maybe on both sides. I have always found that the best way to train a mane to lie flat on one side is to braid it and leave those braids in for a few days, or up to a week if possible.  

How to Train a horse's Mane, train the equine mane, horse grooming, shorten a horse's mane

Before - a mane with a mind of its own. Photo: April Ray-Peterson


This is best done after the mane has been shortened and thinned (see How to Shorten a Horse’s Mane with Scissors). Wet the mane with a damp sponge and comb all of the hair to the desired side. In addition to the sponge, the only other tools you will need are a mane comb to section and hold back the hair, and some good quality braiding elastics (see Figure 1).

How to Train a horse's Mane, train the equine mane, horse grooming, shorten a horse's mane

Photo: April Ray-Peterson

Start by taking two-inch sections of hair and making tight braids, ensuring to braid close to the neck to encourage the hair to stay in that position. I like to make the braids a little larger as it helps to weigh the mane down on the desired side (see Figure 2).

How to Train a horse's Mane, train the equine mane, horse grooming, shorten a horse's mane

Photo: April Ray-Peterson

Since you are planning to leave the braids in for a few days, use two elastics per band to give the braids a little more security. It’s usually not necessary to braid all the way to the withers unless the mane is particularly unruly, but go at least three quarters of the way down (see Figure 3).

How to Train a horse's Mane, train the equine mane, horse grooming, shorten a horse's mane

Photo: April Ray-Peterson

Monitor your braids over the next few days. If the horse is rubbing because the braids are itchy, remove them to prevent damaging the mane. You can usually tell when the mane has given up the fight and is starting to lie flatter. At that time, remove the braids and use a damp sponge to comb out the creases in the hair.

This technique should be sufficient to train a mane, but with some horses the procedure will need to be repeated occasionally. My mare came to me with her mane on both sides of her neck and after just one “training session” of braids for a few days, her mane now falls on one side.

Main Photo: An attractive mane lying flat on one side. Photo: Hannah Riach

Category: 
Grooming, How-To
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