Human tapering scissors work really well. I just got a pair to do my new guy's forelock, which was rediculously long and always in his eyes. It kept it really natural looking better than what scissors usually produce :)
I have Arabians so I don't cut their manes. But, a lady I know that shows QH said she cuts her horses manes with scissors and then takes the thinning shears to the ends so it doesn't look like its been cut with scissors! She's a hairdresser by the way.
What I do, is I make sure my boys mane is tangle free and fully combed out. I will comb a section of his mane with the comb in my left hand, and then I'll cut horizontally with the sissors in my right hand. I then comb again.
Then I continue out down the mane until I get to the end. I comb, comb, comb and then cut again to even out the mane and balance it. Then I take smaller sections of the mane in my left hand, and cut the ends vertically with my sissors.
I comb some more. I do more combing than cutting just to make sure I get all the hair, everything is even and balanced.
Pull them or use the edge of a razor blade to shorten (when you have an appy who only has five mane hairs).
I agree! Most of mine are left long (reining, cutting, working cow horse) but those that do double duty for WP & walk/trot classes for my daughter I pull. I've never cut a mane in 25 years. Pulling is work but it's worth it to me.
I've always pulled :) But I don't pull quite as short as a lot of people do...this is about the length I like to leave it. Whenever I've tried to cut it, I always end up cutting it too short or it just looks funny, but I know a lot of people who cut them straight across and they look fine -- usually those are the thinner maned horses though. Sandie has a thick mane and if I just cut it, it tends to stick straight up, so I have to get rid of some of the fluffy underside! ;)
There's this one part about 3/4 of the way up the mane that NEVER wants to lie flat!!! If I braid it, then sometimes it lays alright for awhile, but it always and forever is trying to flip over to the other side!