Before, at 3' long:
Maintaining that mane was probably the most difficult thing in my life, and ultimately it occurred to me that she was inevitably being treated like a mane with a horse attached to it instead of the other way around, so I decided it was finally time to give it back to her.
I cut it to this length for now, but I may go shorter depending on how maintenance goes. I just don’t want her to have to live in braids 24/7 anymore.
It had grown over a half a foot in the 2 1/2 years I’ve worked with her.
To maintain its length, health, and growth rate, it was kept braided at all times, taken out for one day every other week or so, usually bathed (where it took about a quarter of a large Micro Tek shampoo and Cowboy Magic conditioner bottle per bath), then I applied MTG to the roots before thoroughly coating it in detangler and hand-picking it out (brushing it very gently with fingers only) and re-braided in 5 braids. Her forelock received the same treatment and was put into two braids.
I'm pretty sad about it, but now I’ll just have that much time to spend riding and working with her, and she’ll be a lot more comfortable without those itchy braids in, whipping her in the neck every time she shakes her head. It was really enjoyable to have while it lasted, but we’re ready to move on now.
Anyway, I just wanted to share, because I haven't posted here in ages!