Keep the mane and tail in a relitively loose braid. They don't need to be the same size, just don't make them too tight or else you end up breaking the hairs or damaging them. This helps with the knot issue, and if the horse comes in with rat nests and chunks of dirt which you have to pick out by hand or wash out, this will help to. I would redo the braids about every other day, depending on how patient the horse is. It may take, what it seems like, forever, it will help. Especially if the horse comes in, and has knots all over the place, when the day before you spend 3 hours brushing, finally giving up and going into the wash rack and working conditioner into every square inch to prevent pulling out more hairs than you already did. Also try keeping it knot free and work in conditioner water into it (basically a drop of human conditioner in a spray bottle, 1 pea sized drop per 8 oz, and mix well). This is the cheapy alternative I figured out. However you may have to wash it out every week depending on how much you use. It will keep the mane and tail practically knot free.