I did this all loose in the pasture. I don't recommend that at all, especially with tails, unless you are confident in reading your horse and the horses around you. My mares are pretty tall. Sometimes I cannot see the others. It is very important to know how your individuals communicate with each other. The turn of an ear can help keep you safe. A lot of times, some do not like to wait their turn, and will crowd you and the horse you are working on, which is dangerous. It is best to be able to work one at a time, but you have to be aware of everyone else. Ideally, you should be catching them and working on them in a closed environment.
All in all, the three horses, with lots of petting time and socializing(I have been missing my horses okay! Lol) it took under two hours, to do three full manes and a really bad tail.
Here is my girl's mane.
And the end result.
One thing you always have to remember when doing mats like these, is to cut straight down should you ever have to use scissors. This includes those awful tail mats too. Cutting is often unavoidable, and if you get mats this bad, you must realize that these mats are caused by hair that has fallen out. You should have a pile of mane by the end of it. The goal, though, is to save as much of the mane that is still attached as possible. These mats are like Chinese finger traps from hell. You have to start at the top and loosen by hand. Starting at the top gives you a good idea what hair is good and what has fallen out. The more you can spread the mat out, the easier it will be to separate without pulling out or cutting out too much good hair.
In doing these, over 90% is done with fingers alone. You can feel the good hair better than you can with a comb, and work the hair out gently.
This poor guy looked so rough.
Ta-da! Handsome old guy.
This girl was awful. This was one of those situations where the hair matted around a few burrs. Not terrible amount of burrs, but they made that main mat almost solid. It took almost immediate cutting through the center to get it to loosen up.
Cut straight down. NEVER across or up.