Mane Pulling Confusion, please help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Mane Pulling Confusion, please help

Today I pulled Cin's mane for the show. I did it they way I always did my hunters back in the (cough cough) 90's. However something very different happened.

From what I remembered from before was that we actually pulled the hair and it usually came out by the root so that we eneded up with a slightly thinner and more manageable mane. But this is not the result I got today. Instead Cin's mane BROKE OFF so it is just a thick even though I really wanted it thinner as it is extremely thick and has the texture of troll doll hair. I know it is breaking off because his mane was about 9 inches long and the hairs on the ground were only about 3-4 inches so I know they aren't coming out by the root if I am pulling the longest hairs.

Maybe I am doing something wrong?

This is the EXACT comb I use, bought from SmartPak Aluminum Pulling Comb - Grooming Tools from SmartPak Equine

This is how I was taught, and the method I have always used. I use a METAL mane pulling comb. Yes a comb specifically for this purpose. I take a small bunch of mane hair and back brush it just slightly higher than the desired length. Then I wrap the remaining hairs once or twice around the comb and quickly pull downward.

What is it that I am doing wrong? Maybe it's the comb? It seems to shred and/or break off the hairs where I wrap them around. Or maybe Cin's mane just breaks easily instead of pulling out? I just don't want it to happen this way again, I want a proper pull. Or is it supposed to break off instead of pull out by the root?

So confused.
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 09:28 PM
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It sounds like his mane is just too long to begin with. It might help to use scissors to take off a few inches and then pull the rest.
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 12:51 AM
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The closer you are to the root, the better your chance it will pull out instead of break off. Also, if his mane is very dry or brittle it will break. Also, the smaller the section, the easier it will be to pull without breaking. Maybe try a different comb. I have seen pulling combs have a bit of a sharp edge on the sometimes. That particular comb looks to have that sharper edge between the tines.

ETA, if you pull it after he's warm from a workout, it releases easier, but don't do it if the hair is wet, that will break it for sure.
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 12:52 AM
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When you only backcomb part way and pull quickly, many of the hairs break off where they wrap around the comb, while few are actually pulled out. This is how to shorten the mane.

If you have a thick mane you want to thin as well as shorten, it's a bit different. You start by thinning, picking small sections at a time and backcombing closer to the neck. Then apply and hold a steady pull until the pores relax and the hairs slip out from the roots. Work up and down the neck to keep from irritating one spot to long, and just keep stepping back and looking at your work.

Once you have the mane almost thinned to how you want, then you pull it to length with the method you are using.

It takes a while to do a good job, and it takes a bit to get the hang of it but it is so worth it because it looks so natural. Just work slowly and calmly and most horses don't get to upset about it. And it hurts less than a quick jerk.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 01:05 AM
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A proper mane pull should always have the hair coming out by the root. Did you thin the mane first? And I would put a rubber glove on my left hand, grab the tips of the long hairs (the ones you want out) with the hand in the rubber glove, slide the comb up the hair shafts while still holding the long hairs, then pull down fast. Do small amounts each time.

Don't bother wrapping around the comb, use a rubber glove to give you grip and accuracy when trying to thin out and shorten the mane.

And to thin the mane first, make sure it's really dirty, and reach up under the mane, slide your comb in to the mane low at the roots (its teeth should be facing up towards the sky) then drag the comb through the dirty mane, this will do an amazingly good job thinning before pulling.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much everyone. I think I have figured out what I did wromg so that next time I can do a better job. My punishment for doing this pull job the way I did will be to have to do up thick braids or else thin as I braid which will take more time. Live and learn.

I think my 2 biggest issues are that I tried to pull a damp mane and that I was too far away from the toots.
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 09:21 AM
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honestly, you are much better off using your bare hands than a comb. Then you can really feel if the hair is coming out by the roots.

Also remember, don't pull down on the hair, pull straight up. This is more comfortable for the horse and is less likely to break the hair.

There is no difference between thinning and pulling IMO. If the mane is very long, you will need to cut it before you start pulling or you will just have a longish very thin mane !

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post #8 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 09:39 AM
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This is the method I use. It works great without stressing the horse out. I always pull after a workout as the pores are open and the horse will let go of the hair a lot easier and quicker.

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post #9 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Excellent video, I love it! And Cinny's mane is currently about twice the length of the horse in the vid so I still have room to do a bit here and there today and tomorrow. This really helped a lot!
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 10:21 AM
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Pulling combs usually have a slight cutting edge on the end. If it is too sharp, it will cut the hair easily. Take a thin file and file the ridge on the ends. I don't use the rubber glove/hand pulling myself. I like backcombing the mane so that I am only pulling the longer hair and leaving the correct length hairs alone.
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