I was told by season trainers,If you are want a nice mane for banding or braiding don't be pulling/thinning
. You start pulling out the mane well those hairs you pull grow back & later in season you end up with all these short little hairs poking out your nicely banded or braided mane. Over the season with the grooming & banding it will naturally thin some on its own.Start with a nicely washed mane,if your horse is blessed with a thick mane well you just have more work cut out for you,having to make more bands or braids
After banding or if you just want to shorten & clean up the natural mane edges to make them neat/even a final trim is in order.Once your horse's mane is banded, curls and cowlicks will lie flat, making the mane appear longer And some sections may be longer than others.To finish mane "edges" off to more desired length & natural look, not the chopped off cut, many people will use thinning shears.You can get a similar result too by using a pair of straight scissors positioned up into the mane about one-quarter to a half-inch deep; then snip up and down the length of the mane.
If you are planning to go short & are starting with a really long mane,go ahead & shorten it "part" way with just a blunt cut,you'll be cleaning it to be more natural looking later but have it a more reasonable length to work with to start banding/braiding