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Advice on how short/long I should keep her mane?

634 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Palfrey
Hi! I have a 13.3 hh Welsh x pony. She has a fairly short neck as most ponies do. Her mane isn't super thick so I typically don't pull it, just trim and then feather the ends. The pictures I have attached are her current length (her in the stall) her with a longer mane, and her with a shorter mane. Should I go shorter? Let it grow out? I can't decide what would look best and I'm always scared to cut her mane lol. I need others opinions!

Side note: her mane is pretty thick and unruly near her withers and I already shave off the hair on her withers because it's so thick (technically she's mutton wither but yeah) however, towards the back, she has this really long, thick section of hair that never lays down vertically. How can I try to fix this?
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She looks good with a longer mane. The shorter version just shows off her short neck.

My sister used to have an appy/pony cross with a short neck and she would always roach the mane when it got to be about 7-8 inches long. I asked her to let the mane grow out at least once cause it was so pretty--thick and shiny. But she thought roaching it made her neck look better so never did. :confused:
 

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I'll be different...
I prefer the shorter.
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It looks healthier without all the dead, scraggly and ratty ends hanging limp.
She's gray in color as is her mane and there is nothing goodness gracious gorgeous like you can get on a paint horse pattern through their mane.

Regardless of what you do her mane needs attention of the ratty split ends removed and it will give it some new life and health appearance.
While you are at it, shape her forelock, NOT cut it straight across but taper the sides so a bit shorter than center long, so its out of her eyes yet still gives her fly protection and a bit of sunshade.
To long it interferes with her eye feeler whiskers and gets in her eye which is asking for eye irritation and infection.

She's a cute animal, but not one of the breeds who is characteristic for so much mane...
I love thick, well-kept manes...as you know cause you are asking, this one needs some serious attention done to bring back health and vitality appearance.
If done correctly, a short neck is emphasized longer and shapelier by the mane...;)

She has a growth cowlick at the mane base and mid-mane... you can make her wearing a saddle painful and create a sore you will hate yourself dealing with if not careful. That is why she has a "bump" up in how the hair lays... its a cowlick...band it, braid it over and train it to how you want it to lay.
You've cut a lot of mane length already and probably some of the cowlick the mane grows from. seen by the stubble..
Her saddle sits that much on her mane "growth" follicles?
That is one very long mane growth of neck hairs...

I see her mane caught in her headstall of her bridle...consider for her comfort snipping/clipping gone those few hairs only at and behind the exact poll so when you put the bridle on they not get caught and pulled on her delicate poll...comfort moves, but she deserves to be comfortable. Make sure you not clip her forelock hairs...she doesn't need a "poof" forelock.
She is very deceiving in pictures when you say she is mutton withered her snow picture doesn't look mutton but nice withers to me, then from the side...I can see your dilemma. :cautious:
🐴... jmo...
 

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It's a matter of personal preference. I like it about the length your mare has on the second photo. Personal preference also, when I shorten the mane, I do it with a knife. It looks more natural than when done with scissors.
 

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I'll be different...
She has a growth cowlick at the mane base and mid-mane... you can make her wearing a saddle painful and create a sore you will hate yourself dealing with if not careful. That is why she has a "bump" up in how the hair lays... its a cowlick...band it, braid it over and train it to how you want it to lay.
You've cut a lot of mane length already and probably some of the cowlick the mane grows from. seen by the stubble..
Her saddle sits that much on her mane "growth" follicles?
That is one very long mane growth of neck hairs...
She is very deceiving in pictures when you say she is mutton withered her snow picture doesn't look mutton but nice withers to me, then from the side...I can see your dilemma. :cautious:
🐴... jmo...
Thank you for all the info! Yes, her neck hairs are ridiculously long! It's insane. Most other horses I have seen have fine and very thin short hairs on their withers, but hers are as long and thick as the rest of her mane. I was considering growing out her shave and then pulling to get a shorter look but I don't know yet. The clippers can barely get through it when I do shave! For the saddle sore part, are you inferring that if the mane is kept at it's current cowlick, the saddle will pull on it and create a sore?
 

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Do you use a thinning blade or actual knife for trimming?

My experience with shaving the mane hairs where they were trapped under a saddle pad/blanket is where the abrading became a irritant to the animal.
It seemed best to either keep them shaved or long, but as soon a the stubble became high enough to "catch" is when trouble happened.
The people I knew who had short and decided to let it grow out did so over the winter when coat fuzzies went with the season and they rode not much because of snow and ice with no indoor arena, the horses got winter to R&R mostly.
By the time the riding of early spring began the mane had been growing out for 6 weeks plus which got it past the awkward stage of bristle stubble and softer with a slight lay-down started.

If you continue to keep close-cropped or shaved and have had no problems already then you are ahead of the game.
But...
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that which is seen is not much stubble to contend with.
Regardless of what saddle style you ride with, tenting your saddle pad/blanket to reduce friction and strangulation of the wither will also reduce the over-stimulation of those hair follicles in that location that can cause sores.

If you decided to pull to thin length and thickness....
Because it is so long I would cut 1/2 the length gone you want to start with...then start to pull or you would makes her very sore.
Then take the hairs, tease them up and out of the way, wrap the comb around a few remaining at a time...apply pressure and hold it....count a slow 5 then pull harder. Not only does it stop the sudden reaction of "ouch" but it almost always helps the body to give & release the hairs not hold them so tightly you could tug her neck upside down and still not have a release.
Poll and wither areas are the hardest to pull with minimal reactions... I find the apply pressure, hold, count then truly pull is easier on the horse.... The exact sequence timing can vary animal to animal in how sensitive they are to the tickle and ouch they get...soon though the ouch is nonexistent when you get their rhythm learned.
I would not shave gone any more length of the mane myself cause it is truly going to be noticed how short
I also continually "snap" longer pieces gone so it is a often thing to feel that twinge and my horses do not fling heads nor give me grief on clean-up day....they are truly used to me pestering their hair all the time...

Looking at her mane though makes me think she is not coarse but finer mane hairs so actually pulling may take to much thick removed....you want her to have a mane so instead I would razor to the length you want. Always work from the underside outward so short is not seen makes it stop the blunt look of a scissoring job the not so skilled leave behind.
You don't want blunt, you want it to softly lay down against the neck.
No matter what that length shall be, the messy look at the bottom needs gone as it does nothing to enhance her appearance imo. It detracts and is a invitation for catching debris and making dreadlocks that indeed tear the hairs gone trying to loosen the snarls.

To me, the first 3 pictures are attractive and well kept longer manes... The last 3 pictures are not attractive and appear scrawny, unkempt and ratty...
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...but take any of the last 3 pictures and get rid of the thin, scraggly, unkempt bottom edges and that animals appearance now radiates with health, good care and well-being...
Same as a man or woman walking around with a neat appearance of their hair or those who walk around with limp,long and hanging...no shape to it. Which do you think is more appealing to look at?

I found you this, The Long & Short of Horse Mane Care
Make sure to read the Shortened or Pulled section carefully as it makes reference to short necks and what mane style is best for appearances..
🐴...
 
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