How to Pull a Horse's Mane

Pulling a mane is a method of thinning and shortening the mane. It is not essential horse care, but a pulled mane is easier to care for and braid for shows. That's because, for most show horses, a pulled mane is a must. It looks neat and tidy when down, and makes braiding and banding tons easier, as well as helps compliment a horse with an attractive neck, or make a thin neck look thicker. It takes practice and patience, but if you're persistent, it will help your chances for shows.


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    Separate a section of your horse's mane to be pulled - about three inches. Take the remaining mane, if you think it will be in the way, and secure it with either a clip or large rubber band.put the other mane aside.
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    Take the section of mane that you are pulling in one hand, holding the longest hairs in the section. With the comb, comb the hair in the opposite direction of growth - upwards, towards the neck, so that most of it bunches up.
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    Take the un-bunched part and wrap it around the comb, giving it a good, firm pull where you want to shorten it so that the hair is pulled out at the roots.
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    Brush the entire section again, and repeat until all of the hair in that section is the desired length.
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    Repeat with the rest of the mane, making sure to brush it out every so often to verify that it is even in length.
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    Remember to praise your horse for being so patient!


  • Some horses resent having their mane pulled. There are special combs that have a blade that can be used instead of pulling. Follow the instructions above, but instead of pulling the hairs out, cut them using the comb.
  • Pull the mane after you have worked your horse so that his pores will be open, making it easier to pull the mane.
  • A great hint is to lift the hair you're pulling out 'UP' rather than pulling it downwards against his neck. That way, you're pulling in the direction the mane grows, instead of against the direction. Many horses find this much more comfortable.
  • If you've got to make a big change to the length or thickness of the mane, it's a good idea to pull the whole mane a small amount, and then come back and pull it again. That way, if you have to stop the job part way through, you aren't left with a really obvious difference. Also, the horses neck doesn't get really sore in one place from massive amounts of pulling - instead it gets spread out along the crest and the skin has a chance to settle before you come back to remove the next small amount.
  • Regularly comb the mane through and step back and have a look at your work.
  • If you must pull your horse's mane in a short amount of time, put a bit of Green Cool (or related product) on the crest of the mane, then pull it. It will make the process less painful for your horse. *NOTE: horses cannot feel the hair being pulled out. All they feel is you pulling their neck back and forth as you remove the hairs.*
  • Give the horse a hay net to stop him becoming bored.
  • Pulled manes are best on show-type horses such as Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Paint, Appaloosas, ponies, etc. Arabians, Saddlebreds, Morgans, etc., traditionally have long, flowing manes. So do some research before you pull to make sure that a short mane is the best look for your horse.
  • Pulling a horse with an especially thick or long mane? Trim it with scissors, or thin it with thinning shears designed for manes, before pulling. When cutting with scissors, always leave it three inches longer than you want it to be after pulling. And always cut away from the horses neck. If your horse spooks and moves unexpectedly, you have to make sure the scissors won't cut or pierce them!
  • And keep in mind that less is more! Always trim the mane a little longer than you you want the finished product to be. You can always go back and trim more, but you'll have a hard time growing it!
  • If your horse is sensitive to having his mane pulled, do small sections everyday and only pull out a small amount of hair with each tug.
  • Neaten the mane often so just a little needs doing each time.


  • The mane gives some protection against cold and flies, so if your horse really doesn't need his mane pulled, don't do it.
  • Many horses will object to having the upper mane (near the ears) pulled, even if they are perfectly happy to have the lower mane done. Approach this area with caution.
  • If the horse starts bleeding stop immediately and don’t try again until that area has healed. Review your pulling technique and try again with small amounts of hair.
  • Horses are very large creatures and can easily injure humans, especially those who do not treat them with caution and respect. Always make sure you know what you're doing when acting around a horse.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal mane comb or pulling tool
  • Hair clip
  • Soreness reliever

Article Info

Categories: Horse Grooming