Thursday, March 12, 2009

Untangling a matted mane

Hi Friends,

Got a great question about the best way to clean up a matted mane. My wife, Diana, is very good at this. Here's the procedure I learned from her:

Preparation: Teach your horse to stand quietly while being groomed. Set aside at least an hour to work on the mane.

Product: A bottle of tail and mane detangler and a wide-tooth comb.

Procedure: Work with a three inch section of the mane at a time. Saturate it with detangler. Work from the end of the hair back toward the base.

Start four or five inches from the end of the first section. Grab the section of hair firmly with one hand and brace against the horse's neck. This effectively shortens the mane and reduces the chance of breakage.

With the combing hand, gently comb this short section out. If you encounter a tangle, spray a little more detangler and gently work through it with the comb. When that short section is done, grab a bit higher with your other hand and continue work on that section, proceeding back to the base of the hair.

When the whole section is done, start a new section. Rewet with tangler as often as needed. Most detanglers do not need to be rinsed out. Leave the horse standing tied until the mane is dry. Dry comb the mane very gently the next day. The more often you comb or brush the mane, the less likely it will be to get really matted.

FYI, I'm not crazy about hoodies (spandex hoods that cover a horse's head and neck) but that is certainly an option if you need to keep your horse's mane nice for a particular event. Just be sure you don't make that a regular way of life for him. His mane needs to be free.



Laura said...

Hi everyone here is what I have come across. You can buy "waterless" shampoo at most any beauty supply store (this was something I learned while my Mom was in the hospital. Anyway, use the shampoo, then use a quality detangler (I prefer the Cowboy magic products), a wide tooth comb and voila it doesn't take as much time as you think. I have some horses with "naturally beautiful manes and tails, the others I have to work at. During the winter it is especially important to protect/work with the manes and tails. With the snow and mud here in Colorado either tail wrap or scrunchies once a week to keep the hair from becoming brittle and breaking off.

Deb said...

Hello, I have also found that the mane brushes resembling hair brushes work really well, but not the ones with the dimples on the ends. They tend to tangle more. I don't use a lot of fancy product. Just an occasional clean water rinse, followed by a simple conditioner.

Rachel I said...

My absolute favorite tool for working on manes and tales is a GroomaRake. I've been using one for over fifteen years now. I also use a detangling product of some kind--the combination of the two is great.

grace said...

I only get to detangle my horses once every 4 months or so because I work out of country. They are BAD at that point. I like to wash first, then condition with something like Tressume because it is real slimy. Then let one drip dry and apply Cowboy Magic to the witches knots. To get it to soak in I knead and twist the knots. I have even injected the Magic into the knots with a injection type basting tool. Then start at the bottom of the knot splitting it with a fid or hoof pick or any rounded tool that is more or less pointy on one end (like a rat tail comb). The tangles can be worked out gradually. You are going to loose some hair but experience shows that it is often already pulled out just not fell out.
If you have several head to do you can line them up like an assembly line and go from horse to horse doing a little at a time so they dont get so annoyed. A spray bottle of water keeps the Magic activated. In between sessions they get to learn to stand tied quietly with an attendant right there. I try to quit pulling before they get antsy so they are not training me to leave them alone. If one does get antsy I just pick up the rubber curry comb that I leave 'parked' on their butt and do body work till they relax then move on to the next one. Leaving the Magic in discourages the tangles from setting back in so soon. This is also and excellent time to work on ground tieing. When they won't be still on a 20' line laid on the ground they get tied back up.

THD said...

Thanks for the blog, its great to read the different experinces with detangling horse manes and tails. The wide tooth comb is a new idea. We use the Take Down Matted Fur Remover, it works great for cats and dogs as well.

But because horses have hair that people actually buy for hair extensions-it seems like the Take Down Matted Remover works really well with horse hair.

check out their blog