|This is after Mom and I both working hard for thirty minutes |
and half a bottle of Cowboy Magic.
|Well, that and extreme cuteness.|
|You better not get sick of this picture. I love it.|
A teeeeeeeeeeny little tail.
|Good thing she's not gonna be a hunter because|
the tail extensions alone would bankrupt me.
And a crazy thick mane that a) naturally lies on the wrong side of her neck and that b) she will kill you for touching with a pulling comb.
|This makes me weep.|
In addition to her mane being thick and impossible to pull (she WILL kill you and your whole family. I'm very brave and usually tell my horses to suck it up buttercup when it comes to stuff like this, but believe me. Not. Worth. It.), it grows very quickly. This always makes me tempted to shorten it a lot when I finally get my hands on it, but I have to resist that temptation or it'll stand straight up.
So this is what I do:
1. Before I shorten it, I train it. I'm about to do this again next week when it will finally be warm enough for her to go without her blanket during the day and hopefully stop snowing.
I have used this sleazy thing on her before, but in Florida it's often too hot. This will help the braids lie flat, but it's not really that crucial if you did a good job banding.
|Ready to rob a bank.|
2. Leave the bands in for one week minimum. The more stubborn the horse's mane is, the longer you'll want to leave them in. I often redo them over the course of that week to keep them tidy, because I am a freak about turnout and because it will keep them more comfortable for the horse. If your horse's mane is in these western pleasure bands, maybe it will inspire you to practice long and low work and pretend to have an AQHA circuit horse!
3. You have a beautifully trained mane. Congratulations. Now you have to shorten it.
|Praise Ceiling Cat for a right-side mane.|
Just a cute story about how manes can lead to impromptu calls for therapy.
Anyhizzle, here's where the real work starts. Because Lex won't let me pull it, I do the dreaded thing and use scissors. For awhile, she wouldn't even let me tease it. She's better about that now, but teasing and cutting is not ideal with a mane this thick. That works great for really thin manes -- it's preferable, actually, because if the mane is super thin you don't want to lose any hair. With Lex's mane, I'm in a "take the hair... please!" place. Anyway, this step is hard for me to explain well but it's also the most important part. I essentially take scissors and hold them so the point is toward the crest and just kind of cut up, not across. Cutting across gets you the abomination that was her mane when I got her. You want to make it look natural, so you slightly change the angle of the scissors every cut so the hairs are all slightly different lengths. And voila:
|Much better, though not as good as pulled.|
Essentially, if you want to use the Riding Rainbow Mane Management Method, you need to give yourself several weeks before the horse has to look presentable. You need at least one week for mane training and at least one week for brushing the mane out. More is better, especially on the brushing side if your horse has a thick mane. I will probably pull it the next time she gets drugs for her teeth, but it'll be less of a project because it will already be shorter and thinner than it was when I got her. In the meantime, scissors it is.
The tail, though... there's nothing to do about the tail. It's in a pasture braid right now, but her dock is short and thin and that's all there is to it. She isn't gonna ever have a thick beautiful tail. I'll try to love her anyway.