Pulling a Mane
Some people leave this task undone, they perhaps worry that they will do a poor job and produce more problems than they can solve. However, a well pulled mane gives a good appearance. It is much easier to maintain, than a long thick tangled mane - especially in the winter when it is full of mud!
The mane will pull out more easily if the horse is warm and the pores of the skin are open, i.e. after exercise or on a hot day. Many horses will fidget, and some actively dislike it. If the mane is pulled in cold weather when the pores of the skin are shut tight it may cause pain. (I always think it must be like plucking your eyebrows.)
Always remove the hair from the underside of the mane and NEVER use scissors.
1. Lay the mane over to the wrong side; comb it through to remove all the knots. This way any hair broken or pulled out by combing will be on the underside of the mane and there will be no 'ends' when the mane is laid over to the correct side. I find this method also works very well on a muddy mane.
2. Now lay the mane back over to the side it lies naturally, and comb through again, to remove any last knots.
3. Stand back and have a look to see where the hair is longest and start there. You can see in the picture that the mare has long hair by her withers and shorter in the middle and then longer again towards her ears.
4. Start with the longest hair, with your fingers take hold of some of the long hairs and backcomb the hair until a few strands are left.
With a sharp tug remove the hair. Work along the mane taking out the longest hairs.
5. Comb the mane through again and stand back to see if the mane is now level and the length that you require.
Always do a little at a time and then leave for a few days to see how the mane settles. Then if necessary remove a few more hairs until the mane is level and tidy. I started with a mane that had been pulled previously and just needed a 'tidy'. If however you start with a full mane (one that has not been pulled) it may take several weeks to get the same result.
TIP - Think of pulling as 'tidying' the mane, rather than pulling to shorten or thin the mane. That way you are less likely to pull out too much and end up with a very short unlevel mane. Don't be too disheartened as it will grow out eventually if you make a mistake!