Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Mane Dilemma: Haircut

Harley has thick, fairy tale horse hair.  I love long hair and try my best to keep his mane and tail as natural as possible, which includes not cutting a bridle path behind his ears and letting his mane just grow and grow.  I purchase bottles of detangler and conditioner to keep his locks manageable and always try to brush starting at the bottom to prevent breakage.  Even though Harley used to be a rough and tumble horse (i.e. his previous owner was of the male persuasion), he seems to enjoy the primping and preening, which was a cool way to pass the time during our three-day heat wave last week.  He also very clearly appreciates his long mane and forelock when the flies are biting.  They serve as effective fly masks just as nature intended.

Unfortunately, I decided that practicality had to win over vanity last week.  Harley's hair is so thick, that he sweats quite a lot under his mane.  The hair will hold a nice french braid, which I employ for shows, but he dislikes having his mane constantly done up.  I think that it must pull, because he will toss his neck from side to side in an annoyed way.  After a horse show, he always licks and chews when I undo the braid and gives his mane a really good, satisfied shake.

So out came the clippers.  I was hoping clippers would give a rougher cut then scissors.  I did not want to pull his mane as it was just way too long for that, but I also did not want to do the dreaded straight cut.  I really like the way his mane had thinned out at the bottom of the hairs, so I was sad to see that part go, but his health and comfort are more important.

The round pen is a nice touch to the "mustang look" he has going.  The shortest section of his mane by the withers is just catching up with the rest of his mane.  I have not trimmed his mane in over a year.

I love the soft edge of his mane, frayed by hundreds of combings, the sun, and the elements.

The Haircut: I tried to follow the bottom of his neck, remove some bulk, but keep it legitimately long.  I also evened out the shorter section coming from the withers.

Even though I am going through a little bit of regret at losing the edges of his wild mane, I am glad that his pretty neck is no longer completely hidden.  Thankfully, there is much better airflow under there now and with enough mane left to shake off flies.  I am looking forward to the edges softening with time.

Since I had the clippers out, his fetlocks also received a trim.

He stands like a champ for this stuff.

I just barely nipped the edges off of his forelock.  He enjoyed the shower as it was in the upper nineties!

Harley got all dolled up, so now he just needed somewhere to go.
Thankfully, we had a special event on Saturday!  More to follow.

Related Post: The (Original) Mane Dilemma

13 comments:

  1. Aww, he looks quite handsome!

    I do not pull manes, ever. Thus, I have become a champ at cutting manes without them looking like they've been cut! Beauty supply stores sell a thing called a "thinning shear". It looks like a pair of scissors with teeth. You can use it to rough up the edges of the mane so that it doesn't look like a bowl cut, and also to thin the thicker parts of the mane so that it braids nicely.

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    1. I will have to look for a pair. Thanks for the tip!

      I think that the last time I pulled his mane, it left my fingers raw and I felt bad about ripping his hair out. He objected as I got closer to the poll, so contrary to popular belief, I think that the horse does feel it. How could they not?

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  2. Harley looks very handsome. I like to keep their manes shorter in summer for coolness. A shower is always nice on a miserably hot day, I'm sure he enjoyed his whole spa experience.

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    1. Thanks! He was happy to have a break from the sun and green heads.

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  3. I like how that came out using the clippers. It's tidy but still fairly natural looking. Dee's mane is needing a trim and like you I dread the idea that it will look blunt and obviously cut. I think I will go for a length somewhere around the neck line, too. Looks good!

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    1. Thanks. I tried to keep the edge rough, but I still do not like how blunt it ends up being. I think this length is a good compromise. Good luck with Dee's mane!

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  4. It looks great! I gave Pinecone a hair cut with scissors about a month ago...it ended up looking like I gave him a haircut with scissors :-( But it's grown in nice and doesn't look like the hack job it did a few weeks ago.

    Harley is so handsome! I just love buckskins! I had always said my next horse was going to be a buckskin...but I ended up with another red horse instead :-)

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    1. Oh good. So time will do the trick.

      A good horse is a good horse. That should come before color anyway. I love red horses!

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  5. I like it, it really does show off his neck. Harley is looking really good right now in general, so much so that I can't stop looking at that first photo. Whatever you're doing- keep it up!

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  6. he looks absolutely gorgeous :) bet hes feeling the relief, and a bit cooler now, though i did love his mane before as well xx

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  7. Yes, thinning shears! (I love that tip) I can't believe I didn't think of that (thanks, Shannon). Val, I too, love the natural, long mane. I do cut with scissors, but spend a TON of time cutting up into to keep it "natural". Oberon's mane isn't as think as Harley's. :)

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