If you have chosen the path that leads to the show pen, mane and tail care should now be a high priority and have a
special code on your calendar.  There are some basic rules that we like to follow to help keep the hair healthy and long, the
most basic being that you *
NEVER brush a tail unless it has been washed.  Let’s take a look at what other elements it
takes to have a great looking pony-tail!
    Washing:  Start by rinsing mane from bridle path to withers.  Make sure that it is completely wet
before applying shampoo.  Dilute shampoo with water (1 to 10 parts) in a 32 oz bottle.  Apply mixture
to mane.  Thoroughly scrub shampoo into mane with fingers making sure you massage the scalp.  
Once you are finished scrubbing the mane, allow the shampoo to soak for 3 – 5 minutes and then
o        Products We Prefer:
               Vellus Shampoo and Pro-Stepps Moisturizing Shampoo
•   Condition:  Use a leave-in or spray conditioner for best results on mane.  Apply lightly to mane as
to much product could leave the mane feeling tacky.
o        Products We Prefer:
               Vellus Moisturizing Mist, MVP Equifuse, and Infusium 23 leave-in treatment
Tools Needed: Trimming Manes
Hair Brush
Hair Comb
Thinning Shears
•        Trimming Mane: We like to use an alternative to pulling manes that the horses seem to enjoy
better.  To begin make sure that the mane is completely dry otherwise you may end up with a mane
shorter than you intended.  Using a hairbrush entirely brush the mane out to get out initial tangles.  
Follow with a comb to get all hair lying flat in the same direction.  Once the whole mane is combed
thinner mane can usually have it a little shorter than a horse with a coarse, thick mane.  Rule of thumb
is usually credit card length or 2 ½ to 3 inches.  After you have decided on a length begin trimming by
placing your thinning shears ¼ - ½ inches below your desired length.  Take 2 to 3 passes with
thinning shears over mane.  You should have created a distinct line in the mane and this will be your
guide for cutting.  Take your scissors and begin cutting along the line until you have all the long hair
cut.  To finish the mane, take scissors along bottom side of mane and cut on small diagonals to give
the mane a pulled look.  Step back and analyze the finished product.  
Note: you can always make it
shorter but once you cut it your done.
Tools Needed: Thinning Manes
Hair Comb
Hair Clip
usually tend to fall on both sides of the neck and be very coarse to the touch.  Therefore, you have to have
some way to thin the mane out.  Pulling is one way to thin the mane, however, horse’s often really detest it
because, well, imagine someone pulling your hair out.  If your horse does not tolerate mane pulling, as
most of ours do not, there is another option that works well.  Braiding the mane ¼ of the way down from
the hair line helps to train the mane to lie on one side of the neck as well as naturally thinning the mane
from the weight of the braid.  To begin, section out a ½ - ¾ inch piece of mane with your comb.  Place a
hair clip in the rest of the mane to hold it away from hair you will be working with.  Braid the piece of mane
you sectioned out about a ¼ of the way down.  Place a rubber band at end of braid to hold in place.  Leave
•        Banding: Refer to Banding in Grooming to Show Article
Tools Needed: Washing & Conditioning
Spray Nozzle Attachment
24 – 32 oz Mixing Container (Salad Shaker)
       Washing:  Start by rinsing from top of tail to bottom.  Apply same shampoo mixture as used on
mane (1 to 10 parts shampoo to water in mixing bottle).  Massage mixture into scalp of tail and work
down to bottom of tail until entire tail is covered in mixture.  Allow the tail to soak with mixture 3 to 5
minutes.  Rinse the Shampoo out starting at top and working down.  Make sure to keep running your
fingers through tail until the water rinses clear.  Towel dry.
 o        Products We Prefer:
                   Vellus Shampoo and Pro-Stepps Moisturizing Shampoo

•        Conditioning:  With horse’s that have dry tails we like to use a conditioner that rinses out as well
as leave-in conditioner.  Application of a rinse out conditioner is the same as washing the tail.  Once the
tail is towel dried, a leave-in conditioner is applied.  Start at the top of the tail and work conditioner into
hair until you have reached the bottom.
 o        Products We Prefer:
                   Vellus Conditioner and Leave-In Moisturizer, Pro-Stepps Conditioner, MVP
                      Intensive Hair Treatment, MVP Equifuse and Infusium 23 Leave-In Treatment

•        Picking Out Tail:  We prefer Hand Picking tails verses brushing tails.  We have found that this limits
the amount of hair lost that occurs when brushing tails.  To begin take the whole tail in your less
dominant hand.  With your other hand begin picking small amounts (4 – 6 pieces) of hair from base of
tail and separating the pieces of hair from the rest of the tail.  Gently use your fingers or take smaller
chunks of hair if you are having difficulties getting the hair to separate.  Note: This is a time consuming
way to brush a tail out, however, the end results will pay off in the end when you have a beautiful, thick
Tools Needed: Braid Tail
Electrical Tape
•        Braid Tail:  Allow for tail to dry before braiding.  Start at base of tail bone and       
braid down to the bottom.  To secure braid, we like to use electrical tape to prevent
extra breakage; however, rubber bands are an alternative.
Tools Needed: Wrap Tail
Tail Bag (spandex, nylon, water resistant)
Tail Wrap (spandex, polar fleece)
•        Wrap Tail:  Tail bags play an important role in keeping the tail clean and preventing
breakage.  There are lots of tail wraps/bags on the market from spandex material to polar
fleece wraps.  All the products are good and it will depend on personal preference which
one you prefer.  We use a variety of bags/wraps including the polar fleece wraps; however,
I do have a personal favorite when it comes to mares.  I like to use a water resistant fabric
to help limit the amount of urine that saturates the tail.  It is a great material but most

•        Long Term Care:  Manes and Tails should be washed at least once a month,
however, if the mane or tail feels dry and gets really dirty you may need to wash and
condition them more frequently.  Remember: do not brush a dry, dirty tail or breakage will
Written by: Pamila Thiel & Anne Sherwood
“The information contained on this site is provided for general informational & educational purposes only.  The suggestions & guidelines should
not be used as the sole answer for a visitor’s specific needs.”
Anne Sherwood
823 Road 9 1/2
Powell, WY 82435
Home-(307)754-4120  Cell-(307)272-2829
Spray Nozzle Attachment
24 – 32 oz Mixing Container (Salad Shaker)