Shiny, Beautiful Horse Hair: Look After the Mane and Tail

You know that too? Split ends in the hair, the tips are dry and overall the hair looks rather dull and matted quickly? This is not only the case with humans but also with our horses. What can be the reason for tangled hair in two-legged friends also applies to four-legged friends – the wrong diet, stress, and inappropriate care. Here we show you how to care for your mane and tail so that they shine in the best possible light.

Maintain Their Mane and Tail

There is more to horsehair care than just a little combing and brushing. There are many factors that affect the health of the horse’s mane and tail. This includes a balanced and adapted diet and the right care products and aids.

An Apple a Day …

… keeps the Doctor away. Or in our case: helps the horse to have a healthy mane and strong tail hair. But not only the important vitamins from fresh juice feed such as apples are crucial for a balanced diet. Minerals and trace elements should not be neglected either, because they are crucial for a shiny, flowing head of hair.


If the trace element zinc is missing or is only fed in insufficient proportions, this has a negative effect on horse fur and hair. A zinc deficiency can lead to flaky skin, poor wound healing, brittle hooves, and thin and brittle hair. Therefore, make sure that you always provide the horse with enough sources of zinc. Chelate and citrate are particularly suitable here.


In addition to zinc, silicon is also required for a beautiful mane. It is a component of skin, hair, horn, and connective tissue and affects their elasticity and ability to store water. Silica is best suited as a silicon supplier. Diatomaceous earth can also be used – this also speeds up the change of coat and strengthens the hooves.

Vitamin B

Normal horse feed usually already contains enough vitamin B. In the case of illnesses and increased stress, however, deficiency symptoms can occur. This often manifests itself in skin damage, brittle hair, and dry hooves.


Biotin for hair loss – you often hear that in humans too. And there is something to it because biotin helps in the formation of keratin, which reinforces the stability of horn and hair. If the horse suffers from a biotin deficiency, brewer’s yeast can also be fed in addition to special biotin products. This naturally stimulates the formation of biotin in the intestine.

It Should Be Nicely Combed

If the basis of healthy horse hair has been created with nutrition, it is by no means done with care. Because horses – as majestic as they may be – like to roll around in the mud and straw, it often happens that mane and tail are caked with dirt and streaked with straw and hay. The rider’s hands should be used here to carefully remove lumps and stalks. As with ourselves, grabbing a comb or brush too early can be painful and lead to further knots.

After this careful preparatory work, a tail and mane brush is now attached. This ideally has particularly long, coarse bristles that penetrate the horse’s hair more easily. To avoid unnecessary tugging, combing the tail and mane is best done from bottom to top, strand by strand.

Combing the tail with hairbrushes used to be frowned upon because this method pulled out a lot of valuable tail hair. The tail was hand-picked hair by hair. With the modern mane and tail sprays, which prevent the hair from becoming tangled, and with better tail brushes, careful combing of the tail is now permitted.

Tip! Always hold the tail hair under the tail beet tightly with your hand and carefully comb underneath it.

If penetration is no longer possible, a good mane spray helps. The liquid allows the brush to glide through the hair more easily and loosens knots.

Visiting the Hairdresser: Wash and Cut Once, Please!

Dull horsehair just needs a good portion of horse shampoo every now and then to wash off all the dirt. This should be specially marked for horses – only then can the mane and tail be washed without irritating the surrounding skin.

Wash the Tail and Mane

The washing process then proceeds as follows: First, you put a strong shot of horse shampoo into a bucket filled with water. The hair is then dipped into the mixture – you can stay in the bucket for a few seconds so that it soaks up properly. Or you can wet the tail with water from the hose and distribute the shampoo directly on the tail hair. Now shampoo properly so that the dirt loosens. The foam is then carefully – but thoroughly – rinsed out. Complete.

If you apply a mane and tail spray directly after washing, the head of hair can be combed for longer and new dirt cannot stick to it as easily.

Horse Mane Warped – Yes or No?

First of all: opinions on warping mane differ. The procedure is too painful for the horse and the mane should be long anyway to protect against mosquitoes. Some say. Others say that horses have very few nerves in their hair roots (much less than humans) and therefore warping doesn’t cause any real pain. And a short mane is necessary for sport horses

Every horse lover has to decide for himself how he wants to treat his own horse’s mane. If you want to pucker the mane, all you need is a mane comb. Find a thin bundle of hair, starting with the longest. Now use the mane comb to push the shorter hairs up out of the tuft until you only hold about 10-20 hairs between your fingertips. Now wrap this around the back of the mane comb. Now pull the comb down with a little jerk.

This way you shorten your horse’s mane and thin it out at the same time. It’s best to start at the top of the mane and work your way towards the withers. Comb through again and again in between and keep an eye on the even length.

By the way: Smaller bundles require less effort and the hair can be loosened more easily.

Some horses react anxiously to this type of mane grooming. For these horses, a different type of mane grooming should be considered. Other horses, on the other hand, stand completely still and enjoy being occupied with you. Most are a little tender at the top of the mane. Here you have to be particularly careful to only remove very thin tufts of hair.

Snap-snap, Hair Off!

If the ends of your hair are thin and frayed, it’s time for the scissors. When cutting the mane and tail, there are a few rules to follow:

  • As short as necessary. Especially on the tail, the frayed, thin, and brittle ends are regularly cut off.
  • As long as possible. The hair protects the animal from annoying flies, especially in summer. So it is best to only cut off as much as is necessary for maintainability.
  • Always in small steps. Only a few centimeters are enough per cut – this avoids corners in the hair.

Incidentally, the upper line of the neck of the mane serves as a guide for the cut. If it is very thick and no more getting through, the mane should be carefully thinned out beforehand – as already described.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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