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Sensitive mane

Discussion in 'Horse Care' started by Leo_lover, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Leo_lover

    Leo_lover New Member

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    My Welsh Sec D mare is very sensitive around her mane, she shakes her head around during brushing but walks off and barges me out the way when I try to pull it. I have a humane puller and it doesn't make any difference.

    I also have to walk her around in circles to be able to brush her tail. Both are very thick so it takes ages!
    Any ideas/suggestions on how to help her calm down a bit? We've only had her 6 months and she's my first. Is it just a case of slowly slowly until she trusts me enough to stand still?
    All help/ suggestions will be very gratefully received!
     
  2. Skib

    Skib Well-Known Member

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    I have long hair and it shocks me how people groom the manes and tails of horses. Not saying you are wrong but just that I do it differently and the same as I do my own and my grand children's long hair.
    First I have a much admired Ostler tail brush. With wide spaced spikey plastic bristles. No. I do not use it and for a long time lent mine to a friend.
    I use the stiffer of my two body brushes, more like my own classic Mason Pearson hair brush. I start at the ends the bottom of the hair, putting the brush on the hair about three inches up the tail and and holding the hair with my other hand just above the entrance point where I am brushing. This means that if the brush encounters a tangle, it pulls against my other hand and not on the skin of the horse. By starting near the tips of the hair any tangles come undon and you then move your hand up that chunk of tail and so on till you reach the top. Then you do the same with the next section of tail. Starting at the bottom and working gradually up.
    Once you have worked through the whole tail like that (about four sections in all), then you can gently use the proper tail brush if you want. Again I start at the bottom of the tail and work up, but usually there is no resistance and no hair tears out. The tail brush is good if you want to rub some baby oil on your hands and brush it through the tail.
    I am riding a big Iberian with a regal curly mane at the moment and I use the same care and the same technique on that and the forelock. But I dont use the tail brush on it. That is because when brushing the mane, I am pretty likey to brush her coat and neck under it too and prefer the body brush for that.
    If she doesnt stand still even for a gentle brush, I do use my fingers and hands a lot while grooming. The horses are obliged to let me touch them and stroke them wherever I want - gently - no hurting. The horses I have ridden regularly and groomed regularly seem to like me doing it - But I treat each one as an individual - I use the brushes each one likes - Maisie whom I rode for year liked my American style brushes but Grace has a fine and sensitive skin and doesnt much - so I bought her something else.
    But because I suffered so much from my Nanny hurting my hair when I was a child that I take a long time and great care over the mane and tail. Go very slow, very gently and very carefully. A brush that pulls out a lot of hair will hurt the horse. So pulling a mane is asking for trouble.
     
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  3. newforest

    newforest It's A Gamble Not To Gamble

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    Mine used to shake her mane until I started brushing just the bottom while supporting her top part.
    She has thick neck and if you look just brushing alone it does pull the top.
    I don't pull her mane do no help, but again you might want to pull after exercise and support the topline.

    I oil the tail and brush in sections.
     
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  5. Flipo's Mum

    Flipo's Mum Heavy owner of a Heavy

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    Might be an ideal clicker training opportunity. My horse hates having his mane and forelock washed and I use clicker and treats for it and he endures it.
    I'd do little and often and make it as pleasurable an experience as possible. You don't have to do heaps of clicker training, I'm thinking your horse will get the idea that if he stands for a minute for mane brushing pulling/ tail preening then lots of praise. Hell maybe you need to start with just five ten seconds of it and praise when he doesn't move.
    I use a tangle teaser brush which is a human hair brush (and I have one for myself!) I brush from the bottom holding a chunk of hair in my hand at about half way down and lift it up and brush so he doesn't feel me working through any tugs. My horse isn't the greatest for standing to be groomed, but then I'm not one for loving to groom anyway so it goes both ways.
    Lots of praise but make sure it's well timed and hopefully you will get there. As for the mane pulling, I'm sure it must be painful so not sure how you deal with that sorry.
     
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  6. domane

    domane Chatterbox

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    Use lots of conditioner so that it is easier to get the tangles out - and brush it regularly to get her used to it. And a Solo Comb for shortening. I never "pull" manes.... I think it may be uncomfortable and painful so I tend to back-comb and scissor off from underneath.

    If she is really sensitive, start off just "brushing" with your hand, just down the outside, to simulate the movement of brushing, with lots of praise. See how she copes with that. The progress to a body brush, so that is nor actually getting through the hair but she can feel the resistance of the brush. And just desensitise her gradually over a few days or weeks.
     
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  7. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

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    While I completely agree with gradual desensitizing for a genuinely nervous/sensitive horse (brushing the mane with a body brush shouldn't hurt even the most sensitive though), walking off and barging over you is down right rude not to mention dangerous and I would not be tolerating it, I am by no means suggesting beating your horse into submission, but if you are brushing properly and sympathetically expecting them to stand is not unreasonable :)

    Initially you may need a second pair of hands to hold your horse while you tackle her tail, twisting the tail stops the brush pulling on individual hairs at the root, so you twist the whole tail and then brush the last 6 inches against your thigh, then untwist another 6" and brush that bit and so on. And as @newforest suggests supporting the top of the mane with your free hand can make that more comfortable. Be sure you aren't using a brush that is likely to rip hairs out (combs and regular hair brush style brushes do tend to) and start at the ends and gently tease knots out and work your way up rather than just raking through from top to bottom in one swipe as some folks do :)
     
  8. Skib

    Skib Well-Known Member

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  9. Skib

    Skib Well-Known Member

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    And this is the Oster tail brush that was once voted top in H&H or another mag. Everyone wanted mine. I bought a spare to use on the hair of dolls - and once when my grand daughter came to stay and forgot her hair brush, I used that clean one on my grand daughters long thick hair. I was horrified by how much of her hair it pulled out -and that was when I stopped using it on horses. At that time I was helping on the livery yard and did a lot of grooming.

    http://www.totally-tack.co.uk/p_1181_oster-mane-and-tail-brush-pink-and-blue

    As I said, I will use it -for both Maisie and Grace but only after using the other one to get out all the tangles and straw. And to brush through some oil. The baby oil acts as conditioner so the tangles are easier to unravel next time..
     
  10. Trewsers

    Trewsers Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely agree with this. It used to make me wince watching people on our last yard looking as though they were almost tearing through tails and mane. Even applying mane spray does little to soften the damage - it must be uncomfortable. I too have long hair and as a child hated having my bunches put in by my mum. So much so thst aged 8 she took me to the hairdressers and it was all cut off:( (which is probably why I grew it long in my late teens and have never had it short again since). Anyway back on topic, the above is good advice indeed. How about using a solo comb for the mane instead of pulling? J would never tolerate his being pulled and his last owner advised us to buy one which we did.
     
  11. Lissie

    Lissie Well-Known Member

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    My pony is sensitive about his mane too, always shakes his head and neck when I'm doing it. I tie him up and work from the bottom up although his mane is quite short anyway. I use a sole comb to pull. Maybe try a tangle teaser? I have really long hair and it's the only hair brush that gets knots out without hurting.
     
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  12. Skib

    Skib Well-Known Member

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    A postscript to this thread. A traditional scrubbing brush. Grace needed a groom and I didnt have my own grooming kit. So in spite of my posts about special brushes - I had to use whatever was lying around. No mane and tail nor stiff grooming brush in sight but I noticed a traditional bristle scrubbing brush, and I used that for her mane and tail. A comedy act the two of us - but it worked pretty well.
     
  13. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this. Manners are so important and you need to stop the barging. Given the chance, my horse would barge over anyone and go where he likes if I would let him and it's dangerous. He is very big and strong and I work hard to keep him manners in check.

    I would do little and often tail brushing. Start with your fingers and then build it up.
     
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