Mane being cut

To Pull or not to Pull Manes & Tails?

To pull traditionally or tidy humanely?  This tends to attract plenty of controversy when discussed on social media and is borne from an old tradition of neatening up manes and tails by pulling the hair away from the hair follicle to get a neat finish.

In the UK it is seen more commonly as a method to tidy and level manes as well as enhance the confirmation and look of the hindquarters and overall turnout by pulling out the hair on each side of the dock.

This method was taught for many years and until recently was accepted as the way to achieve a neat pulled mane and tail. However, it causes immense discomfort and pain, as well as creating problems with handling and restraining, so is this really necessary now?

Old techniques die hard, our Brand and vision was created to offer humane, pain free alternatives for grooming and tidying, and so the answer from us is “no, now there are humane alternatives, this is not necessary”.

For the pulled look, tails can be tidied with our craftsman designed and manufactured Smart Tails tidying rake to give the neat “pulled” show ring finish.  Some tails get very heavy and can cause irritation in the summer months, so a more natural tidy can also be achieved to give definition and comfort.

There was also an element of danger associated with traditional tail pulling, as quite often a horse would kick out in response to the discomfort.  By using a Smart Tails, this gives a safe solution and can be used by anyone to give a tidy finish in minutes. 

Mane tidying can be done just as humanely, quicky and effectively.

  • Thinning – where the thickness is thinned out leaving an even feel
  • Levelling – where the length of the mane is shortened giving a level finish
  • Comb & Scissors – both used together to shorten manes

Thinning Rake - We recommend the Smart Manes rake which works in the same way as the Smart Tails.  Used in a downwards action on the wrong side, to thin out.  Guaranteed to work on even the most sensitive of animals.  This is available in three grades – fine, medium and coarse.  Choose a grade depending on the softness and density of the hair that needs thinning through.

Levelling Knife – For this we use a levelling knife which has a serated edge.  On fine manes, this is all you will need to achieve a neat level finish that will give the “pulled” look.

If you have thinned the mane using the Smart Manes, then use the Levelling knife for the next stage of the mane tidy.  We recommend taking small sections of hair and backcombing gently to reduce the number of hairs before making a downwards flick to cut the end length.

Mane Comb & Scissor techniqueThis can be used for thinning and bringing up the length. Used in a similar way to the levelling knife, backcomb up to the height that you wish the mane to finish at and then cut.  It does require practice and a good eye for cutting at the right level.  The finish will give you a naturally tidy finish that shouldn’t look scissored.


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