- September 10, 2020
- Jan Swan Wood
The trend of long, thick mane on horses is big right now, and though it seems like that couldn’t be a problem for a horse other than having the knots brushed out on occasion, I see another problem that could lead to soundness issues. Bear with me.
The long, thick mane goes clear to the end of the mane line on the withers, so, when saddled, there’s the potential for that mane to be under the saddle pad and saddle. Seems harmless enough, but is it? If you were going for a hike, you’d make sure there wasn’t a shoelace inside your hiking shoe, right? How does a wrinkle in the pant leg feel when it’s under your thigh or knee while riding? So, if a big wad of mane is under the pad which is under the bars on your saddle, it would follow that it could get to be very uncomfortable for the horse. Once a horse starts moving, that wad of hair will usually become a thick strand of twisted mane, not a flat, smooth section of mane like when you saddle up.
Though my horses don’t have long, thick manes, I still do this to keep the mane from wadding up under my rig. I take my clippers and shave the withers a few inches from where they start on the back. It cleans all that wad off of there, doesn’t show when the horse is saddled and sure clears any irritants out from under the saddle and pads.
If you are one who marks your horse’s withers to signify a hackamore, two rein or bridle horse, you’re already doing this. If you’re not, do your horse a favor and clean those withers off.
About Jan Swan Wood
Jan was raised on a ranch in far western South Dakota. She grew up horseback working all descriptions of cattle, plus sheep and horses. After leaving home she pursued a post-graduate study of cowboying and dayworking in Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota....