12 Tips for Horse Mane and Tail Hair Growth

pinto tinker horse black and white color

Horses are loved for their graceful movement and stunning appearance. Well-groomed equines with uncommon hair coat please the eye of horse owners. Horses, like humans, are unique creatures. Each of them stands out with special features. These are fast speed, friendly temperament, and great look.

Long mane and tail are a desire for most horse owners. They crave their companions to look out of this world. Why not brag about a spellbinding equine with long hair? People find it attractive and classy. Horse keepers always look for remedies for horse hair growth. On the like of shampoo and conditioner, or home remedies. This article reveals handy tips for healthy hair on manes and tails.

How Does Horse Hair Grow?

A horse coat contains a myriad of hairs like we do. Each of them consists of distinct layers. The tiny core of a hair is called the medulla. The diameter of the hair is distinguished by the diameter of the medulla. The bigger the core, the thicker mane and tail the horse will have.

The next layer is called the cortex. It provides the shaft’s bulkiness. Keratin makes up 85% of this layer. Keratin is an essential protein that is in horseshoes and our fingernails. By the way, keratin treatments can make your hair look glossy too. Apart from keratin, there also water, minerals, fats, and melanin. Melanin is a pigment that is responsible for coloration.

The last layer is the cuticle. The cuticle helps to keep the hair in the follicle. And it plays a crucial role in how shiny the horse’s coat is.

hair growth cycle chart
Horse's hair grows a similar way to the one human's does

The horse’s hairs grow from follicles. They include glands, muscles, and blood vessels. Depending on where the follicles are placed on the body, they produce various cells. They produce thicker hair on the crest and thinner on the flanks. The hair color can be different too.

There’s a gland that produces sebum placed next to each follicle. Sebum is a natural oil that protects the horse’s skin and hair. It also repels water and micro-organisms out from the coat. Such oil makes the hair shine as it reflects the light. The horse’s hair lacking sebum looks dull and unhealthy.

The hair root is placed in the follicle, as well as the papilla and matrix. These cells regulate hair growth and shedding. The activity of the cells is referred to the amount of shedding hair over time.

shetland chestnut pony with light mane and tail

Main Stages of Hair Growth

There are three phases that describe the lifecycle of horse and human hair.

  1. The first stage is called the anagen. The cells here are producing the hair shaft. The hairs start to grow up from follicles and grow longer. The hair length depends on many factors such as age, horse breed, and genetics.
  2. The next phase is the catagen. It’s when the hair’s growth is ceasing. The hair follicles begin to shrink.
  3. The last stage is the telogen. It’s the final point when the growth is stopped. The hair is not connected to the blood vessels anymore. It stays in the follicle until new hair grows and pushes the old one out.

We bet you notice how a horse’s coat starts to grow when the season changes. That’s because of the process called photoperiods. There are special light receptors in the horses’ eyes. They perceive the changes in the length of daylight. The sign goes to the brain that leads to producing melatonin. With daylight decreasing, the number of melatonin increases. This triggers hair growth. That’s why horses end up with thick and fluffy coat in winter.

horse is taking a shower with shampoo

12 Tips for Healthy Mane and Tail Hair Grow

  • Check your horse’s nutrition. The equine must be well-fed and watered. Proper diet leads to improved coat and the hair grows faster. The forage you feed your horse with has to contain enough protein, vitamins, and amino acids.
  • Use quality grooming tools. Consider purchasing brushes and combs specially designed for horses. They usually come in a grooming kit that contains all the bare essentials to keep your horse neat and clean.
  • If you want your horse to grow a long tail, don’t brush it every day. Otherwise, it will get thinner over time. The process of regrowing pulled hairs are pretty long.
  • Instead of daily tail brushing, brush the horse’s dock. Use a dandy brush to do so. Brushing will help you to get rid of dirt and dust. It also protects from occurring dander that may cause itchy skin. Brush the dock to increase the blood flow. This stimulates healthy hair growth.
  • Wash your horse’s tail. Add a small amount of horse shampoo into a bucket with water. Dunk the tail in the bucket and rinse. Check the product’s information before applying. Find the hair care products suitable for your equine.
  • While riding a horse with a wet tail, make a slip knot to keep the hairs together till they’re dry. This will help to keep the tail off the ground. So the horse won’t step on it and the tail stays clean.
horse with braids grazing on pasture
  • When washing the horse’s mane, massage the roots from which the hair grows. Scrubbing the roots helps to remove dirt and oils. Besides, it promotes blood circulation for hair growth. Mind that the underside of the mane is the dirtiest one. Rinse the shampoo products thoroughly out of the hair.
  • Don’t overdo it with the conditioner. Add some water to spread the product all over the mane evenly. Apply a leave-in conditioner on dry hair to refill essential natural oils. Rinse the product well as conditioners attract dirt.
  • Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. As sulfates are chemicals that remove natural oils. They could lead to hair loss. Instead, look for products based on natural ingredients. These are coconut oil and tee tree that help with hair hydration.
  • Braid the horse to reduce breakage. It’s a handy trick that helps to maintain a healthy mane.
  • Brading a tail is a great idea too. It prevents tangles and snags. It’s recommended to braid the hair from the end of the dock. Start loose for a couple of inches and then tighten the hair as you’re going down.
  • Get a quality horse blanket for your animals. Avoid sheets that sit too loose or too tight. As the product could rub the mane and lead to hair loss.
woman performing with rearing horse

Horse Mane Hairstyle Ideas

Horse owners love making up horse mane hairstyles. There are lots of trendy ideas you can find on the Internet. Well-cared hair is a great way to make your companion look chic. Here’s a list of horse mane hairstyle ideas that will make your buddy rock at the frontline.

man is pulling mane with comb

1. Mane Pulling

Braiding requires a short and thin mane. The best way to maintain the hair length is by pulling the mane. For those who don’t know how to pull a horse’s mane, here’s a guide. Get a metal pulling comb and wrap longer hairs over the comb. Start yanking the hairs out. Some people prefer pulling more than cutting. It’s believed to keep a more natural look.

two ponies with mane braids

2. Flat Braids

Originally, such braids were made to keep the horse hair from tangling while hunting. But nowadays braiding is getting popular as it adds more elegance. That’s a regular hairstyle that you may experience at horse shows and parades. A piece of yarn that matches the hair color is commonly used. You may end up with 30+ braids along the horse’s neck!

woman is performing dressage with braided horse

3. Rosette Braids

Rosette braids look like neat buttons all over the neck. That’s why they are also called button braids. Such braids are done with thread and a needle. Or you can use yarn or rubber bands instead. Traditionally, an uneven number of braids are done along the neck. The average number goes between 9 and 17.

horse with white running braids

4. Running Braids

Running braids is a French style of braiding mane. It goes the full length of the neck. Running braids require an equine with long hair. Such hairstyle is typically done to perform at a horse show.

horse with continental braids

5. Continental Braids

To slay continental braids, a lot of patience is needed! But the result is totally worth it. This hairstyle is also called a diamond weave. The braids are banded altogether creating a mesh with diamond-shaped spaces.

The technique of continental braids lies in separating and banding the hairs equally along the neckline. Then you have to split the section into two equal parts. Attach each part to the next section of horse hair. Eventually, you’ll end up netting the braids.

horse mane n tail shampoo

Can I Use Horse Shampoo on My Hair?

There is a rumor regarding horse shampoo is an excellent remedy for thin hair and split ends. Especially women have questions about such a hair care product, whether it’s worth applying on their head.

There is horse shampoo on the market suitable for people. For instance, the Mane ‘n Tail shampoo is on the agenda. The brand states their shampoos make the hair thick, shiny, and soft.

Before purchasing horse hair growth shampoo, you have to know its side effects you may face:

  • Dryness because of excessive keratine.
  • Hair damage because of excessive proteins.
  • People with wavy or curly hair may experience frizzing.
  • Color loss.
  • Chemical ingredients in the product may lead to an itchy or rash scalp.

Thus, check the shampoo’s description before buying it. Check for allergies by putting a small amount of the product on your skin.

baby foal is hiding under mares tail

Remedies for Horse Hair Growth

First, make sure your horse gets enough protein and vitamins. Contact your vet to plan the horse’s diet according to its needs and health conditions. Besides, you may consider the following remedies for horse hair treatment:

  • castor oil;
  • coconut oil;
  • argan oil;
  • jojoba oil;
  • olive oil;
  • chamomile tea;
  • aloe vera gel;
  • glycerin;
  • castile soap;
  • avocado.

These are horse-friendly ingredients that can be added to the home-made shampoo.

two ponies are standing next to each other

Shine Bright Like a Mane and Tail

Mane and tail hair care is an integral part of equine grooming. Proper care leads to healthy coat condition. Use quality products suitable for horses only. The hints mentioned before can help you keep your companion clean and good-looking.

Apart from grooming, your horse needs constant feeding and watering. Check this ultimate horse care guide to get the hang of it.

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David Garcia

David Garcia

David Garcia is a vivid writer and a big fan of equestrian sports. He founded Horse Riding Center – the blog where David shares his knowledge and experience about horses, tack, equestrian riding equipment, taking care of horses, and other useful guidelines.