Friday, July 15, 2011

Milo's Summer Look

This post will either make some of you cry, or some jump with joy.

I looooooove long manes, especially for the reining horses. I think a nice long mane is just gorgeous and really completes the equine look. When I bought Milo, he had a short trimmed western pleasure mane, and I maintained it that way for a few years. Eventually, I aged out of 4H and no longer had a drive to compete in western pleasure. Why maintain the short look if I wasnt competing? Besides, I loved the long look, so I let it grow out.

There was about six months of the awkward stage, you know - only a half length down the neck, but still full. Eventually, it grew out to about where it would be, and for a few months, I loved the way Milo's mane looked.

But, this last winter, Milo rubbed out two substantial portions of his mane. One right where the blanket rests (curses you stupid bad fitting blanket!! But fortunately, it is now sold and I am saving to get a HUG blanket for this coming winter....hopefully that rub out wont happen again), and another chunk up near the pole. But I still wanted to keep the long mane, religiously applying MTG weekly and hoping those areas would grow back. I admit it, I was in denial about the state of his mane.

After a few weeks (months actually...) of knowing something should be done about his mane, I consulted Sarah's opinion. While a short mane can look sharp and is easy to maintain, I was concerned about not only feeling like an outsider in the reiner pen, but I also didnt want to look "western pleasure" when that isnt what we are aiming for. Sarah said that she not only thought he would look great with a banded mane in reining, but also said that she likes a short mane for horses with a nice neck to show off. And, she added, Milo now has a very nice neck. She also said that cutting it short and properly maintaining it with conditioner would make it grow back much healthier, and evenly.

I thought about it for a few more days, then decided to take the plunge. It's just hair, right?!

Before - looking shabby, uneven, and unhealthy. 
After the initial chop. 
Some work was badly needed to it still, but I decided to pull after we rode, so that his pores would be open and the hair would come out much easier. Milo, bless his heart, stood quietly and still as I fumbled remembering how to get the hand-comb work back. But I got a lot of it evened up nicely.

There's still some work to be done, naturally, but I didnt want to do all of the pulling in one 
I gotta say, Sarah as right - it sure shows off his beefy neck really nicely. And a bonus - it makes Milo's forelock seem longer! Right? I've got two more weeks until my next show, so I have some time until then to really clean it up, and maybe practice my banding again. Good thing I still have that old sleazy from my 4H days!

Hope you like your new look, Milo. You should stay cool this summer (last summer I braided in an attempt to eliminate sweating underneath) with a lighter mane. And if you dont like it, well, it's hair and it will grow back. We all have had those "bad haircuts". OK, well, it might last longer than just the summer....


Cedar View Paint Horses said...

We don't pull. Thinning shears. If the mane is too think, we'll band it and leave the bands in - it breaks the hairs off and thins it out the easy way.

Story said...

I like it! Page definitely looked best in a short mane, too. It was short when I got her and it made her look powerful. When it got long it made her look like she had no top line. And her hair was super thick, you would have thought it would look great long. Interestingly enough I was watching the Region 3 Championships online yesterday and actually saw an Arabian Western Pleasure horse with a relatively short mane (maybe 4 inches) which is supposed to be against our rules ("Horses must wear a long, natural, unbraided mane"). Looked great, though and showed off a pretty neck. The horse got a prize, too, so obviously the judges didn't object.

in2paints said...

I love it! The biggest reason I love short manes is because it really shows off their necks, and Milo looks really handsome!

I also don't pull manes... I use scissors to cut up into the mane, and I also use my thinning shears. Lilly would hate me if I pulled her mane!