With the acres and acres of manes and tails on Friesians, you can probably guess that we spend a lot of time on mane and tail care. While the maintenance is time-consuming, you do learn a few tricks along the way and you become an incredibly fast and accurate braider. A skill both of my daughters appreciate!
When you are washing manes and tails focus on the roots, massaging and scrubbing to break up the dirt and oil deposits. Flip the mane over to scrub the underside and rinse both sides thoroughly.
Use conditioner sparingly and add water to disperse throughout the hair. Because conditioner has a lot of oils in it, it will attract dirt! Leave the conditioner on for about five minutes then rinse thoroughly.
Leave-conditioner can be applied after the hair is dry to help enhance the shine and replace the natural oils shampoo strips out.
While we never trim manes, other than a small bridle bath, we do recommend trimming tails to keep them neat and clean. After thoroughly combing out your horse’s dry tail, take the end straight down slightly past the back of their heel. We trim everything after this point on a slight angle to give it a natural, but clean look.
We are big believers in braiding to help reduce hair breakage. Braids have the added benefit of preventing matting and reducing the amount of exposed hair to the sun. Sun bleaching in Friesians is a real thing!
The type of braid you choose will depend on how often you plan to braid and how your horse is housed. For example, a running braid is great to keep the mane contained during riding, but not really ideal for hanging out in the stall or during turnout. We prefer individual braids down the neck, tied with a hair tie for general maintenance braids.
There are a few options for braiding tails. We prefer braiding from the end of the dock down, leaving a small portion on each side loose for fly-swatting. You want to make sure the braid is fairly loose at the dock and gets tighter as you go down. You can add a waterproof tailbag or wrap the braided portion with vet wrap to protect the hair if desired. We tend to leave them loose.
Ideally, you want to wash and rebraid manes and tails every 10-14 days. However, we all know life happens and it is ok if you have extra days in between. You do not want to wash more frequently as the shampoo strips the hair and will make it brittle.
This post contains affiliate links. We may receive a small commission if you purchase an item using these links.
There are some very fancy braiding tools available that can be fun to add to your routine but are certainly not required.
Here are the basic items we recommend for braiding:
Here are some fun options:
Always start at the bottom of the hair and work up as you are brushing it out. This reduces hair breakage.
Use your fingers to help detangle hair rather than a brush.
Avoid excessive use of oils and products as they attract dirt.
Take your time and enjoy the process. It is a great bonding experience for you and your horse.
I’ve been around horses my entire life, but my Friesian journey started just over 20 years ago. Our horses have always been a part of our family. They have traveled with us as we relocated from Vermont to New York to Iowa and finally, to Arizona. I can’t wait to share our story with you!
Sep 20, 2021
LET'S BE FRIENDS ON INSTAGRAM