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Date Posted: 06:38:35 08/09/11 Tue
Author: Megan
Subject: Braiding is the key
In reply to: Lahila 's message, "Mane Growth" on 08:48:13 08/08/11 Mon

Hello Lahila,

I keep my horse's mane in braids because it IS very long. I've kept it braided since he was about 2. He's now 4 and his mane is past his shoulders. I am a firm believer in braiding, even though there is a risk of hair breakage due to rubbing on fences etc. The hair loss from rubbing is not as much as would be lost from washing/handling it every week. I wash my horse's mane once a month with Absorbine Super Poo (which is a shampoo & conditioner) and then I apply a spray in conditioner afterwards and it comes out very soft with no tangles. After it's almost all the way dry I put it up in individual braids. There are about 5-6 braids. I may take it down once in between washings to rebraid, but I try to handle it as little as possible. The more you handle the hair, the more hair you lose.

The secret with the braiding is that the weight of the braid pulls on the hair from the root, helping it grow faster. Same idea as with putting up tails. Tails that are left down all the time do not grow. If you put the tail up, the weight of the tail being up in a braid is what encourages the growth. No MTG, no Show Sheen, no nothing. Just a good spray in conditioner and regular monthly washings. You don't want to handle the hair too much. You don't want to pull out what you're trying to grow.

As for products just read your labels. If something contains silicone and you're not comfortable about it, don't use it, or use it less frequently. I personally love the product Vetrolin Shine. Even though it does say it contains silicone, I still use it, just not every day or even every week. It's a great detangling product & I don't notice any drying.

Also with the mane braids, you can also put the braids in mane bags. (I have to invest in some of these or make some of my own). They keep the mane cleaner and rubbing becomes a non-issue because I don't think the horses can rub through the bags.

But all in all I am a firm believer that braiding is the secret to growing a long mane. My horse's mane didn't start to really grow until I put it up in braids. I'm not sure about the genetics aspect of it all. If your horse doesn't have any "hair gene" horses in his/her lineage you may not get a ton of length, but the braiding will at least help it along. My horse is an Anton baby, so hair is in his lineage. But I don't believe it would be as long as it is now if I did not keep it braided. I hope this helps. :)

-Megan

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