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Dutch Harness x Friesian Mane & Tail Care


I just bought my horse (new horse owner), he’s 50% Dutch Harness, 25% Friesian and 25% Hackney. He is pure black with 4 white socks. I am wondering if anyone knows if warmbloods have thicker manes? I have not found any images of Dutch Harness horses with long manes, they are always pulled and plaited. I would love to grow out his mane/ tail/ and feathers, hoping his friesian will show even more. His tail is pretty long and wavy but his mane was cut before buying. Would like input with this sort of cross or experience.

As well as advice and ideas on how to take care of mane & tails in the winter, when trying to grow it out.

Honestly, the best way to grow out a mane or tail is to not brush it, as brushing it pulls out hairs and makes it thinner. Good nutrition, make sure the horse isn’t irritated in those areas (which could cause rubbing, e.g., blankets, tight braids, etc.), and just leave it be. Some people loosely braid their friesians’ manes and put them in baggies, but not only does it look ridiculous I think there is scant evidence that it helps. If the tail is long enough that it’s dragging on the ground putting it up in a tail bag can keep it from getting filthy or stepped on, which would cause hairs to rip out (I guess the same thing applies to the mane, but it sounds like yours is not there yet). To keep long manes out of the way as a matter of convenience, I always just loosely braided thick sections. I’d redo the braids maybe every other month (yes they looked ratty by then, but who was I trying to impress?). So, I would focus more on making sure you’re feeding the best diet you can, which will ensure things like hair and hooves get all the nutrition they need.


I have a Friesian/Morgan cross. He has the biggest, thickest tail I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, he wasn’t so blessed in the mane department. I got him with a long mane, but it was thinner than I’d like and kind of scraggly and weird looking. I didn’t want to expend the effort to try and make it nice when I felt that he didn’t have the genetics for it anyway, and so I keep it pulled and it looks very nice now.
Regarding the tail, I agree with @Feathered_Feet that benign neglect is the best way to grow the hair out (second of course to good nutrition). I used to brush my horse’s tail out maybe once a month with a lot of detangler. Now I’m at a show barn where there are certain standards of grooming one must uphold :wink: Now my routine is wash (Head and Shoulders Shampoo) and condition (Cowboy Magic Rosewater Conditioner) every 1-3 months or so (less in the winter, monthly in the summer), and I brush it out with ample ShowSheen 1-2x per week. In between I just hand pick the shavings out. Personally I’ve found that that frequency of brushing with the showsheen keeps any pulling of hairs minimal for my horse’s tail, while keeping it nice looking.


Which WBs? The ones that are 85% TB? 15% TB? 50% Arabian? :slight_smile:

WBs aren’t breeds, so there’s no general statistic for that sort of thing. My Old N/A with no TB for 5 generations had a reasonably thick mane and a very thick, luxurious tail I had to trim once a year to keep it off the ground. I have another who is 85% TB who has a reasonably thick mane and an OK tail

Feed a well-fortified diet.
Don’t comb dirty hair.
Keep the tail trimmed so it’s not on the ground and getting stepped on

I like Vetrolin Shine or Cowboy Magic for keeping tangles to a minimum, no silicone. Use this on a clean tail and you reduce the dirt and tangling you have to deal with, but hand pick out the tangles daily

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Have to agree that good hair starts with good nutrition inside the horse. Then you are dealing with genetics. Sounds like he should have a good mane and tail. How wide is the hairline down his neck? A thin hairline just has less hair in it, so even gaining length, the mane will still remain thin. One of mine’s mane is 3" wide along his crest, he can get a serious Thelwell Pony look going over winter! We usually keep him roached to compete, so he cools down faster.

Something we do is use mineral oil on the tailbone to keep it from being itchy. Their tails are thick, shed water and we don’t usually bathe anyone over winter. Working the oil into skin with your hands, seems to prevent skin getting scaly and itchy. All seem to enjoy getting the oil worked inot the skin.

And I actually shorten tails for winter to keep them up out of the mud and ice. I usually cut them off at slightly below mid-cannon. Amazingly their tails immediately look thicker, darker with the trim. Hair DOES grow back! They have usually regained all their length by spring and I did not have to deal with terrible tails all winter!!

Do consider the chance that any tail or mane braids can snag on things, get pulled out! Had it happen here, though only skinny braids. So I quit braiding any hair except for showing days.

I like seeing a nice clean leg on a horse, so the feathers are clipped off. All the flopping hair adds to you needing to looking out for health issues of constantly wet skin, debris collected in hair making holes in horse, which takes extra time daily. I have 9 horses so that kind of time really adds up. Clipped legs dry fast overnight in the stalls, never needing to deal with scratches, cracked skin issues, too-wet hooves that can’t dry out.

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Yes! Those mudcicles are so time consuming and difficult to get out. They don’t break up or rinse out easily, it’s like cement. I take an extra inch or two off around November and that keeps the ends out of the mud.

When I got my pony, he had an average scraggly tail. I could tell nobody had ever trimmed it, so as it got longer it just got ripped out. I began trimming it regularly, feeding a solid diet and occasionally detangling it. It’s now so thick it looks like he’s wearing a fake :joy: My preferred brush is a human paddle brush, with bristles that are fairly flexible - this way, when it hits a tangle the bristles bend and slide out rather than ripping or pulling out hairs. I get almost no hair loss this way, pick out the really big tangles by hand.

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