Roached Mane

So it’s been a while since I’ve shown. This winter I let my guys mane get out of control and he hates to have it pulled. Between mud and ice, I decided to just roach it off over winter.

He looks great with it roached (and it shows off his nicely built neck), but I am now trying to decide if I should let it grow out for our first planned USEA BN towards the end of May (I think it would be long enough to braid by then if I don’t touch it), or roach it again and have it at a good roached length for the event.

Roached manes are fine right? I wouldn’t have to braid it? What would I do with his forelock? Leave it long or braided?

Thanks for the help!

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There’s a good number of roached manes in my part of the world. I would think your biggest disadvantage is if you need to grab mane (although, a neck strap could fix that). I’d still braid the forelock or tuck under a bonnet.


I showed a horse BN through Training with a roached mane. No problem.

Braid the forelock, and make sure it is tidy. Never got a negative comment about it.


Already got one and schooled with it this weekend!


Roached is not only fine, you will probably find that most people don’t realize that it’s roached. :slight_smile: With the popularity of tiny, flat braids, people default-think that that is what they must be seeing. Especially if you take it down to the neck for the show.

You probably won’t be the only roached mane at the show.


Absolutely fine. I did plenty of recognized events with roach or Mohawk- I hate the barbie hair obsession, I am all about practical & ready to go! I just did a quick & forelock braid. If I needed something to grab, I had a martingale strap.


I’m a huge fan of roaching! I think it can make a neck look really good when done well. Personally, I would clip to a stiff mohawk if the neck is on the thinner or straighter side (eg if you can draw a straight line from withers to poll) so you can make the illusion of a more arched/crested/well-muscled neck, and complete roach if the neck is already quite cresty. One of my favourite stallions, Cosun, consistently shows in the GPs with a completely roached mane and I think it complements his neck beautifully. Definitely braid the forelock though!


My old horse had an eye injury, and he had to wear a slinky for several months to keep the tube for his meds clean. It was braided into his mane. After three months of not seeing the light of day except when I gave his meds, we took the slinky off and his mane was falling out. So I roached it. I LOVED it–I simply braided his forelock (which he had managed to keep somehow, though thinned out) for dressage–took 2 minutes. It looked fantastic on him, and I never would have thought to do it without the injury. Several teammates saw how easy my life was without having to braid, and some of them followed suit (as their horses’ necks allowed).

You do need to be aware that there is no mane to grab and that you need to be more generous with the fly spray on the neck than you initially thought. You will also need to re-roach as the season progresses because the halfway in between is a nightmare.

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Another one who says go for it! I roached my boy’s last spring when shows were cancelled because I HATE pulling manes. I like it so much that I’ve kept it that way. I did my first recognized HT a month ago and I was a little self-conscious to be sporting a roach, a “Z” on the horse’s butt that was left over from his winter clip job, and dove grey breeches instead of white. I was pleasantly surprised to get a “great turnout” comment from the dressage judge, and proud because turnout is really not my strong suit! (I don’t think it was one of those consolation comments because we scored pretty well.) His roach isn’t down to the neck so it is definitely noticeable but apparently I’m not the only one who thinks it looks good. And it is sooooo much easier!

Haha yes! Mine is a little long right now. I usually keep it trimmed with scissors but I got hurt in a fall a few weeks ago (not off my perfect horse of course!) and now I can’t stand up long enough to trim it. He looks like crap and it’s stressing me out!

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I’m a huge fan of roaching and wondering why I didn’t do it sooner! A whole lot easier to maintain and such a time saver.


Yup! Love a roached mane! Quicker for me to do and less stress on my horse as well. As soon as our lockdown ends I’m getting a new pair of scissors and getting down to work!

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I roach - and add a neck strap which I never remember to use - and I LOVE it. No braiding, no pulling. Just keep it trimmed with scissors (I guess it’s not a total roach but more like a tiny mohawk). Not only do I event this way, I’ve competed through 3rd level at recognized dressage shows.


I LOVE the Mohawk look! I want to do one one my gelding. Do I need clippers, or will scissors work? Is there a YouTube video that will walk me through it? I’m scared to eff it up.

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The easiest way to do it is to use clippers and roach it, and let it grow back in couple inches. Once it is growing up keep it trimmed with scissors.


I did mine with clippers two days ago for the first time and while it was worth the experiment, I really don’t like the look compared to all the times I scissor-trimmed it. Thankfully it’s just hair and will grow out!

To trim with scissors I use a wide comb to hold the hair taut and help guide me in a straightish line. (I learned when the pandemic started that I have no hairdressing talents. :rofl:)

@asterix Gorgeous horse! What breed?


You can use either clippers or scissors. I most often use scissors just because it’s easier than getting out the clippers. I don’t roach all the way down, just make a nice mohawk. No need to worry about “messing up” - it’s just hair, it grows back quickly. Nothing you do to it is permanent & your horse will not be offended. You can change your mind as many times as you want.


I wish horse people remembered this about mane decisions! There is so much angst over length, cutting, roaching, etc. & so on. Just leave it be and in 6 months no one can tell what was done.

Even if you want to go from roached to long and flowing, it doesn’t take that many months for a healthy horse to grow a long mane. Those of us who keep manes short are constantly thinking “I have got to do that mane!”.


Okay, thanks for the encouragement and reminder that it can always grow back. Operation Mohawk Mane commences this week!


@Libby2563 thanks for the tip re: comb - I’m terrible at hairdressing too and he now has a “flophawk” as my teenage friend calls it :laughing:
He is a perch/tb cross, which no one really believes unless they have had one (I had a dressage judge literally tell me it was not possible and he was a warmblood).
He’s spicy and talented, loves to run and jump, hates ditches (not so great for an eventer), and turns out to be quite a nice dressage horse (got our bronze last year)…


Haha! I thought he looked like a really nice draft cross but didn’t want to presume. Congrats on your bronze!!

I am definitely going to steal “flophawk”!! That’s exactly what was going on with mine until I broke out the clippers a few days ago because I couldn’t look at it anymore. My dressage coach is going to have a heart attack when she sees him today. She handled the original mohawk pretty well but this looks more extreme, especially from above.

I do need to find a better pair of scissors. My husband gave me a pair after I kept absconding to the barn with his, but the blades are short and it feels like a lot of work to trim a whole mane (still way less than pulling though!) I would like some with longer blades maybe? I’m afraid to use clippers if I’m not taking the hair all the way down because if the horse moves his head I’d probably take a big chunk out.