How to grow your horses mane and tail

We all want our horses to have thick, shiny, healthy manes and tails, right?

Whilst some breeds are blessed with super thick, flowing hair, some of our horses’ manes and tails need some extra TLC to help them look their best, grow longer, and stay as thick as possible!

If you have a horse with a thinner mane or tail, or dry, brittle hair – be sure to read this blog! We’ll go through our top techniques and the best products you can use to give your horse’s mane and tail hair a helping hand.

Over our years in the industry, we’ve heard some horror stories of tails being chewed off and seen lots of rubbed-out manes. Unfortunately, once a hair follicle has died, it will be unable to grow back hair as in the case of some scarring or rubs. The good news is that if a hair follicle is still intact, even if it is fine or fragile, the hair can grow back with proper care!

how to grow your horses mane and tail

Here are our tips for helping weak, brittle, or thin hair grow:

1. Use only natural products

Picking the right products is important when it comes to hair growth! Natural products are best, as they won’t dry out your horse’s hair and skin like many pet shampoos with unwanted additives. Dry, itchy skin will make your horse uncomfortable and lead to scratching up against trees or fences – one of the worst things for manes and tails! Our Hairy Pony Natural Horse Shampoo contains Macadamia Oil, with added Tea Tree, Lavender, and Cucumber extracts to gently cleanse, but also rejuvenates dry, dull hair without causing irritation to the skin or stripping away natural oils. Shampoos with dyes, synthetic chemicals or fragrances, and sulphates or parabens are likely to cause drying, irritation, fading of colour, and even hair loss.

How to grow horses mane and tail

2. Mane and tail conditioning

We highly recommend conditioning your horse’s mane and tail after shampooing to keep them soft and hydrated. Dry, unconditioned hair is more likely to become brittle and break. We have two conditioning options in our range that can be used together or on their own – Our Hairy Pony Hair Repair and Hairy Pony Silky Serum. Our Hair Repair is an intense deep hydrating conditioning treatment, formulated for dehydrated, under-nourished, and damaged hair. It contains Argan Oil, Macadamia, Elderflower, and Jojoba to deeply moisturise and nourish manes and tails naturally. Hair Repair can be left on for five minutes before rinsing for a light treatment, or up to 20 minutes for an intensive treatment. Hair Repair gives a serious moisture boost – It is absorbed into the hair follicle and swells the hair – making it fuller and softer! Once the treatment is completed, the excess is rinsed off, as the follicle has absorbed to maximum capacity. Our Hairy Pony Silky Serum is a silicone-free, ultra-luxurious leave-in conditioner that penetrates the hair’s cuticle to boost moisture, heal damage, and improve growth. Our Silky Serum also creates a natural coating to the hairs that gives a shiny appearance and gives additional protection from breakage. Simply apply a small amount with your hands, brush through, and leave in – sealing in all your good work cleaning and moisturising the hair with our Hair Repair!

3. Good nutrition

Just like with any living creature, a healthy diet is fundamental to promoting hair growth in horses. You can help your horse grow a shinier, healthier coat by ensuring they receive a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients including protein, vitamins, and minerals.

4. Regular grooming 

 Staying on top of your horse’s mane and tail grooming ensures they don’t end up with large knots or get too long. Tails that are left too long have a tendency to become brittle and uneven at the ends, resulting in more damage further up the tail. I’m sure we’ve all been told by our hairdresser at some stage that a trim would be good for our hair! Very long tails can be accidentally stood on or get caught in branches and bushes, so it’s a good idea to give them regular trims. Brushing out knots and tangles can be done without damaging the hair by using a detangling product like our 2 in 1 Detangle and Shine Spray, and brushing shorter sections from the bottom of the hair and working your way up. Our specially designed Mane and Tail Brush has smooth metal bristles to minimise hair breakage when brushing out stubborn knots.

5. Using a tail bag

When used correctly, tail bags can be a great tool for protecting tails! Tail bags will protect your horse’s tail from the elements, so the hair doesn’t become dry or brittle, is less likely to become tangled, and is protected from the sun and UV damage. We recommend ensuring your horse’s tail bag can safely and easily detach to ensure they don’t get snagged on anything in their paddock.

6. Appropriate rugging 

 Whilst rugs can help protect your horse’s mane from UV damage, too many rugs or too much warmth on the neck and mane can damage hair follicles over time, cause friction, or result in a hot itchy horse. We would recommend rugging your horse’s body more than their neck where possible, as well as removing any heavy neck rugs where possible.

7. Patience!

Growing a healthy, thicker mane and tail takes time. Be patient and consistent in your care routine while avoiding the use of harsh grooming products that can do more harm than good. Your consistency will pay off!

Here are tips from our Hairy Pony Groom Ambassadors for maintaining healthy manes and tails:

When brushing the tail always do it in small sections and always make sure to use a detangler. The Hairy Pony 2 in 1Detangle and Shine Spray is truly a favourite of mine. For healthy manes, I stay away from heavy neck rugs and only have cotton or polar fleece necks on my horses, which helps the mane from not suffocating and sweating under heavy hot synthetic neck rugs, which cause the most damage.” Iliana Robin – Professional Equine Groom.

“Plaiting professionally, I come across many different types of manes and problems that come with them.  The number one problem I find is that by the end of winter, your horse has a section of mane missing. This is due to the pressure of the combo rug as well as a build-up of dirt on the rug.

My best tip for the maintenance of manes is to ditch the combo rug and invest in a polar fleece neck rug or two. Regularly wash not only your neck rugs but also keep your horse's mane clean with Hairy Pony Natural Shampoo and conditioned with the Hairy Pony Hair Repair to lock in moisture and stop the mane from drying out and becoming brittle.” Airlie Princi – The Horse Detailer.

Need your horse’s mane to look thicker for a show or event while you’re waiting for it to grow back? You can temporarily enhance a thin mane or forelock with our Hairy Pony Fake It extensions. Simply plait the pre-tied hair into a braid with your horse’s natural hair and roll it into a rosette! Hairy Pony Fake It comes in a large range of ready-to-go colours that blend in so well that no one will ever know you've faked it! Once you've finished your competition simply undo the plaits, remove your Hairy Pony Fake It, and store ready for next time.

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