How to do Western Mane Banding

In this edition of our Learning Hub, we dive into the art of preparing and banding a horse's mane for Western Pleasure. Today, we follow the step-by-step guide to achieving that picture-perfect, show-ready mane from our resident expert – Koriana Osborne from Mitana Quarter Horse Stud in New Zealand. 

Western Mane Banding

Prep the mane

1. Trim: Start by trimming the mane to about 5 inches in length. This initial cut doesn't need to be perfect, as you'll be trimming it further to 2-3 inches after banding.

western mane banding preparation

2. Wash: A clean mane is essential for a neat finish. We recommend the Hairy Pony Double Strength Purple Shampoo, followed by the Hairy Pony Purple Hair Repair Treatment for an extra silky texture. Ensure the mane is completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

3. Brush: When the mane is clean and dry, it's time to brush it out. Tangles can hinder the banding process, so use the Hairy Pony 2 in 1 Detangle and Shine Spray along with the Mane and Tail Brush.

4. Wax: To tame any stray hairs, apply the Hairy Pony Taming Wax along the top of the mane. This step is crucial for keeping those wispy hairs in place, setting the stage for perfect banding.

Mane Banding

1. Gather Materials: Prepare your banding tools: a stool, a comb for sectioning, hair clips, and of course, your bands.

2. Sectioning: Starting at the top of the mane, use your comb to section off an inch-wide piece of hair. Ensure your sections are perfectly perpendicular to the ground for uniformity. This will achieve straight, flat bands.

Pro tip: As you move to the next section, make sure it matches the size of the previous one. Consistency is key for a professional look.

3. Banding Technique: To avoid bands sticking out, twist them from the bottom up, keeping your hands close to the horse’s neck. The goal is to have straight, evenly-spaced bands rather than extremely tight ones.

4. Final Trim: Once you’ve finished banding, trim the mane again to ensure it’s even. Pay attention to the underside as well.


For the forelock, start at the top of the poll. Create a square section and band it, following the same technique as with the mane. Continue down, banding at equal intervals. At the end of the hairline, make one last section and band it, pulling the back pieces of hair down to keep the forelock neatly in place.

There you have it, a complete guide to mane preparation and banding. With patience and practice, you can achieve a stunning, show-ready mane that will give you the edge in the show ring. Remember, the right products and techniques can make all the difference.

You can follow Koriana Osborne from Mitana Quarter Horse Stud here: @mitanaqhstud

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