I don't know how quickly your horse's mane grows, but I would not suggest roaching it now unless you want to roach it all season. My guy's mane was roached at the end of August, and is only just now long enough to braid. However, it could be Apollo's mane just grows slowly.
Maybe I'll hold of until September and then it would have 9 months to grow out. Only thing is I'll feel a little bad taking it off in September cause her neck might be cold in winter, but then the non-mane side is always exposed to the elements. What I will miss is having mane to grab when I am getting on without a mounting block. Maybe I should leave a section for that- wouldn't that look totally stupid- but it would be handy!
I too, remember the reason for Flintridge roaching manes was to make a statement about cost of braiding. If I remember correctly, Ann Kursinski was fourth in the Maclay Finals on a chestnut horse with a roached mane. Mr. Williams tried many things to distinguish Flintridge riders from other stables, besides excellent riding.
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I have done the reverse. Twice. Harry The Horse decided to move as I was trimming his bridlepath and we ended up with half a forelock, but with a rakish diagonal flare to it. Since he has never liked his forelock braided anyways I buzzed the whole thing off. When he was braided you didn't even notice, and I got a number of interesting comments how he looked like a polo pony or a police horse. It was grown in enough to braid by the following spring, so for the poster asking about roaching now I'd wait. His took from the beginning of September to the end of the following April to be okay enough to do something with.
My horses mane lies to one side (right). If I roach her mane and it grows out is it likely to fall to the same side or would I have to do something to make it lie on the right? Also how silly do roached manes look as they grow out, before they flop over to the side? I am going to hold off until September and then do the "the big clip."
The best way to help a growing out mane look better is to pull it. Not for length, but for thickness. It will lay over sooner if you do, plus it makes pulling it short but not getting it too thin later easier. Generally when it's 2" or so you can start to thin it fairly easily.
But he later shared that it had a double benefit because his riders lost their "grab handle"-this from a man who routinely took the leathers off new clients saddles...as in removed them right out of the tack room and locked them up. For weeks.
Another fringe benefit is if you are the type to float your hand on the top of the neck when doing a crest release, rubbing your knuckles in short, spiky, five-o'clock-shadow of a roached mane will cure you forever. I speak as one who knows--I used to work for a barn that hunted its polo ponies on the off season and rubbed my knuckles raw until I reformed my position.
And building on the raw knuckles that Sing Mia Song mentioned, there's always the carpet burn to the face as well, if you're fortunate enough to ride a stopper that's been roached and slide down the neck...
OK, this is probably the world's dumbest question, but how do you roach a mane? Do you just buzz the whole thing off with clippers??
That's what I did for my horse, but the lesson horses I did something similar to the "Pohawk" shown above. I used a comb to measure length and then sculpted the sides very carefully. Looked nice once I got the hang of it (yay for schoolies who fall asleep in crossties!).
I use a pair of big scissors to cut the mane off, then come in with my clippers and tidy up. That seems to work better for really thick manes.
Agree with this, and wish I had done it with my Fjord's mane. Way too much work for the clippers. The other horse has a mane on the thick side of normal and clippers were fine for him, even after being dulled by the Fjord's mane.
FWIW - She is lovely and has a nice managable mane, so I wouldn't roach it. I can understand roaching if your horse has a thick, unmanagable mane - like my horse *groan* - but it still isn't the norm (at least in the Hunter ring). Plus, you may run into some resistance, particularly if the judge is conservative.
Personally, after talking to my trainer and some other people, I've decided not to roach my horses mane. Instead, I'm going to persevere and pull his mane to an appropriate length and thickness.
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Lesmiz, I have to totally agree with the above post. Your mare has a lovely mane, so unless she's a complete jerk about maintaining it, leave it there. I roach awful manes, or horses who can't stand having it pulled. If the horse is good to pull and has a nice mane, it stays.