How to pull/tame a HUGE, FLUFFY (!) Shetland mane to braid for show this weekend?
My daughter is going to borrow a neighbor's pony to show at Upperville this weekend and I need to figure out what to do with his mane. It is SO thick and fluffy right now. I tried pulling it last week and it was so fluffy, the hairs were just breaking off. I need to seriously thin this monster in order to braid it. Any suggestions?
Thanks so much in advance!!
Shetlands are native ponies which means their manes should be left long IMO. I know this is practically against hunter religion, but that is what I'd do :-D. Obviously you should shampoo and condition it, then brush it out.
"Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
"With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
maybe just pull it and leave it alone. If its not a big show...I think there's nothing cuter then a little fluffy pony and a kid.
And for pulling...use the cheap plastic combs from the dollar store. They dont' break the hair off like the pulling combs, I have to use those on a few TB's. Either that or use the comb to push the hair up and then yank out small sections with your fingers, I have a few paranoid ponies I have to do that too.
Before attempting to pull an out-of-control, heavy-duty-job type of mane, save your fingers: wear gloves. I find those doctor-type gloves work well (and lots of barns have them kicking around with medical/first-aid supplies) or a thin pair of riding gloves. I just did the post-winter pull on the mare I ride, it was a 2 session job, and she has nowhere near the mane of a Shetland!
First, remember that just becaise it's fluffy doesn't mean it's thick. Pull as best you can and then be ready to put in a ton of braids. I find that the manes that are fluffy and on the thick side, but with fine hairs make the nicest braid jobs.
This is Upperville. The pony needs to be braided, and in hunter style- leadline notwithstanding.
I just did one of those last week. I advise not doing what I did, which was grabbing the wrong bottle out of my box and spritzing the mane with tail detangler thinking it was hairspray.
I'm assuming that the mane is short enough, but it's a lion mane with enough thick hair for three ponies, not counting the forelock, which on its own is mane enough for two more. Dippity-Doo and a million and a half braids will be your friend. If you cannot pull it properly, I wouldn't pull it- I'd either pay somebody better than me to do it so that it comes out from the root, or I'd leave it alone and do it as is, because if you break enough of the mane off in the middle, you're going to have a different kind of nightmare when you go to braid it.
"I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
- Harry Dresden
With fluffy/easily broken manes, I've found it's easier to pull up rather than down. If it's thick and long, don't bother with back combing until it's closer to under control. Just grab smaller chunks of hair, wrap around the comb, and pull up. If you can, try to do over a few days, or you'll make the pony sore.
If you get really desperate on time, it's a one time thing, and the owners don't mind, split the mane down the middle, use clippers to shave out the middle section, and then brush both halves of the mane back to the correct side. I've seen this done on one super hairy pony. It grew out UGLY, but worked for the one show
If you cannot pull it, do a running braid. I actually had to use two parallel running braids to do our pony.
If the pony is not in regular use as a fancy show pony, such that the thinned mane will be used for a season and maintained, IMHO it is not a kindness to pull it for the sake of a single leadline ribbon.
Horse shows are about the horses.
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket
1) The odds of your child winning even a minor ribbon at Upperville is very, very small. This is not to say your child isn't adorable, that you won't wear the right outfit, or that the pony isn't adorable. It's just a fact that Upperville Lead Line, like Devon, is CUT THROAT. If your last name doesn't rhyme with Harker and the pony didn't last sell for $150K you can pretty much just go for the fun.
2) Knowing that, I wouldn't worry about the Shetland's mane at all. I'd make sure he was clipped/trimmed within an inch of his life and then I'd make his mane as much of a fluffy explosion as possible. Same with his tail. Why? Because everybody else will have spent a fortune braiding and your pony will stand out and may just shame the judges into remembering what lead line is all about.
3) That being said, I'd make sure your child's clothing fits impeccably. I'd make sure your outfit was subtle but drop dead gorgeous. And depending on the judge a low cut decolletage.
~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
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