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Roaching a Mane...tell me it will be OK.

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  • Roaching a Mane...tell me it will be OK.

    My DHH with a neck like a giraffe has rubbed out half of his mane with his 300 gram neck rug. He is clipped and lives out mostly (except for extreme weather) so he needs to wear it. I feel like a roached mane would look nearer than a half rubbed out scraggly mess. I’ve never roached a mane, how long does it usually take to grow out? I love the mohawk look, and feel it suits me guy’s personality.
    When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

  • #2
    I roached my guy’s mane for the first time this year. It’s THE BEST THING EVER. Took about two months for it to really get thick and “mo-Hawkey” because I guess it has to be done all the way (no half measures - bald) - or at least that’s what I heard from the Andalusian breed folks, where it’s expected for mares (I have an Azteca gelding, but he’s girly so that’s my argument 🤣). I’m never, ever going back. Haha. We had an S judge who has since passed who showed her GP gelding with a roached mane, so it’s fine.

    I absolutely LOVE IT.

    ETA: it will be okay. 😁. The lower half of my guy’s mane is thin on one side and gross. Can’t tell with the ‘hawk. I guess you can shape it too but I haven’t tried that part yet. Probably in the next week or so...if my shaping doesn’t work, I’ll simply roach it again and start over!

    Comment


    • #3
      If he's not showing, I wouldn't care about looks. If the mane is any weather protection during winter, he can have a scraggly mane for the time being, would be my thought.

      But otherwise, don't worry about roaching. It will grow back a lot faster than you'd probably prefer! Do it now and if you don't continue to trim it, your horse is likely to have a mane again by spring. Enough to braid.

      There are products that can help an itchy mane-area. With or without the roach I'd suggest addressing that for his comfort and yours. While the product can offer some immediate relief, it takes time for the skin to become more healthy, so I'd spend the winter doing that. I've been using Equiderma and am very pleased with the results. My horse is also very relieved as the Equiderma is really helping with the itch that was making us both crazy.

      Good luck! Photos after you roach!

      Comment


      • #4
        It's fine. I love it so much & competed that way as well. I hate stupid braids. I keep my retired guy roached still, I don't like hair everywhere. Even if you hate it it grows back, so have no fear.
        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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        • #5
          I've roached several dressage horses, and competed with them through FEI levels (nationally). Show prep is a snap, and they always look clean and lovely. Most people assume that they are braided on the other side, it takes some folks months to figure it out!

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          • #6
            I rode and showed my previous mare with a roached mane. I started roaching it because I needed to see what both sides of her neck were doing during schooling. I never looked back. I showed her through fourth level with many accolades, and it was a breeze to maintain.
            Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              I knew I could depend on COTH to talk me off the ledge! I don’t actually think he’s itchy, I think it’s just his conformation that does it. I tried a mane saver slinky and even with that it got tangled/rubbed. But I do plan to be more vigilant with keeping his neck cover clean and him as clean as possible in cold weather with no hot water!
              When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

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              • #8
                I've also shown with a roached mane (through FEI) on more than one of my horses including an Arabian who I showed in both open USDF/USEF shows as well as the breed shows (just dressage classes) without issue. I loved the time savings and stress reducer it provided on show days! Fortunately all of mine looked great with the roached mane and because I braided the forelocks most people didn't even notice that the manes were roached.
                Ranch of Last Resort

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                • #9
                  I think sometimes people think that roaching a mane is like giving their Barbie doll a shaved head by cutting off all her hair. It's not coming back!

                  You can roach the mane and it is coming back - and it doesn't take that long. Manes grow quickly. Think of how often you have to pull/trim the mane to keep it at the desired length and thickness.

                  So don't worry, you, your horse and your horse's mane will all survive roaching! If you want the mane back, it will be back -- all too quickly.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To answer the how long question. About 90 days to reach the full Mohawk phase, from there anything from one to three more months to lay over on its own. So 6 months, could be longer with thick manes, rarely much less.

                    Once you do get to full Mowhawk, it shouldn’t be too long until it starts to lay over on its own but try to resist the urge to “ help it “. Things like banding or braiding or clipping down one side to thin it just slow the process and cause breakage, possibly rubbing sending you back 3 months to where you started.

                    Once it does start noticeably laying over on its own, you can work with braiding or banding but skip clipping half of it all the way from poll to wither to thin it. Some will swear by doing that, trouble is you need to keep that clipped to the skin slo it’s not perpetually half mane and half baby Mohawk peeking through, it looks stupid. Ask me how I learned that...

                    Back when, used to buy some cheap ranch horses to flip with a few friends, roached about half of them rather then unsnarl the long neglected mess with crap packed in around the roots.. most were pretty presentable around 6 months.
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                    • #11
                      I roached my gelding about a year and a half ago with the intention of making his mane easier to manage and I haven't let it grow back since. ​I love it because it looks incredibly neat and I don't ever have to braid.

                      I think I would have to shave it every month or so to keep it that nice. He starts looking like a zebra after a little over three months. It starts flopping a little after four months. I'm trying to decide if I want to keep roaching or switch it up and let it grow again.

                      You'd be surprised how little people will notice. We've been at a new barn for four months now and yesterday the barn manager said "Wow, did you roach his mane?".

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've roached probably hundreds of manes (working at a polo barn was a great education for a few things lol) and you can make it look good on nearly any shape of neck with a little practice. Polo ponies were done as short as possible, but for the lesson ponies I did at one barn I used a comb so they weren't super short and I could shape them a bit. That might not work with less tolerant ponies, but hey, you always have the option of completely shaving it!

                        The last time I did my personal horse he grew enough mane to pull in about 4 months. But the day after was the first time I took him over a 3'3 fence and I distinctly remember thinking "s*** I HAVE NO MANE TO GRAB!" about a stride out. I maybe don't recommend that lol.
                        I love my Econo-Nag!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dbliron View Post
                          I've roached several dressage horses, and competed with them through FEI levels (nationally). Show prep is a snap, and they always look clean and lovely. Most people assume that they are braided on the other side, it takes some folks months to figure it out!
                          This exactly!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            billiebob Always leave myself an OhSh*t lock of mane right at the withers

                            OP:
                            I roach my TWH who has a lovely, thick mane...
                            That falls about 90% to the "wrong" side & that he self-thins the middle out grazing thru my fenceline
                            He looks 100% better roached than wearing his Equine Combover.
                            I roach every Spring, right now he has nearly 6" of mohawk tipping over to the left.... and a thin section in the middle from (see above)
                            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It will be fabulous, roached manes are the best.

                              ETA - Because of this thread I'm going to go roach my girl. Haven't done it in a few years - showing rated for the first time this year and screw trying to do better braids!
                              Last edited by mmeqcenter; Jan. 8, 2020, 04:15 PM.
                              Custom tack racks!
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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                The only thing I wonder about is how it will be with the neck rug once it starts growing back. Anyone roach and use a neck rug?
                                When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by billiebob View Post
                                  I've roached probably hundreds of manes (working at a polo barn was a great education for a few things lol) and you can make it look good on nearly any shape of neck with a little practice. Polo ponies were done as short as possible, but for the lesson ponies I did at one barn I used a comb so they weren't super short and I could shape them a bit. That might not work with less tolerant ponies, but hey, you always have the option of completely shaving it!

                                  The last time I did my personal horse he grew enough mane to pull in about 4 months. But the day after was the first time I took him over a 3'3 fence and I distinctly remember thinking "s*** I HAVE NO MANE TO GRAB!" about a stride out. I maybe don't recommend that lol.
                                  What do you recommend for maintenance when it’s the perfect Mohawk length? Do I have to just roach it all the way again so it doesn’t flop over or is there some trick to keeping it that perfect length? TIA!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I keep my easy keeper mules roached all the time because they don't get a very useful mane anyway, nor do they spend much time on pasture. I do have a couple of horses who do have free access to pasture though, and if I roach a mane because they've rubbed too much of it out, I do it in the fall so they have at least some mane back by fly season (July). If it wasn't for the flies I'd keep their manes roached, or at least short all the time because I like the way it looks, and I like being able to look down and see the top and both sides of their necks.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
                                      The only thing I wonder about is how it will be with the neck rug once it starts growing back. Anyone roach and use a neck rug?
                                      Yes. Though I usually ignore it between mid November and late February and let it grow. The neck rug squashes the mohawk down but I don't find that it rubs my horse's mane. It just makes it harder to cut to mohawk length in the spring (as opposed to clipping it completely off). But I start tidying up the winter scruffies late February and clip it a touch longer than I want it so I have more to play with later in March when the neck rug is off more often.


                                      mbdsea - my method of trimming to a length involves a stool, a big plastic mane comb (one of the ones that are about 8" long) and my clippers. The stool is necessary to get up above his neck so I'm looking down - it never works well if I stand on the ground. I use the comb to pull the mane over so it's sticking out at 90 degrees (to the side, but not down). I pull the comb away from the crest as far as I want the mohawk to be long and clip the hairs sticking out past the comb. I can angle the comb at poll and withers to make the mohawk curve down closer to the crest. I do one side completely, then repeat the process on the other side. The last step is to freehand run the clippers along the top of the mane (sticking straight up, not combed over). This takes a bit of practice and nerve. But if you really feel you've messed it up you can still clip right down to the crest.

                                      Another option is to buy a length guide comb that attaches over the clipper blades. I have an 1/8" guide that I use if I fully clip his mane but I really feel it's a bit short. I was going to get a longer one before I developed my trim to length method.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I love the no braid aspect of a roached mane. Currently 2 roached FEI horses and one roached 3rd level horse in my barn. So fast and easy at shows.

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