How to maintain the perfect horse mane and tail

Horses are gorgeous animals, but there is no denying that thick, shiny manes and tails enhance their appeal manifold. They also help the equines keep pests and insects away. While some breeds like the Andalusian, Friesian, and Lusitano are genetically blessed with striking and voluminous hair, others might have wispy, brittle, or dry locks. Manes and tails in some horses might also be prone to sun damage and split ends. However, irrespective of the breed, knowing how to maintain a horse's tail and mane is important. A combination of the right tools, hair care products, and techniques can do the trick.

How to Maintain Horse Mane and Tail to Promote Healthy Growth

Focus on the Diet

a group of horses standing next to each other

Your equine friend needs to be healthy from the inside to grow luxuriant hair on the outside. So, mind the following:

  • When enriched with essential vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and amino acids, their daily diet might support mane and tail health.
  • Flax seeds and linseed oil, when added to grains, oats, corn, barley, or bran, might promote hair growth.
  • Horse coat supplements containing biotin, selenium, lysine, copper, and zinc might help in maintaining shiny, silky manes, tails, and healthy coats.

Be Wary of Parasites and Skin Infections

Take your four-footed pal for regular deworming sessions to maintain horse mane, tail, and coat. Watch out for bacterial or fungal skin infections caused by warm and humid conditions.

  • Check the stable regularly to ensure no lice or parasitic worms are growing around your horse, along the stall walls, or in the feeders.
  • If your equine pal has worms, they might seem itchy and keep scratching their tail against a wall or pole. Or their coat might seem dull and lackluster.
  • Clean your horse’s sheath, udders, underbelly, and the space between legs regularly to keep itchiness at bay.
  • Consult a vet in case of skin infections to manage your equine's irritation or discomfort.

Wash and Condition Carefully

You don’t need to wash your equine’s tail and mane frequently, as it might cause dryness and breakage. However, they need careful cleaning and conditioning when they get muddy or dirty. Here are some things you should take care of while washing and conditioning your horse’s mane:

  • First, wet the tail and mane thoroughly, and then start applying a moisturizing shampoo.
  • Focus on the roots of the hair and take your time while scrubbing and massaging. This will eliminate oil deposits and dirt from the base of the mane and tail and promote blood circulation. Scrub the mane’s underside by flipping it over, as this part gets most dirty.
  • When it comes to the tail, scrub and massage the dock well to remove dead skin cells, dirt, oil buildup, and dander.
  • Rinse meticulously and right down to the roots so no shampoo is left behind. Otherwise, after drying, it can irritate the horse’s skin. Make sure all the suds are gone.
  • Once the mane and tail are dry, apply a leave-in conditioner uniformly to replenish the natural oils washed away during cleaning.

Use Natural Products

If you are wondering how to maintain a horse tail and mane without stripping it of natural oils, choose shampoos and conditioners with minimal or zero sulfates. You might want to opt for products that contain hydrating elements.

Consider the climate where you live since not all products are meant for all climatic conditions. While you might need something moisturizing in dry climates, you might need products that remove excess oils easily in humid conditions.

Follow Safe Grooming Practices

To maintain horse tail and mane, you need to groom these regularly. Here are some tips for the best results:

  • Avoid combing wet hair as it can snag and break easily.
  • Use your fingers to groom tails between washes, as they are gentler than a brush or comb.
  • Apply a detangling solution before combing your equine’s tail and mane, and move from the hair’s base to the top.
  • Focus on small sections of the hair while combing. Hold the tail against your thigh while combing it to minimize hair breakage.
  • Make sure you use combs with wide teeth.
  • If your horse's tail is thin and wispy, cut it short after the show season so that it is fuller by the time the next season starts.

Braid to Minimize Breakage

a brown horse with braids on it's head

After cleaning and conditioning, you can try braiding to maintain horse mane and tail and protect them against matting, dirt, sun damage, and breakage. Braiding is also useful for four-footed beauties that lack thick hair.

  • Start the braid loose at the base of the mane by initially taking small, two-inch sections. Then, tighten the weave as you move away from the roots.
  • When it comes to the tail, start braiding loosely at the dock and tighten as you move downwards.
  • Instead of rubber bands, use electrical tapes for braiding as they don’t stick to the hair much.
  • Use braid bags to protect the tail against environmental factors once braiding is done.


You now have a fair idea about how to maintain horse mane and tail and can keep your majestic friend’s coat and hair healthy, lustrous, and beautiful. So, ensure your horses have a nutritious diet, are free from infections and worms, and are correctly groomed with the right products. The stable should not have protrusions, hooks, or sharp edges where the horse’s tail or mane might get caught. Most importantly, be patient, as no two equines are the same. Take your time to see the results you want.

We at Med Vet Pharmaceuticals know that a horse's beauty and grace depend not only on their mane and tail but also on their overall health. So, contact us today to find out how you can ensure your equine’s wellness inside out and promote good skin as well as hair growth and quality.