For many Western show events, such as halter, showmanship, Western pleasure and trail, a banded mane--one styled and held in place with a series of small rubber bands at the top edge of the neck--is standard. Follow these tips for getting a finished trim once the bands are inserted.
(And, if you need to do a total mane makeover before you start, read "Spa Day! Part 1: Mane Makeover" in the April 2008 issue of Horse & Rider magazine.)
1. Start with a blunt cut on your horse's mane to a manageable four-inch length (about one hand width).
2. Once your horse's mane is banded, curls and cowlicks will lie flat, making the mane appear longer than one hand width. And, some sections may be longer than others. That's why a final trim is in order.
3. Typically, pro-level grooms use thinning shears to even ends and achieve a natural-look finish. Find a pair in horse-goods catalogs, at a hairdresser-supply store, or in the hair-care section of a well-stocked drugstore.
4. If you don't own thinning shears, get a similar result by using a pair of straight scissors positioned up into the mane about one-quarter to a half-inch deep; then snip up and down the length of the mane.
5. End result: an attractive, show-quality banded mane.