A pulled or trimmed mane, nice and short, under 6 inches, looks really sharp. It can show off a well-muscled neck, or make an under-muscled neck look a little more filled out.
I don’t mind if the mane sticks up a little bit, or falls forward a bit, as long all the hairs do the same thing. Some manes are tougher than others, and I have dealt with thick pony manes and one that was like stretchy barbed wire. It was just a bear to pull!
But the result was amazing and people do notice when the mane is just right.
A super thin mane will disappear with pulling and some horses hate mane pulling so much they get violent and it becomes unsafe. Sedation works, but is not always available.
A few years ago, a found a good shortening method in a video done at Olympic Show Jumper Anne Kursinki’s barn. It involves simply teasing a small section of hair like you normally would to pull, but then you cut the few long hairs left between your fingers, to the length you want, or shorter. If you cut at an angle, and only a few hairs at a time, you can’t tell it’s cut! The horse quickly learns that you are not pulling, so they don’t get tense during the teasing part, anticipating the pulling.
So if you are new to mane pulling, don’t worry about getting it too short, it’s just hair! It will grow. The perfect mane compliments clean tack, a well turned-out rider, and is an important part of respectable turnout in most disciplines.