Often when we ask about what we can learn from some piece of a horse’s conformation the answers we get are completely opposite.
Sometimes this is because the lore is just plain contradictory.
But most of the time it is because the descriptions of exactly what we are looking at aren’t clear or the names we associate with each clue are vague. That can lead to confusion as we think we are asking one thing and people give answers that relate to another.
No where is this more common than with a ‘split mane’.
There are two very separate types of split manes and each tells opposite things about the horse. But both get referred to by that one very simple name.
One type of split mane is supposed to show a horse who is very even from side to side. Or at least an excess of hair that can’t all fit on one side. This type is when the mane splits lengthwise down the center of the crest to fall on each side of the neck all the way down.
The other is when the mane lays all on one side of the neck part way down then switches and all lays on the other side of the neck. This type of split shows soreness, mental stress, some sort of bodily issue.
It’s easy to see why we would get opposite answers when asking what it means when a horse has a ‘split mane’.
The difference in answers doesn’t mean the mane doesn’t really tell us anything or that it isn’t true that we can learn things from the mane. It just means we need more clarity in exactly what it is we’re looking at.
A little extra about manes.
-The side the mane lays to is usually the horses softer, or hollow, side.
-The mane will sometimes switch sides of the neck at a whorl or conformational flaw.
-When the mane switches sides near the withers, you can measure the length of the mane on the other side of the neck and measure that distance down the back from where the mane ends to find the sore spot in the back.
-Fear and mental stress seem to be able to cause the mane to split too.