Everyone has different preferences for grooming and presentation.
I leave Tristan’s mane long and on the “wrong” side; I’m too lazy and I don’t give enough fucks to either pull it or train it over. It’s been ten years. It’s not going anywhere. Plus, I do have some backing on this: mustangs are typically left with long manes. His is full and grows long enough not to look awful. (Though, opinions differ: I had a trainer who sighed heavily and looked pointedly at Tristan’s mane on a regular basis.)
Sometimes, though: sometimes there are grooming decisions that are less personal choice and more atrocity.
Some years ago, I was helping barnmates get ready the night before an event. We were at the event stabling when a friend from another barn came over and asked for help braiding her horse’s mane. She was of the “own a horse but not do tooooooo much of the hard work myself” type. She had the money to pay for top notch care and didn’t feel like braiding, so a barnmate who was a former H/J rider and had braided for A circuits agreed to help.
We got over and discovered that instead of pulling her horse’s thick, drafty mane, she had half-roached it. And by half-roached, I mean zipped right down the center line of the horse’s crest. We stood in horrified amazement for several very long second while the woman chattered about what a great idea she’d had!
But I have a new worst story, told to me at my current barn a few weeks ago.
The person who told it was a working student at a very, VERY high end dressage barn many years ago. It was his second or third week, and there was a new groom. Said groom was an extremely experienced horseman, and had come to the dressage world from a polo barn. The head trainer pointed out one of their FEI horses and said that there was a buyer coming that afternoon; could the groom get him turned out to the nines for the sale?
Cue four hours later, the horse was turned out immaculately and brought out of the barn for the buyer…with a roached mane.
Any other good stories out there?