A horse’s long, flowing mane is the stuff dreams are made of. There was a time, not so long ago, when a long mane would never have been found in the all-around pen – particularly not in a pattern class like Horsemanship or Trail. As short, banded manes gained in popularity for their ability to show off a horse’s neck and reflect a precise, polished look, they became a standard in most all-around classes.
However, there has been a movement towards the inclusion and acceptance of a long and elegant, but polished, mane in pattern classes. Exhibitors like Brandy Brown of Toledo, Ohio; Daniel Carlson of Sheffield, Massachusetts; and Jojo Roberson of Byars, Oklahoma are just a few who have embraced this trend.
Their ability to shine and experience success with horses sporting beautiful, uncut manes in classes like Showmanship and Horsemanship has begun to debunk the widespread rumors that long manes are a no-no.
Amateur exhibitor, Brandy Brown shows her true all-around horse, a 2008 APHA bay tobiano gelding named Struttin My Assets, aka Charlie, in everything from Showmanship and English to Western Riding, Trail, Reining, Ranch Riding and speed events. “I’ve owned him from birth, and I’ve successfully shown him in all-around APHA and PtHA events since 2011 with a long, white mane that now reaches his knees,” she explains. “He’s a multiple PtHA World and Reserve World Champion as well as an APHA Champion, APHA Versatility winner, and multiple APHA Honor Roll Champion.”
AQHA mare Are You Charlie, aka Emily, has made a huge splash over the years with AQHA Amateur Daniel Carlson, eventually becoming one of the top-five point-earning horses in AQHA competition. They boast an AQHA Performance Champion title, an Amateur AQHA Champion title, plus year-end and reserve year-end titles. Twice they were year-end winners in Amateur Horsemanship. They also cinched two amateur World titles, including a Showmanship win, and they achieved all of it with Emily sporting a gorgeous, long mane.
Currently, Carlson shows Made by Charlie, aka Emma, in all-around events. She’s the daughter of Are You Charlie. He continued the signature look with Emma. “It seemed like a natural progression when I started to show Emma that she have a long mane like her mother,” Carlson explains.
Youth exhibitor JoJo Roberson and her AQHA gelding Greedy Ghost made news in the industry when she made the finals for both 14-18 Showmanship and Ranch Riding at the 2018 Youth World Show. They bested a field of 161 to win the Level 2 Showmanship Championship showing off their teamwork and Greedy’s two-tiered banding and long mane. This came after a 2017 AQHA Year-End High Point for 14-18 Ranch Riding, followed by a 3rd place finish in 14-18 Showmanship at the AQHA Youth World, and two 2019 Congress Championship titles in Youth 15-18 Showmanship and 15-18 Horsemanship.