ASK HORSE JOURNAL Mane And Tail Chewing

Do you have a safe, good solution to the problem of horses chewing on each other’s mane’ I have two mares who are always together, and each winter they chew each other’s mane off. They’re turned out and have plenty of free-choice hay. This is only winter behavior, but it takes part of a year to grow back.

Veterinary Editor Eleanor Kellon VMD responds: J. M. Saddler’s RapLast (, 800-627-2807) is one of the most effective deterrents we’ve ever used. It’s an aerosol spray similar to red-pepper sprays but much more potent. In fact, you need to apply this in a well-ventilated area and avoid inhaling the spray. Have someone at the horse’s head to control it, and make sure you do not get the spray into eyes (yours or theirs!). A little goes a long way. One light spritz every few inches along the mane will do it. Apply only to the upper layers of mane to avoid possible skin irritation. Follow instructions.

Whip Length

Horse Journal is the only magazine to which I subscribe. I own a tack shop so it’s important to me that we have access to unbiased opinions on what is ”the best” in each category. I would like a clarification on dressage-whip lengths. Does a whip need to be the ”exact” length stipulated for both dressage and eventing’ Would a ”shorter” whip also be ”legal”’

Associate Editor Margaret Freeman replies: A shorter whip is legal per USEF rules. The dressage rule is: ”One whip no longer than 47.2” (120 cm), including lash.” (DR120.5). The eventing dressage rule is: ”One whip no longer than 110 cm (43.3”) including lash.” The eventing cross-country/jumping rule is: ”must not . . . exceed 75 cm (30”).” (EV114.3)

Requiring a specific length would be impossible since horses of different sizes/sensitivities require different whips. It’s important before a show to always double check a whip close to the legal length that has a feathered lash to make sure it hasn’t ”grown.” An even better idea is to trim such a lash a little short just to be safe.