I used to be a purist - pulling a mane was the only way to shorten and tidy a mane. Phantom changed my opinion on this. I tried doing just 5 pulls a day. By the second day as soon as I touched her mane she was dancing all over. I tried clicker training. It would get me a few extra pulls, but not much. I tried the method where you don't actually pull, but just kind of hang your hand down with weight in it until the hairs release - this did work better, but it would take forever to get a mane done.
So then I tried the Solo Comb. Phantom didn't mind the use of it, as it doesn't pull the hair, it just cuts it. You are supposed to backcomb the mane, then press the handle and the razor would cut the remaining hair. What I didn't like about it was that it didn't work well on thinning a mane. Phantom's mane is very thick in the middle (with a whorl under it!) and thin at the top and bottom. So I could get it to an even length, but not an even thickness.
|Not my favourite|
A friend had a Smart Manes Mane Thinning Rake, so I tried that one day. And decided that I needed one. It doesn't really pull the mane out (but might in some places), but does a fantastic job of thinning thick areas. It won't leave the mane all the same length - the bottom of the mane is left very thin. I just take a pair of scissors and make little upward nips to level it all out. All with no fuss from Phantom.
Since I needed one of these, I took to the interweb to find one. And discovered that they were something like $80. Plus shipping. Um, no.
I was able to keep borrowing my friend's rake for the next year or two. I had found them on the website of a tack shop in my province, but still couldn't convince myself that I needed it that badly. But a couple of years ago, I went to Mane Event, and this tack shop was closing and clearing out their product. And I rushed to their booth on the first morning of the show, and they had one rake left. For 40% off. (Maybe 50% - it's been a couple of years.) Admittedly $50 is still not a small amount of money to spend on a mane comb. But because of the lack of hassle it causes me, I am happy to spend that much. I also picked up another blade for it on sale, so this rake should last me forever.
Here's a Youtube that shows it in action.