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3 Easy DIY Horse Detangler Recipes

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Let’s face it, the more time you spend getting knots out of your horse’s mane and tail, the less time you are spending riding. They seem to come from nowhere. Whether it is witch’s knots in your horse’s mane or just tangled tail hairs, you want them out and you don’t want to spend a fortune. So what do you do?

Brown horse with long mane in a field

Let’s face it, the horse specific detanglers really do a good job but they are pricey. I still love them and they still have their place. You can check out my favorites if you like. But what if you want to just DIY something, on the cheap, at home. Well, I’m here to help. Here are 3 different homemade horse detangler recipes to get you started.

The links in the recipes open in a new tab to Amazon to that product so you can check current prices and buy whatever you decide on but, each of these ingredients can usually be sourced locally as well.

Conditioner and Water

different bottles of conditioner and moisturizer

Cost: Less than $1.00 per bottle

Unless you are using $25 a bottle conditioner, this recipe should wind up costing you less than $1 per bottle. You can splurge and use $8 conditioner and have enough to last a whole year!

It’s so simple, I know you thought of it already. Truth is, it really does work.

Recipe #1

  • 1 part conditioner (this Argan Oil conditioner  is great)
  • 4 – 5 parts Water (this will depend on what consistency you want)

Mix contents in a spray bottle and shake, shake, shake. You are looking for most of the conditioner to dissolve into the water. The result is usually a white, watery consistency.

This will have a tendency to separate so be sure to shake the bottle each time before you use it. Any larger clumps can clog your spray nozzle.


  • Crazy cheap.
  • Works great as a detangler and you can leave the rest of the bottle in your tack box to condition your horse’s hair after a bath as well.


  • Depending on the conditioner you use, this can be greasy.
  • You have to play with your dilution ratios every time you switch conditioners. 1:4 might work for cheaper conditioners whereas 1:10 might be needed for more expensive conditioners.
  • You should take the time to spot test on one section of mane (or tail). Spray it on, leave it for a few days to a week and make sure it doesn’t cause your horse to itch or any other reaction. Human stuff is made for humans and, while mostly fine, some horses are sensitive.

Essential Oils

different bottles of Essential aroma oil aon white background

If you love essential oils as much as I do you will love this next recipe. It isn’t necessarily cheaper though. The upside is that by making it at home, you know everything that is in it. Best of all, it smells great!

Cost: About $8.00 for 32 oz.

Recipe #2

Add ingredients to spray bottle and then fill the rest with water. Mix the ingredients well. I always shake my bottle before use.

Be sure to test on your horse to make sure they aren’t sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Argan Oil, Witch Hazel and Essential Oils

Witch hazel tree on blurry green background
Wild Witch Hazel

Whether you call it Moroccan oil or Argan oil, the ingredient is the same and it is great for hair. Combine that with your favorite essential oil and some witch hazel and you have the makings of a great detangler.

Cost: About $8.00 per 32 oz bottle

Recipe #3

  • 30 – 40 drops Rosemary  essential oils
  • 4 oz Argan oil 
  • Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel (you can get this on Amazon but, really, buy it at your local store in the same aisle as the Rubbing Alcohol, its much cheaper).

This recipe doesn’t use any water. Instead, you are going to add your oil and essential oils to the spray bottle and then fill the rest with Witch Hazel. Shake well to mix. Once again, I always shake before use as well. Witch hazel is great to keep hair healthy and can even help with itchy manes and tails.

Honorable Mention: Coconut Oil

sliced coconut and coconut oil in glass cup
Coconut Oil

You can buy this stuff by the tub. It is so useful for manes and tails I did a whole article about it (check out the article).

For this one, there really isn’t a recipe, you just use it as is.

Coconut oil is liquid in the summer but the oil may solidify in cold weather, if it does just rub it in the palm of your hand to warm it up and then finger comb through hair.

Best Essential Oils for Hair

There are some essential oils that seem to do a better job of helping hair grow than others. This subject has been covered quite a bit for humans but, hair is hair, and the results are likely to be similar in our horses.

That being said, you must be careful. Some essential oils, like Cedar Oil, are known to cause allergic reactions in some horses. Always test a small amount of whatever recipe you make on a small section of your horse’s hair.

Here are some essential oils that are good for hair (source):

  • Lavender Oil – Encourage hair growth
  • Peppermint Oil – Increase circulation to the hair follicle
  • Rosemary Oil – Improve thickness and encourage growth
  • Thyme – Stimulates the root, helps promote hair growth.
  • Tea Tree Oil – Antibacterial and antimicrobial

Over the Counter Products

You came here looking for recipes but maybe things got a little more complicated than what you really wanted and you are thinking, “Maybe it’s just better to buy something already made.” In that case, here are my favorite must have tools for detangling manes and tails:

  • Cowboy Magic  – 4 oz but comes in other sizes too
  • Pinks Glosser Spray  – 8 oz – If you aren’t going to shell out for Cowboy Magic, go with this one.
  • Mane-ly Long Hai r – 8 oz – I haven’t used this one but I have friends that swear by it.

Best Mane and Tail Detangling Comb

Young woman combing the tail of the horse

I’ve detangled lots of manes and tails and let me just say I love this dog grooming rake  as a detangling comb. I discovered this tool during my work with wild mustangs who have never had their manes and tails brushed out. It is my best-kept secret I share with you.

You can use it on your dogs and even to help shed your horse when he’s super hairy but it is an excellent tool for tangled manes and tails. It doesn’t have to be this specific brand but it should have thinner tines to slip in tight spaces in the knots. Some have thicker nibs and those don’t work as well.

Coastal Pet Safari Dog Single Row Undercoat Rake
  • Safari Undercoat Rake: This deshedding rake deeply penetrates undercoats with precision tapered pins to prevent matting; it’s the perfect addition to your grooming tools for dogs
  • Dematting Comb for Dogs: Our dog undercoat brush maintains a healthy, beautiful coat by removing mats and tangles; this dog detangler brush is gentle but effective
  • Grooming Comb for Dogs: The precision tapered pins penetrate deeply into the coat to remove mats and tangles, making it an effective dog undercoat rake

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