03-25-2016, 01:57 PM
  • ajc347
  • Senior Member
  • Exeter, UK
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I've had three horse hair brushes come my way recently, one via a BST elsewhere and two directly from Gifts and Care.

I've not used horse brushes before and thought I'd share my views on them after having used them a few times.

The Brushes

[Image: Vie%20Long-3_zpscn3pkue2.jpg]

The brushes are (from L to R):

Vie Long 13071 Wooden handle with died knot (50% mane / 50% tail). 
Vie Long 13065S-1 Butterscotch Edition Brown Horse with a Fan knot (35% mane / 65% tail).
Epsilon Butterscotch White Horse with a Fan knot (50% mane / 50% tail). 


The knot specifications are slightly different to those listed on the Gifts and Care website. The actual specifications of the brushes are:

13071 (died knot with wooden handle) - handle 50mm, knot 24 x 55mm.
13065S-1 Butterscotch Edition with Amphora-style handle - handle 54mm, knot 25 x 49mm.
Epsilon - handle 47mm, knot 29 x 50mm.

Knot Density

[Image: Vie%20Long-13_zpsedrspi4t.jpg]

The density of the knots is interesting. As can be seen from the photo above the 13071 lacks density and the knot looks as if it has collapsed (from what I can gather this is normal behaviour for this style of knot). The two Butterscotch brushes, however, have more than sufficient levels of density.

Lather Shots

I thought that it would make sense to take some pictures of these brushes in action. I only ever bowl lather and thought that it would make sense to use a hard shaving soap that many people find difficult to lather (as this would provide a difficult test for the brushes), so I bloomed a puck of Musgo Real and used it with one of my Steve Woodhead scuttles.

[Image: Vie%20Long-4_zpsl3y9cq6e.jpg]

The 13071 performed pretty well when it came to the task of lathering and easily produced a nice, useable lather.

[Image: Vie%20Long-15_zpsbjtz0jay.jpg]

The Epsilon performed excellently and whipped up more than enough lather with comparative ease.]

[Image: Vie%20Long-5_zpsd25saflw.jpg]

The 13065S-1 Butterscotch Edition brush was simply amazing. It devoured the soap and produced much more lather than the other two brushes. It produced much more lather than I could realistically use. It was simply awesome. Smile

Post-use Bloom 

[Image: Vie%20Long-6_zpseff1kxvj.jpg]

As you can see there is a small amount of noticeable bloom on each brush. There's nowhere near as much bloom as would be expected with a comparable badger brush.


What surprised me most about these brushes is how well they have performed whilst being used over the past few days. I was expecting, based upon what I have read, to find each brush to have some noticeable scritch which would slowly ease off over time. 

The 13071 didn't disappoint in this respect - it feels very much like a pure badger knot and didn't impress me that much at all. I'm hoping that the tips will soften with use. It's a floppy brush and will work well in a bowl. I wouldn't want to even attempt to face lather with it though. 

I am pretty sensitive to scritch and have found a couple of Vie Long Silvertips and a number of 2-band Badgers to be too scritchy for me in the past. I was, therefore, really surprised when I couldn't detect any scritch from either of the two Butterscotch brushes. If I were describing badger brushes I would be using phrases such as 'a wall of badger' to describe these brushes. I'm not sure what the appropriate phrase would be to describe a horse hair brush, but both brushes certainly have very soft tips straight out of the box.

Both the Butterscotch brushes have more than sufficient backbone and really have changed my thoughts about horse hair brushes. For me, the knot dimensions and hair type are spot-on and I would wholeheartedly recommend giving the Vie Long fan-shaped knots a try. Whilst they are relatively cheap brushes, they punch well above their weight and perform as well as, if not better than, many of much more expensive badger brushes I have in my collection.

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 03-25-2016, 02:06 PM
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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Some years past, I was leaning over to kill a horsefly that landed on my mare Annie's hip. I stood up with a crushed fly in hand and face dripping blood  from her tail swatting said fly. Your 'scritch' no doubt came from some Andalusian mare with a not dissimilar intolerance for irritants. They are wonderfull brushes.

2 3,167
 03-25-2016, 04:31 PM
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I tried a brown horse fan garnet epsilon 50mm as well, only tried it once but it had some of the softest tips I've ever felt on any brush, comparable to a thater. There was enough backbone but not too much. Nice and dense but not stupid dense like the epsilon badger, nothing wrong with the badger but the horse doesn't hog as much lather and isn't quite like a stick with a soft furry edge. A very solid buy at $40, no idea about longevity though

28 777
 03-25-2016, 05:13 PM
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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[Image: gjoI3ZV.jpg]This is a Jaquima ( hackamore) training bridle made of braided leather and horsehair. It came to western horsemanship by way of Mexican/Californio vaqueros ( buckaroos) who inherited it from Spain all the way to the Moors of the Alhambra with the el hakim. I restored one at the old Southwest Museum with a known provenance back to 1848. I horrified the staff by USING IT. Horsehair brushes will last as long as badger and boar with care.

2 3,167
 03-26-2016, 04:58 PM
  • Deuce
  • Just a guy
  • Cave Creek
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My fan is a little more than 1 year old and is quite nice - I'm glad I bought it.

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