So I took my scissors to it and roached it.
There, no more mane to pick up burrs. Problem solved. Since I knew the burdocks obviously weren't going to be removed from his turnout at that point--unless I did it myself, which I most certainly was not going to, not when I was paying full board for his care (never mind the time factor to hunt down, cut down, and carry away the burdock plants when I was finding it difficult enough to schedule regular riding time into my week)--I removed the mane instead. It wasn't like I was going to be showing him or anything, so just shearing his mane down to his crest was not a big deal. I knew the mane would grow back over the winter.
And it has. The Quarter Horse first sported the neck-displaying roached look. Then he moved on to the macho Trojan Horse look as it grew and stood out straight. Now it has grown long enough to be at the messy stage: some parts flopping over, some still standing upright or rather not quite upright. Kind of drunken upright.
I would prefer it lay over the way it is supposed to (ya know, being a dressage rider and all I kinda go for the whole neat and orderly look), so yesterday I decided to get out the braid bands and give him a bunch of little pony tails, the bands encouraging his mane to lay over instead of sprawl along his neck at multiple angles.
When I got done, his mane looked rather like a boy whose sister got to him and put pony tails in his hair. You know--sticking out crazily instead of lying nice like pony tails in longer hair do.
his 'beautiful' hairdo
It's just temporary. As his mane grows longer, the weight of it will make the pony tails unnecessary; it will lay over nicely on it's own. It's just that some of his mane has a few inches to go to get to that point, and I'd rather it all look the same now.
Besides, from the front and the top they don't look so haphazard.