A long, luxurious tail looks great in the show ring, but it can be difficult to obtain, hence the proliferation of “tail extensions” that now can be purchased. Certainly, they offer a convenient shortcut for those who don’t have the time to grow a tail out.
Adding a tail extension can make a dramatic difference, as is seen in the images from http://www.hbtails.com. So, what if you want to grow your own? Here are some tips to keeping your horse’s hair healthy and growing.
- Make sure your horse’s nutritional needs are covered. Feeding a complete feed, or adding a multivitamin, can help ensure that your horse has the nutrients he or she needs. Feeding flax seed, or a flax-based supplement, often helps make a horse’s mane, tail and coat shinier because they add Omega 3 fatty acids to their diet.
- Touch the tail as little as possible. Daily brushing is the last thing you should do.
- In fact, put away your combs and brushes! The best way to detangle your horse’s tail is by hand, otherwise you risk breaking the fragile hairs. This is especially true when the tail is dry.
- Use a conditioner or detangler to help get knots out. You can leave it in the tail for added conditioning. Lots of people swear by Shapleys MTG, others like regular conditions or Meka Tek Cell Rebuilder, I’ve even read about some off the wall home treatments such as bacon grease! If you’re looking for something from your medicine cabinet, baby oil isn’t a bad choice. You can use it in the winter to keep the hair from drying out.
- Keep your horse’s dock, sheath or teats clean. If these areas are dirty, they can be itchy. You don’t want your horse to rub its tail.
- Protect your horse’s tail (and the rest of his coat) from the sun by using textaline fly sheets. They cover the top of the dock.
- When you ship your horse, put a tail wrap on. Even horses that don’t normally rub their tails will sometimes do this when trailered, maybe because they end up leaning on the butt bar. A neopene tail wrap can really save his tail from damage.
- Some people braid the tail or put it up with strips of cloth. I wouldn’t recommend that you try this in the summer, when your horse needs its tail, but lots of people put up their horse’s tails all winter. This post provides step-by-step instructions and photos: http://www.horsegroomingsupplies.com/horse-forums/sheeting-step-by-step-with-pics-30445.html