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Longer, Thicker Horse Tails!

Apr 12, 2008
As horse owners, we all know the ideal tail. A thick, flowing mass of hair, just touching the ground- it's the epitome of beauty. But looking at a lovely long tail, and comparing that to the short, thin and frayed tail on your own horse can make the dream of a beautiful tail seem impossible. While genetics and nature play a part in long, healthy tails, there are several steps you can take to encourage your horses tail to grow and look beautiful.

Not all horses are created equal- and neither are all tails. If the genetics of your horse have given him a thin, wispy tail, then you may never reach the ideal in your mind. But every tail can be improved, and whether your aim is the show ring, or just for your own pleasure, careful attention to the tail can help it to be the best it can be.

Tail rubbing is a common occurrence in horses, but it is also extremely destructive to tails. Many a beautiful tail has been completely destroyed by only a few days of vigorous rubbing- and it may take years for the tail to grow back. Tail rubbing first destroys the hairs at the top of the tail, leading to matts in the tail, broken hair strands and even bald spots.

The most common cause of tail rubbing is a parasite infection, usually pinworms. These microscopic parasites lay eggs at the horses tail area around the anus. These eggs cause discomfort and itching, and lead the horse to try and relive the sensation by rubbing on anything that might be available- the walls of a stall, fence posts, feed buckets, etc. Deworming will kill the pinworms, and the rubbing should stop.

If parasites have been ruled out as a cause of rubbing, other causes should be examined. A dirty udder or sheath may be itchy for the horse, causing them to seek out a way to reach the itch. Washing the udder or sheath regularly can help to relieve the itch, and prevent future episodes of rubbing. The skin of the dock of the tail can be dry, causing dandruff and irritation. Washing the tail in a dandruff shampoo, or using moisturizing conditioners, can help relieve the itching. The tail should also be carefully inspected for any other signs of cuts, sores or skin irritations- if found, these should be treated as directed by your veterinarian.

Once tail rubbing has been eliminated as an issue, how do you get that tail to grow? First and foremost, STOP BRUSHING THAT TAIL! Ever wonder how horses in the wild often have great thick, long tails? It's because they aren't brushed. Constant brushing loosens the hair, and each brush stroke may pluck out a few hairs. Reduce your brushing sessions to once a week, at most. When you do brush, use a paddle type brush instead of a comb, as they are more aggressive, and pull out more hairs. Use of a detangler will also help to minimize matts and snarls, and prevent them from forming.

At least once a month, thoroughly wash and condition your horses tail. Although more expensive, horse-specific shampoos and conditioners should be used, as human products tend to dry out the tail too much, leading to hair breakage. Leave in conditioners such as Mane and Tail can help to provide detangling action, as well as providing long-term protection to the hair.

After washing and conditioning, allow the tail to dry completely before brushing it through. Wet hair is more fragile, and is more likely to break while being brushed. When brushing, start at the bottom of the tail and work up, working on small sections at a time until the entire tail is detangled and smooth.

Just as in human hair, horses get split ends at the bottom of their tail, and split ends can cause hair breakage and damage. Cutting the very ends of the tail off on a regular basis will remove the split ends, and strengthen the rest of the tail. Not much has to be taken off- often just a " or less will remove most of the split ends, and leave the tail with a neater, more kept look.

Finally, if a long, thick tail is your goal, the tail bag may become your best friend. Usually made of lycra or cotton, tail bags cover the tail and tie just below the bone of the tail, protecting it from pulling, breakage, sun damage and tangles. Although not the most popular of accessories in some riding circles, any snarky comments you may receive as a result of the tail bag will instantly be silenced when your friends see the improved quality of your horses tail.

To put in a tail bag, braid the washed and conditioned dry tail, and secure the braid with an elastic band. Pull the tail bag over the tail, and take the loop or ties, and insert them through one of the plaits below the tailbone. NEVER tie a tail bag around or near the tailbone- it can cause a loss of circulation, and a variety of severe problems.

Using a tail bag can significantly improve the quality of your horses tail, as well as help it to grow more quickly. Use of hair-growth stimulators, such as Eqyss Mega Tek, can be especially helpful in bagged tails, as will remain in place and undisturbed until washed out.

If your horse has an especially thin or slow growing tail, a vitamin supplement may be in order to help the tail receive the nutrients it needs for optimal growth. Skin and Coat conditioners, as well as hoof supplements (hair is made from the same basic material as hooves) can be extremely helpful in getting a stubborn tail to grow.

It takes approximately seven years for a hair at the top of your horses tail to grow down to the level of their fetlocks. Your horses tail won't grow overnight, and you might not notice a difference in quality or thickness for some time. But with careful attention, and just a bit of patience, you can help your horses tail achieve its fullest potential.

For more helpful hints and tips just click the links below. And ad them to your favorites!

About the Author
Ron Petracek was raised in southern Idaho with horses and the great outdoors. With this continued passion He now shares through a a vast equine network. Learn more by clicking the links below. Amazing Equine Network System - Buy Sell or trade anything equine related. Get More Horse Classified coverage and distribution with less cost and work. Hot Equine Social Community
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