Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to Keep Your Horse's Tail Long and Beautiful

I used to think that the secret to keeping my horse's tail long and beautiful was to brush it everyday. After all, I brush my hair everyday so why shouldn't I brush my horse's tail everyday? Because daily brushing doesn't work for horses. It only works for humans.

A Weekly Regimen for a Long Beautiful Horse Tail

I once rode with a cutting trainer who specialized in breeding and training Appaloosas. If you are at all familiar with Appaloosas, you know that they are notorious for having short skimpy manes and tails.

Even so, this trainer was able to get her horses' manes and tails long and beautiful. She followed a simple weekly regimen that worked like a charm. Once a week she:
  1. Washed the horse's tail with a mild conditioning shampoo that cleaned and detangled the tail hairs.
  2. Brushed the horse's tail, first with a large brush and then with a wide-tooth comb.
  3. Applied Shapley's MTG product liberally.
  4. Braided the tail (if the horse's tail dragged the ground, she doubled up the end of the tail and put the whole thing in a tail bag).
That's it -- a simple but effective regimen. I've since followed this regimen on my own horses and the results are pretty darn spectacular. What's neat is that you only have to follow these steps once a week. Brushing and messing with your horse's tail more often than that causes hair breakage, which shortens the length of the tail.

FYI: When applying the MTG make sure that you take off any silver rings or jewelry. The sulphur in MTG will stain your silver dark. You can polish the silver to restore the shine again, but why make more work for yourself?

My Own Extra Step for Long Horse Tails
I have a couple of horses who like to rub their tail heads on fence posts. I wormed them and ran fecal tests on them, and they weren't heavy on worms, so I figured it was a skin problem. The MTG works well to keep the itching down, and I found that applying the MTG just to the top of the tail worked well to keep the butt-scratching to a minimum.

Later, when I started feeding this special antioxidant juice to the horses, I noticed that those two horses stopped rubbing their tails. Their tails also started to grow faster. When I researched the ingredients in the antioxidant juice and consulted an acupuncturist about it, I found out that the ingredients in the juice support kidney health. From a Chinese Medicine point of view, the kidneys rule the head hair (in humans, that is). Translated for horse anatomy, healthy kidneys mean healthier manes and tails. The acupuncturist pointed out that older dogs, for instance, who suffer from renal dysfunction, tend to have thinning hair on their tails. Horses with kidney problems also have poor tails and thin manes. It makes sense to me.

I'm always surprised when I bring a new horse home and start using this weekly regimen. I have one mare who started out with a relatively short tail (it reached only as far as her hocks). After about six months on this program, her tail reached down past her ankles, nearly touching the ground. That's pretty fast progress, and I've seen it happen over and over again.

The moral of this story? Keep if simple, silly!

P.S. You can get MTG at just about any feed store and the antioxidant juice here.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

1 comment:

  1. I was happy to read this post because I always feel guilty for not brushing my horses' tails enough. And the weekly regimen sounds pretty easy. But I have a question: do you think the braiding and bagging are essential if one is not showing (i.e. the tail doesn't have to be so perfect)? Thanks! Summer