Are you envious of other horses at your barn with long, full tails? While some horses and breeds are genetically predisposed to having thinner tails than others, there are a number of ways you can encourage fuller, healthier tail growth on your horse.
Start With Nutrition
The quality of your horse’s coat and his tail hair are closely linked to his health and nutrition. If a horse is not getting the proper nutrients, he will not be able to grow a full and healthy tail. Start by evaluating your horse’s current diet. You might consult with your horse’s vet or with an equine nutritionist to be sure that your horse is getting what he needs through his feeding program. Remember that quality pasture and hay are a major part of your horse’s nutrition – if you haven’t had your hay tested recently, it would be a good idea to do so to better understand its quality. If you have poor pasture or hay that is lower quality, you may need to supplement your horse to ensure that his nutritional needs are being met.
Putting off the cleaning and detangling of your horse’s tail can leave you with a big job that can actually damage the tail. To minimize breakage and tangling of your horse’s tail, clean it on a regular basis. Remove shavings and any other debris, like clumps of mud, by hand. Then detangle any knots using your fingers to avoid breaking the hairs.
When brushing out your horse’s tail, don’t use a large, stiff brush – doing so can pull and break many hairs. Instead, opt for a small brush with flexible bristles, and take only small sections of the tail at the time. With each section, work from the tail’s bottom and progress upward as you brush out each part of the section. Using detangling and conditioning products can help to make a tangled tail easier to brush.
Banging the bottom of a horse’s tail can help to give it a fuller appearance. When banging a horses tail, it’s a good idea to tie a polo or a sock around the base of the tail; doing so will help to replicate the tail’s carriage when the horse is in motion. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut across the bottom of the tail, removing the bottom half inch of hair.
Tie the Tail Up
Tail hair breakage and damage can occur when your horse has a longer tail. Additionally, any horse can rub its tail or catch it on bushes, trees, or even stall sides or latches. Tying your horse’s tail up with a tail bag can keep the tail protected and clean, allowing it to grow. Similarly, mud knots can keep your horse’s tail from getting dragged through muddy pastures.
Be patient - it can take awhile to cultivate a gorgeous tail.