Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Tale of Four Tails

This is another case of how different each horse is from another.

I'm careful grooming tails - I hate pulling out hairs.  So, for most of the late fall, through winter, and into spring, I don't groom tails, at all.  If there are burrs or mud, I pick it out with my fingers.

Usually, the first really hot day in late spring, the horses get one of their few shampoo baths, including tail washing, and after that, I brush out tails, with liberal application of Show Sheen, and then use Show Sheen every time I brush tails after that.  This year, for some reason, although we had baths, there was no tail brushing.

So we ended up with September (and early October) tail brushing.  Dawn was easy - her black tail is sleek and slippery, even without Show Sheen, and easily brushed out.  Her tail looks a lot better than it used to - she used to frequently pull out big chunks of it catching it on her water bucket hooks, but that seems to have eased up with Missy (instead of a gelding - nasty gelding, Dawn says) in the adjacent stall.  Pooping in the water bucket is also way down, which I appreciate.  Her tail is pretty full now, and hangs to almost fetlocks, which is longer than it used to be. (None of these photos is recent, but it gives you an idea of tails.)


Red's tail is beautiful - very dark in color (although his mane is lighter than his body color), and quite narrow and long - it just brushes the ground.  It also has some wave to it, and tends to twirl - individual tendrils tend to form long, wrapped twirls, which makes them tough to brush out at first.  It took quite a while - at least an hour - to work through his tendrils.


Pie's tail is huge - very large and bushy and also quite long - it almost touches the ground.  I knew it would take quite a while to brush it out - his hair is a bit curly/kinky and tends to form knots and clumps, and it takes a long time to work through all the hair volume.  But once it's done, it's full and exuberant.   It took me two full sessions - probably an hour each time - to get it done - and I have to brush it with Show Sheen every day to keep it from snarling up again.


Missy has the prize tail - it's full, and very thick, and very, very long, white on the top and very dark brown below - it drags on the ground by at least three inches when she's at rest.  I was dreading brushing it out - although her's had been done more recently that any of my other horses.  But it turned out to be a breeze - less than 10 minutes to get the whole thing done.  She has the same slick, very straight hair that Dawn does - no curls or twirls or snags to deal with.  It look gorgeous - I may have to (reluctantly) trim the very ends to keep her from stepping on it and pulling it out.  She seems to have the same slippery, dirt resistant coat and mane/tail hair that our pony Norman has - we called him the Teflon pony - which is a good thing, considering how much white she has.


It's interesting the different character each horse's tail has - have you found that with your horses?

14 comments:

  1. Lucy has a very thin and sparse tail; easy to brush out -- fine and slippery. I try to leave it alone as much as necessary. Jackson used to have a skimpier tail but it has grown longer now that he is retired and I rarely brush it. Pistol's tail is exactly like Missy's. Both Mufasa and Flash have gorgeous full tails that reach the ground -- similar to Pie.

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  2. Norman has an average tail, decent length (when he hasn't gotten it snagged on a tree or something) and so easy to brush out - teflon like the rest of him. It doesn't tend to get tangles. Lily's tail never looks as good as it should (her beautiful neck is what I like to look at), she likes to scratch her bum on the wood lining of the run-in and tends to snag hairs when she does. Maisie, as you know, has an AMAZING tail. I love brushing her tail. I bang her tail twice a year, I have to in order to keep it from dragging on the ground when she doesn't have her tail lifted at all. Her tail is so thick and full. I love loading her tail up with detangler and brushing out her tail. I'm pretty loyal to vetrolin shine for a detangler, I'm not sure why. I should get a bottle of Show Sheen and see which one I like better, or if they come out in a tie.

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    1. Maisie got the true warmblood tail, and it is gorgeous.

      Maybe Lil's saying she needs her udder cleaned? She used to pin me in a corner of her pen or stall until I cleaned it.

      I've tried all the detanglers and just prefer Show Sheen - I only use it on tails, not bodies. Maybe because it smells like cookie dough . . .

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    2. Her udders are cleaned all the time. She seems to like scratching which is fine, except for her tail. :)

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  3. My horses all have the kind of hair that spirals. Beamer's only a little and his black hair is mixed with silver hairs- he has a lovely tail. Clancy's is very thick. I use Cowboy Magic instead of show sheen. it seems to last longer and I put it in when the hair is wet, before I comb it out.

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  4. I hate tails that touch/drag on the ground, but I hate the look of a banged tail (unless it's an Icelandic horse or warmblood). I would love to learn a method for trimming tails that makes them look naturally that length - so far I use scissors and align the blades with the tail hair as if I'm cutting up the hair instead of across the hair. I do tiny portions at a time and keep shaking out the tail and locating obviously cut bits, and then again with the parallel to the hair method, cutting up again. Is there a better way?

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    1. Your method sounds just like what a hairdresser would do to avoid the look of a straight-across cut. I don't know any other method to avoid the banged look - will have to give that a try.

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  5. Irish's tail is a beautiful mix of blond, red and black hairs. The strands are fine but he has quite a bit of hair. I usually put in some Cowboy magic a couple times a year to keep the mud out. Carmen's is thick and wavy and also curls like Pie's. It takes a while. I've trimmed her tail 3 times since March- it grows very fast. I do trim up their tails and I make it a bit shorter in the winter so it doesn't get coated in ice.

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  6. Our horses each have different tail personalities. Some have the twirls which I call Rasta tails. Then there are the thinner tails which are easy to de tangle. Then there's Dusty who has the thickest tail I have ever seen. It takes forever to comb it out. If I don't trim it occasionally it would drag on the ground. My go to detangler is Show Sheen. I've tried the others but like that one is my favorite.

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  7. Here we have thick, full tails but only Keil Bay's does the dredlock thing. I brush them out every month or so and I do trim the bottoms to keep them from dragging the ground. I have never used anything on their tails. If you use a good brush and pull the natural oils from the dock down, you end up with beautiful, natural shine and you can feel the difference in the hair as the oils condition it. It takes awhile but they love it and I love doing it, so no problem there. :)

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  8. I brush all my horses tail quite often, I think it started when I was showing it looks so much nicer. I used to worry about pulling hair out but now that I do it more often i rarely get much out. Jess's tail actually grows longer the more I brush it, its almost to her hooves now and it was up around her hocks a year ago. Razz has so much hair I could pull half out and it wold still be thicker than my other horses but the white hair at the bottom yellows. Dee and Bailey have terribly tangly tails that need lots of detangler, I use Laser sheen its like show sheen but not as slippery. And Trio I have never done her tail but its so pretty and short as shes only a yearling

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  10. my paint mare (Annie) has a white tail that loves to get Dredd locks and her mane is the same way. Now my paint gelding has a red tail that is easy to brush but is kind of thin and it seems hard to get a shine to it.

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