Monday, October 1, 2012

The Tail End

Tessa's tail gets trimmed regularly, sometimes a little too short as is the style in eventing.  She's still rubbing out the top, though less though since I started using MTG on it regularly.  Even though she's the cleanest gray pony in the world, her white tail does get a bit yellow after a while.  She also does not have a super thick long tail.  I know some of this is breeding, but it got me thinking about tails.

I've boarded at a lot of different barns.  I've seen tails in bags, tails in vet wrap, tails in braids and tails in knots.  But you know what?  I've never seen a tail in anything at a dressage barn.  Why is this?  Dressage people don't use fake tails and most of the horses I've seen have lovely thick tails.  Do they just wash them every day?  Why do dressage people not use tail things?  Are they the only ones?

Anyways, what do you think?  And what's your favorite way of getting a nice, thick tail without it causing upset to the pony or the rider.  Right now our weather is warm and the flies are on their last ditch effort to irritate all of us, so I wouldn't want to put her tail completely up in something.  I also wouldn't want to do a braid, because the last time I did that she used it like a bullwhip over her rump and it smacked me in the head.  There's the real reason I wear a helmet.  To avoid my pony killing me with her tail weapon.  Ha!

I have my child's Back To School cold this week so I have signed the pony up for a refresher course with the trainer this week.  Laura said she needed to remind her about moving into the outside rein.  Since I'm not riding, I cleaned out my tack trunk, washed my brushes and brought home my pads to throw in the washer.  Which I should do now before my husband comes home and sees the grossness I'm putting in our washer.  Any saddle pad washing tips you have would be much appreciated also!

Hope you all have a great week.  I'm slowly starting to catch up on my reading again so I can't wait to see what y'all have been up to this last month!


  1. You've seen Rosie's tail - I'm sure you have as Hubby likes butt pictures. I don't do anything to it - not even brush it in between washings. After I wash and condition it, I put a detangler into it, then let it dry over night. Brush it out completely the next day.

    Most Dressage folks don't brush their ponies tails. We finger through them and that's about it.

  2. The best way to get a nice thick tail is to brush it rarely - every time you brush it, even with sprays, you pull out hairs. There's also a genetic component to having a thick tail - certain breeds like Morgans and warmbloods tend to have thick lush tails, whereas others like appaloosas and many TBs have more skimpy tails.

  3. I'm a dressage person, and for the most part, I clean it every so often and then comb it out (using canter mane & tail spray) fingers first and then using a wide-toothed comb. In the winter, I braid it up when it's muddy to keep the dreadlocks out. Result: Pony has a nice, long, thick tail.

    Easy and fast way to clean it is to fill a bucket with water and a bit of shampoo, stick the tail in, swish it around for a bit, and then rinse all the soap off.

  4. I love grooming - kinda a freak thing - so I do brush my mare's tail everytime I am out. Lucky for me, she has a nice long thick tail and not much falls out when I brush it. I shampoo and condition it regulary. Good hair genes, I guess?

    As far as saddle pad washing, I use a shop vac to vacuum it before it goes in the washer.

  5. Depends on the horse. Lucas needed a longer tail to blend with his fake tail, he had a very thin tail bone show didn't grow much to begin with. I usually kept his up in a bag but he was on limited turnout, without flies and very little mud. Most of the time I keep them down, brush out regularly with some type of coat conditioner. For the most part we put fake tails in so as long as they have enough to blend with, we go with what they have.

  6. I'm a tail knot person. I divide the tail into about 8 parts (appropriate for the thickness of Dee's tail) and make figure eight knots in each section. Although, due to the extreme length of Dee's tail, I can no longer get away with just a simple figure eight knot, I need to do loops like when you make a chain in crocheting. We're up to about 5 loops now to keep her tail about mid hock. No, this method won't preserve every strand like bagging or vetrap, but it keeps it from dragging on the ground or getting stepped on, all while still giving her a fairly natural fly swatter. Dee does seem to have the genetics for a long mane and tail to start, though (sadly not for a thick mane and tail). Really all I do is try to keep it safe from the ground. I also keep it well conditioned. Healthy Hair Care Hair Moisturizer is one of my new favorites. I only take the tail down to show or if it's looking really ratty (which is inevitable during fly season). Even then I rarely do a full redo...I just use ample Cowboy Magic Detangler (super slippery stuff) and redo the offending knot. So there is still a degree of benign neglect involved lol.