Tips from Long Tail Ranch
2008 Cherry Hill ©
I have several of your books and
have found them so helpful. Please keep writing! This question may
sound silly but here goes.
My mare has
short dry hairs at the base of her tail, I want them long and lovely like the
rest of her tail. I have her tail braided and bagged, she is on Equishine and
11% protein Purina grain product, grass pasture in the summer and quality hay
in fall and winter. What do you do to keep the hairs at the base of the tail protected
from sun damage and keep them growing?
for the help - Alice
the letter and encouragement to continue writing. As a matter of fact, I
have six new books in the works!
Regarding the short, dry hairs at the top of your horse's tail. First of
all, its pretty normal for the top hairs there to be shorter than the rest of
the tail but if they are as short as bristles and dry, you can improve the situation
and get them to grow out and lay down.
Here are some things to think about, many of which you might already know and
do but just to be sure, I'll be inclusive:
¤ Minimize brushing and combing
¤ Remove any reason for the horse to be rubbing her tail against a
tree, post, building etc. This includes making sure the skin of the dock
is absolutely clean and rinsed well.
¤ Consider using a leave-in conditioner.
¤ If the skin of the dock seems to be especially dry and the hair
slow growing, you could try rubbing in a tiny bit of Eqyss Mega-Tek cell rebuilder
cream. This not only moisturizes the skin but also seems to encourage hair growth.
the udder or sheath so the horse is not trying to "itch" them by rubbing.
the area around the tail head, anus, hindquarters and be sure there are no insects,
fungus, awns, even slivers or anything else that could be causing the horse to
rub (mares often rub when they are in heat).
¤ Are you using fly spray in that area - what are the ingredients?
Could the fly spray be drying out the hair and/or causing rubbing?
¤ Does your horse wear a fly sheet when out on pasture? If she
wore a textilene fly sheet, it would protect against UV rays and cover the top
portion of the tail. All of my horses wear textilene fly sheets all summer
and their coats don't bleach and the tops of their tails are always in great shape.
are also fly sprays and grooming products that contain sunscreen that might be
SHARE THE SECRETS OF OUR "LONG TAIL RANCH"
Visitors to our place marvel at the long, thick tails on every single one of our
horses. To keep my horses manes and tails long and healthy, I follow a 3
First I feed very good quality hay. I pay particular attention to the quality
of the hay as it is the mainstay of my horses' diet. Every horse also
SU-PER Farrier's Supplement daily. It is a high quality, broad-spectrum
nutritional supplement designed to accelerate hoof growth and improve the quality
of the hoof horn. Hair and hoof are made of similar materials, so it is
no surprise that it also positively affects hair growth and condition.
Second, I follow a specific grooming protocol. I only bathe, brush, and
comb the manes and tails when necessary. When I do, I use products that
I have found to be mane and tail friendly. I only use brushes on long manes
and tails, never a comb which tends to be difficult to use without breaking hairs.
I keep all tails banged (cut blunt)
at a level no lower than the point of the fetlock when the horse's tail is relaxed
and flat and hanging the longest. (Instead of banging, you might prefer
the look of a tapered tail.) When I am tempted to let the tail grow longer
than the fetlocks, invariable a horse steps on his tail when he is getting up
from rolling and pulls out large long hunks. When a tail is too long, I've
seen horses remove large sections when backing up in a performance class or unloading
from a trailer. That's how a tail gets thin
in a hurry!
During fly season I apply
botanical fly repellent to the horses' undersides where flies most often cause
itching: on the belly ahead of the sheath or udder and high on the inside of the
hind legs if necessary.
Third, I put the tails up for the winter. In fact, as soon as the last fly
is gone in the fall. I braid the tails and keep them braided until the first
fly appears in the spring. In March or April, because
of the high level of nutrition all winter and the protection of the braid, I usually
have to cut 4-6 inches off the tails in order to meet my point of the fetlock
criteria. With most horses, I have to cut off an additional 4" in July
I demonstrate how I
put tails up in the fall and take them down in the spring in our video, 101