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101 Horsekeeping
Tips - DVD
Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping Almanac
Your Horse Barn DVD
Horse Health Care by Cherry Hill
Horse Handling and Grooming by Cherry Hill

Brittle Tail Top
1998  Cherry Hill   Copyright Information


Dear Cherry,

    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?

Thanks for the help.  Alice

Hi Alice:

    Have you been to my Horse Information Roundup

There you will see a section on grooming and an article called "Tail Tips".  Read that for some good information on tail care and to learn what I do for all of my horses.

    Regarding the specific question about the short, dry hairs at the top of your horse's tail.  First of all, its pretty normal for the 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 his or her tail against tree, post, building etc.  This includes making sure the skin of the dock is absolutely clean and rinsed well; then I use a leave in conditioner.  If the skin of the dock seems to be especially dry and the hair slow growing, I rub in a tiny bit of Eqyss Mega-Tek cell rebuilder cream. This not only moisturizes the skin but seems to encourage hair growth.

    * Wash the udder or sheath so the horse is not trying to "itch" them by rubbing.

    * Inspect the area around the tail head, anus, hindquarters and be sure there are no insects, fungus, awns from dry grass or anything else that could be causing the horse to rub (mares often rub when they are in heat).

    * Be sure the horse is currently in a deworming program that targets pinworms.

    * 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.

    * There are also fly sprays and grooming products that contain sunscreen that you could consider using but I don't find it necessary to use them.

     * Also, fly bites and scabs in front of the sheath and udder and inside the hind legs can cause a horse to rub its tail trying to get at the itch. We sell a natural botanical product to combat fly bites and alleviate itches.

I hope this helps.

Best of Luck,

 Cherry Hill       

1998  Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

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