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How to Grow a Long Mane and Tail
 By SarWestMay   •   4th Jun 2010   •   8,517 views   •   1 comments
At the end of 2009 I moved barns, it was for the better and I was ready for my horse to become the show horse she wanted to be. In this process I learned the tricks of the trade to growing long mane and tails, creating a glamorous effect that looks good in the Arabian show ring.

Long tails are desired for many breeds and can add so much to a horse's appearance. It is hard to believe that in six months my horse has gone to a scruffy little pony, to a fist place winning show horse. She has changed, the first part of caring for a horse's tail is nutrition, any horse can have a healthy coat.

How to Grow a Long Mane and TailI have worked in the horse rescue industry and seen first hand how much change can go into a horse with proper feeding and healthcare. Horses need a variety of supplements other than hay and grain. My horse is on sweet feed, which does lead to a more hyper horse, but that can easily be handled. I had her on a weight supplement that had tons of super proteins and that really kick-started everything. Proteins a biotin products are really important in growing manes and tails. After her winter coat shed out, she was shinier than ever before, and had no dull areas. Her regular coat was healthy along with her mane and tail. Nutrition can change it all.

I was once told that you can tell a horse's health by looking at it's tail. And for the most part it's true(excluding tails that are cut and changed for showing). I have found that horses with longer more healthy tails have great coats, stamina, good weight and are overall good horses. I understand there are other issues that make this observation false. That isn't important in the article. After you are sure nutrition is not holding your horse back, look at obvious factors, horses that are out with babies may have them chewing on their tails. There can be rubbing, which is caused by many things. Then in the summer when the flies are out, they swish their tails constantly, and this can cause stress the the strands of hair and cause breakage. Make sure there are no nails, barbwire fences, water bucket handles, gate handles, or wood gaps that are in a place your horse likes to rub, this will pull it out at a very fast rate. Now I will add the important part, the actual care of the tail. I realize this is a lot of information at once, but it's all coming down to this.

If you are starting out for the first time with this process. Then you need to do the following. First, find a QUALITY shampoo(I can't stress this enough that it needs to be good to make a change), then get you horse ready for a bath and do the rest of the body, while it is drying you can work on the tail. Take the shampoo and pour into your hand. Start with a small amount because you can always add more. Wet the horse's tail and just start massaging the shampoo in from the top to the bottom of the tail. Make sure it is basically soaking in the suds. It needs to be really lathered for this to be good. After you add the soap use your hand to detangle all of the tangles, even the tiny ones make a difference. Do NOT use the mane and tail brush for this, it's not good for it when it's wet and in a weaker state. Then after you are sure every tangle is out, just rinse everything out. This means everything. If you leave soap on the tail it will just cause rubbing and itching on the skin, which defeats the whole object of growing a mane and tail. While the tail is still trying you can tie it in a knot, it will make sense after you get the hang of it. There are a couple ways to put it up, just choose which is easiest while it's drying.

The mane needs to be done too. You need to rinse it first and get it wet, and then do just like the tail, it needs just as much care. It can dry on it's own. Be sure not to expose to direct sunlight when it is wet or have soap in it, this can cause premature discoloration and weaken the hair. After it is dry enough to handle you need to just let it all hang out and get totally in it's natural state. Some horses really do have curly hair, and some have pin straight, you should know which kind you horse has. After you are sure it is dry take a *LIGHT* brush and just brush the bottom. This creates volume so you know what your horse's tail looks like when it's in motion. You can add products at this point, some people like to use M-T-G, this is like a growth supplement which makes the skin healthy, and then just with healthy skin hair thrives and grows. And then there is the old trick of baby oil. Either one will do, I use M-T-G and my horse's tail does finally drag the ground when it is dry, I consider this an accomplishment. Follow the instructions on the label, because over applying WILL cause reverse effects. I know that it's a lot of work, but it's worth it.

You can then braid your horse's tail. This can be a simple braid, or one that is complex. I prefer making three small even braids, then braiding those braids. It sounds silly, but it does look pretty cool. I like to use either a tail bag, or you can use a sock and carefully(remember horses are unpredictable) sew it into the tail. Electrical tape does work, but it may melt, and is more likely to fall off, but luckily it's just one sock. They are cheap and come in cute colors and designs. The mane can stay natural(other than M-T-G) or you can braid it, this is more of a personal preference. Just be careful because oils make your horse more prone to sunburn. I have had a lot of luck, hopefully you will too.
How to Grow a Long Mane and Tail
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  SarWestMay
halfbrokehorses  
great article!
  Jun 5, 2010  •  4,096 views
 
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