Horses are beautiful creatures and so graceful when they move – their poise and distinguished movements mesmerize even non-horse people. Case in point, who doesn’t love watching the Budweiser’s Clydesdales with their long manes, flowing tails, and feathering pasterns? Everyone can agree, mane and tails are gorgeous, especially when they are cared for.
Keep in mind, all breeds are different and not every horse can grow a long and luxurious mane and tail. No matter how hard you try, some horses can not grow a thick forelock or a tail that drags the ground. Nonetheless, do not be discouraged. Healthy, shiny, thick, long mane and tails are what every horse owner strives for, and you’re not alone if you struggle with attaining this end-product. If you’re searching to enhance your horse’s mane and tail, look no further than this GrangeKnows article. Written by one of our very own Grange Equine Experts, we’ll share suggestions to help you provide the best care for your horse’s mane and tail.
Let’s first point out two things about grooming in general. First, safety must always be addressed. Always wear shoes that protect your feet. Have your horse tied safely and make sure to avoid standing directly behind your horse when working on their tail.
Second, any aspect of grooming helps you and your horse bond and teaches them better ground manners. Additionally, grooming is always great for horses who are not able to be ridden, or for those who are pasture mates, the same applies to people who possibly cannot physically ride.
A healthy mane and tail starts inside first and, with the owners help, follows to the outside. Just like humans, horses need a well-balanced diet and good quality forage, this is key to a healthy horse, inside and out. To maximize nutrition you can also add supplements. There are many types of feed-through supplements that are easy-to-use and give an extra boost to thicken your horse’s main and tail. Protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals are great to look for in a feed supplement, especially when you’re feeding for mane and tail care.
SIGNS OF AN UNHEALTHY MANE AND TAIL
Sometimes mane and tail care just by regular grooming or a healthy feeding regimen isn’t enough. We’ve heard many people complain of their horses rubbing out sections of their mane or tail. If you’re experiencing something similar, it’s imperative to find out why. We advise inspecting your horse for parasites. Make sure you’re following a deworming schedule. Also, we recommend checking the rubbed spots for any irritants such as bugs, dry skin, or an infection causing the itch. We carry a selection of products to help with any issue you may be facing.
GROOMING YOUR HORSE’S MANE AND TAIL
Here’s the fun part: grooming. Depending on the time of year and conditions, you can start with washing the mane and tail with a good shampoo and conditioner or you can skip to just using a detangler and lightly combing out the mane and tail.
When washing, make sure to fully rinse both the shampoo and the conditioner to avoid any irritation and potential itching. You can leave the conditioner in for a minute or two, lightly running your fingers through the hair to separate the tangles. Spray or rub in a detangle again running your fingers through. Next, grab a comb/brush to finish grooming the tail. If needed, you can trim to complete the look. An extra step to stimulate growth is taking a dandy brush and brushing the dock of the tail daily. We encourage owners to comb/brush out their horse’s mane and tail once a week. Brushing everyday can damage the hair and cause loss, in turn resulting in a thin, short mane and tail.
MANE AND TAIL PROTECTION
Our last recommendation for mane and tail care is protection. Many leave their horse’s tails loose or braid them, while others put them in tail bags or tail braids. We recommend tail bags and tail braids as the best option, especially during the winter months when it’s easier for the tails to get muddy.
Putting a tail in a bag or braid is simple and takes just a couple of minutes. You’ll be thanking yourself the next time you comb or brush your horse’s tail out. To place the tail in the bag, simply braid the tail like normal starting at the bottom of the tail bone. Make sure not to pull the hair tight or braid on the tail bone, which could result in cutting off circulation. Make the braid slightly loose to the end of the tail and secure with a rubber band. Next, stick the tail in the bag and tie securely, again, below the tail bone.
If you choose a tail braid, follow these steps. Section the tail, as if you would for braiding, and slip each section into the braid tubes. Again, make sure to tie the tail braid below the tail bone. At this point, braid to the end and secure with the end ties.
There you have it! Just a few tips to keep your horse’s mane and tail healthy and shiny all year long. No matter whether you show, trail ride, or just have a companion, your horse deserves to have a beautiful mane and tail. Feel free to check out everything we have to offer, chat with one of our knowledgeable Grange Equine Experts and continue gaining knowledge regarding mane and tail care.