Moving on from that, this weeks topic stems from the ever entertaining "OTTB Connect" group on FB. Truly excellent time waster if youre bored and want to converse with other OTTB enthusiasts about various topics surrounding all things Thoroughbred. Sometimes there's even some real Jerry Springer drama and it gets fun to watch!
Recently someone posted asking advice on how to get her horses' tail to grow; specifically wanting to know if anyone had success with slinky tail bags.
I jumped on the opportunity to write a novel, since most of us know I am exceptionally passionate & obsessed with tails. All it really did was lead to an absurd amount of FB notifications, but a few people asked me follow up questions and I felt like the tail queen for a few minutes.
This might be a lengthy post, because obsessed, so settle in or carry on.
I do believe the obsessive obsession it started when my first horse came to me with no tail and I was like, no, this isnt OK.
Tail obsession continued with a horse named Murphy. Literally the MOST perfect tail of any horse I've ever seen ever and it makes me sad he was only a project horse.
|Flaxen and huge and long and wonderful|
Spirit on the other hand had THE WORST tail. By worst I mean hardy anything at all. I stressed over his locks for years. Not only did I keep it up 100% of the time, he got treated with a double dose of my "special secret tail grow" program. It took years for his tail ever gain length and it never did get volume. But was always perfectly white!
Yankee, thankfully, was blessed with many hairs. His tail was full, shiny and grew like crazy. I drove myself mad trying to keep it perfect.
For most of his time with me, I kept it in a ball to prevent breakage and sunburns. There is NOTHING that looks more ratchet than a red tail that supposed to be black. IMO. I wont have it.
|The tail ball|
To break it down, I have 5 major things I do for tails, aka "special secret tail grow":
1) Biotin supplement
2) excellent, high fat, high protein diet with plenty of forage
3) Cowboy magic & MTG
4) tail ball
5) regular trims
The tail ball only requires a human hair tie (less likely too pull out hairs) and old socks. I actually learned this technique from an Arabian trainer I worked for in Middle School and it WPRKED. All her horses tails dragged the ground. I HATE tail bags. They always come out and rarely work. I've tried literally every kind thats ever been made and never been able to find one I like.
Before you braid, you Cowboy Magic that bitch upppp. This provides a leave in conditioner and prevents hair breakage. You divide the tail into three even sections and braid LOOSELY. Then you double under a few times until you have a braid ball, pulling braid through itself. Then, pull a sock over the braided ball and duct tape where the knot balls up. Then you pull the remaining sock fabric over the duct tape and the ball and BAM, there ya go. I know that was super helpful and not at all confusing.
I would usually un-do, re brush and re-cowboy magic every 2-3 weeks or as needed. Takes a TON of practice to get perfect but once you nail it, you gucci. Once a month I will trim a little bit off the bottom to keep the edge clean and sharp. This also gets rid of straggles and overall makes a better picture.
|Just checking on hairs, nothing to see here|
In addition to that, I fed a biotin supp form Smartpak. I TRULY saw a difference when I began feeding this. Originally it was suggested to help Yankee's terrible feet, but I noticed his hairs would grow like weeds. Now all my horses get it 12 months out of the year. Its miraculous.
Sometimes, I would MTG the tailbone. A lot of people, myself included, think it helps stimulate hair growth. The key is to not over saturate and ONLY get near the skin/pores. I hear this stuff reeks, so its up to you if you use it. Also have to shake really really well. Hassle, but I've seen it work not only on tail hair, but injured areas as well. Its a pretty magical substance.
When I first got B his tail was....wimpy
|First ride, May 30th|
I began a strict regime of MTG because I could NOT keep a tail ball in his tail. I firmly believe that it was too thin to hold one in, so for months I kept it VERY short and MTG'ed, Cowboy Magicked the ends and started him on Biotin.
7 months has made a difference, but I doubt it will ever be truly full like yanks is.
For now, his tail is being kept up in a braid and vetwrap combination because socks refuse to stay intact in his tail. Not ideal, but keeps it clean and up out of the way so it doesnt get snagged on stuff and things.
So dear readers....what do you do for tails? Do you obsess like I do? Give none? Do you wash once a year and leave it the rest of the time? Brush once a week? Tailbag it? Do you just not care?
Feed me your secrets!