Why and how do I wrap my horse's tail?
We wrap tails for a few reasons. During shipping and trailering, you can use a wrap around the dock to protect the hair and the bone from the end of the trailer or airplane container. This type of wrap also works well to "tame" the hairs at the top of the dock after a tail clipping or pulling. (You can read more about that here) You may also want to protect your horse's tail at a show if it's braided and he will be hanging out in his stall for part of the day.
You have a few choices if you need to wrap the tail. You can buy a neoprene and velcro version. These are super for trailering, easy on and easy off. Just know that neoprene doesn't breathe so well, so you may end up with a sweaty bum and tail.
You can also try an ace bandage. This works better for taming hairs than protecting the dock during shipping. Try not to wrap too tightly. During shipping, some folks also like to braid the tail loosely from the dock down. The purpose of this is to protect the tail hairs on the dock from being rubbed by a butt bar or back door on the trailer. Be sure to try this on the ground to be sure your horse can tolerate a tail wrap before you load up.
You may also want to wrap your horse's tail if it has been braided. This keeps the braid and hairs tidy in between classes, and in some cases overnight. An ace bandage is a great tool, just tuck the end into the wrap and skip the pointy metal clasp.
Some owners also wrap the tail in a tail bag, to protect it from urine, getting stepped on, or sun bleaching. This certainly helps the condition of the tail to remain clean and soft and detangled. However, you give up good fly swatting and sometimes a mare will actually get the tail bag soaked with urine, defeating the purpose. Make sure you have good fly control measures in place before you use a tail bag.
Take care when using a tail bag to avoid securing it near the dock. You should tie it just below the bone. Tail bags should also be checked every day to prevent hair damage and to check for urine on the bag.
What tips do you have for using tail protection and wraps?