How can I keep my horse's white tail sparkly clean?
Yikes....that's one yellow tail! Of course, tails get dirty from lot of things...wet bedding, rolling in the dirt or grass, urine (mares...), products that act as glue for dirt, you name it. It's always a challenge to keep a healthy, and clean, and white tail. Start from the inside out, with good nutrition. A common theme, that nutrition! Here's the link to a previous article about nutrition and hair/mane/tail coats....
If you have a mare, your task will be a bit harder than if you had a gelding. The jury is still out on if you should use a tail bag or not. Some say if the tail bag gets wet with urine, it just amplifies the stain on the tail. Others say the bag gets every last strand away from the urine stream.
A lot of us like those blueing shampoos, and have used them with success. They will, however, turn your tail lavender if left on too long, and in general they are very drying and can cause the fragile tail hairs to break. I have found that if I use the blueing shampoos, the tail can become brittle that the stains set in harder and faster. It's up to you to decide if you need them (like before a show.)
I will wash the tail about once every 2 weeks (or even longer, depending on the ick factor). That is my horse's tail in the photos for this article. I waited about 3 weeks for the above photo so that I could get it nice and grungy. I used warm water to wet the tail, a mild shampoo to lather, and I and worked from top to bottom, before rinsing with warm water. No matter the brand you use, I always suggest mild and gentle first. The after picture (below) was taken the same day after the tail dried. A simple shampoo did the trick for me for a few reasons - good nutrition and oily skin and hair - add some products for stain repelling magic and tah-dah.
If you like a conditioner, try and choose one that rinses easily. I find that even a tiny residue can irritate the tail skin, and act as a magnet for dirt after the tail is dry. A rinse before and after shampoo with distilled white vinegar can help you remove stains, too. Although, some folks swear by apple cider, too.
For detanglers, I love them. They coat and protect the hair and will serve as stain repelling goodness. Most are light enough you can use them daily.
Any other tips for those blinding white tails?