Should you pick or brush your horse’s tail?
Depends on your discipline, and depends on how much of a rebel you want to be. I say that only a little bit jokingly… Every show jumping Groom I have ever known swears by only picking the shavings and grass and hay bits from tails, never brushing. Most of the dressage Grooms I know employ a method of adding product and brushing. I know event Grooms that do a combo of the two techniques, and I know Saddlebred Grooms that sweat by knots, and I know some Grooms that don’t do a darn thing until show day.
It's like their tails are velro and the universe is sticky stuff.
So… what’s it going to be?
Tail picking takes a bit of time and patience. But, if you keep the tail clean and conditioned, the shavings slide out easily and tangles are avoided. Dirty tails are sticky tails! I also think that a picked tail looks super natural, and perhaps a bit fuller. This may be a bonus for the wispy tailed horses out there.
Brushing your horse’s tail can leave the tail untangled and sleek, which looks good on a lot of horse rear ends. It’s best to start from the bottom and work your way, perhaps with the help of some shine product to coat the hair or a bit of detangler. Your choice.
But here’s the one thing to remember…. and this applies to all methods of tail maintenance…
HAIR WILL FALL OUT. That’s how hair works… it grows, it stops growing for a bit, it falls out to make room for a new piece of hair. It happens to us, it happens to our horses. For more on how hair grows, and how to maximize growth, read this gem.
Now… What you want to do is minimize breakage and tangles. The falling out is generally totally out of our control. So play around with picking, brushing, bagging, different products, and find what works for you. Generally speaking - keeping the tail clean, soft, and conditioned will take you far. Daily attention is also a huge factor - no good can come of attending to your horse’s tail once a month. If it goes against the grain of your discipline’s usual methods, we will know just how much of a rebel you really are.
Do you pick or brush? Or braid and bag?