Why would I want to braid my horse's tail or use a tail bag?
Tails can be a definitive personality trait of some horses - swishy, or flowing, or just hangin’ out. It can be quite hard to care for tails, but I’ll give it a whirl and describe some things that may work for your horse.
First, make sure your horse isn’t too itchy and therefore rubbing the tail bone. You can also read more about how to feed your horse correctly for maximum tail growth.
For the most part, keeping a tail clean and healthy can get complicated. For me, the biggest challenge is working with a horse that lives outside, as mine do. For some reason, dirt is so much fun… and a dirty sticky tail is no fun at all to deal with. (Here are some tips on washing a tail, which you may need to do more often for the mud princesses out there).
Some horse folks like to put one long braid into their horse tails, starting below the tail bone. For a tail that’s extra thick, you may need to do more than one long braid. This is a great way to do a leave in conditioning or detangler treatment, just be sure the tail bone is free from product, which sometimes causes tail rubbing. You can coat the tail with your choice of conditioner (or not) and braid in a loose fashion. You could secure the ends with a rubber mane band, but I prefer to use an elastic hair band for people. Some are “no breakage” which helps, too.
Advantages to braiding the tail down:
- Can help keep clean
- For wispy tails, wind knots won’t be an issue
- Can make a deep conditioning treatment easier
- Can help prevent breakage and damage
- Creates nice waves
- Very little fly swatting capability
- You may need to re-do every day
- The outside of the braid may get extra dirty if doing a conditioning treatment
You also have the option of using a tail bag to protect your horse’s tail. This can be done over your braid, and should be fastened well below the tail bone. I recommend that you check these every single day. Tail bags definitely help with keeping a tail clean, and come in amazing colors and patterns. The downside is that many horses really dislike wearing them, and fly swatting is really diminished. You also need to make sure that your mare’s urine stays away from the bag, otherwise you will have more than just laundry to deal with...ugh…
As always, lots of choices!