Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ode to the tail

He may not be forward.  He may not be supple.  He may not even be overly cooperative.  But he has one hell of a tail.

Seriously, that tail looks like it's photoshopped in our photos from our most recent show.  He's on his forehand and behind my leg, but I can't take my eyes off of that tail.

It takes a lot of work to keep this thing in shape.

Every day I have to pick through it and remove sticks, hay, dirt clods, big tangles, and grape stems.  Every.  Dang.  Day.

I try to not brush it out every day, but some days nothing else will do.  In fly season, he's prone to get snarls where his hair will wrap around his dock and he'll end up with a mat on the underside of his tail.  I don't want him to rub, so that's a daily check.

I also avoid silicone except during his brush outs during show season.  In the off season?  Silicone free detanglers only.  Sunscreen a couple times a week helps when paired with his fly sheet with a tail flap.

I don't braid it up, it's naturally wavy.  He doesn't tolerate having his tail braided full time.

Once a week (or as needed because he's a monster), he gets a full brush out.  I coat his tail in detangler from top to bottom and let it sit for a couple minutes to make sure it's soaked in.  Then I start at the ends and work my way up carefully with a big paddle tail brush.

In the warm months, he gets a tail wash every two weeks.  He's prone to pooping in that tail and rubbing mud in it, so it takes a lot of care.  It takes about a 1/4 bottle of Quick Black and 30 minutes to wash his tail completely.  Quick Black really helps with keeping that sun burnt orange color out of his tail.  I use it on his body, too.  It really brings out his dapples.

I have to sit and part his tail over and over to get down to his dock and get rid of all of the dead skin.  I'm so happy we have a wash rack now.  It used to be impossible without help and it's hard to find someone that will stand and hold your horse for 30 minutes while you wash his tail.

Theo loves it and dozes off while I scrub away.

Once it's clean, it gets slathered with EQyss conditioner.  That stuff is awesome.  Finally, finally, he gets stuck in a stall to dry.  Only once it's dry do I brush it out and trim the ends and a couple inches along his dock to keep him from getting big wings on his butt.

The end result?

Jet black, shiny, and the thing that gets the most comments.  Which is nice.  If they're looking at his tail, they're not noticing some of his other less flattering features.