(From Clare's article archives, Circa 2010-2015)
This is a subject in and of itself.
Specifically for bathing, I find it easier to brush the tail out once it is dry.
The very most important thing about the tail is
that you take great care to not pull any of it out!
So, always lots of Showsheen before brushing out the tail!
Tail hair takes forever to grow out!
And you want the tail to be as full and long as possible.
This is not only for aesthetics, but also for nature's purpose for the tail:
the horse using it effectively to keep the flies off its body.
This leads me to the subject of tail bags.
Tail bags are most popular with the western and breed-specific people
(Arab, Saddlebred, Morgan etc.)
I suppose that this is as good a place to discuss this as any.
I don't like the use of tail bags.
(except perhaps occasionally, for ease of grooming and
preparation for the night before a show, or a special occasion.)
I think that tail bags are uncomfortable for a horse.
And, it prevents the horse from being able to swish off flies.
Especially when a horse is working, I think they detest the feel of the tail bag.
I actually think it can make for an irritation and a bad working attitude.
I have had many a horse with a spectacular tail that never wore a tail bag in its life.
Again, tail bags are designed for the convenience of the human,
not the comfort or happiness of the horse!
Please keep this in mind when you go to put one on your equine friend.
If you need to protect an extremely long tail, my advise is to 'bang' it at ground level; and then use a fake tail when in competition.
Fake tails look fantastic, are completely realistic, and, believe it or not, not at all expensive!
Instead of torturing yourself and your horse with tail care:
I recommend just attaching a fake one when doing the final show prep before your class.
Dress you, dress your horse.
Brushing out the tail:
Always start at the bottom, and work your way up.
I brush out the tail as seldom as possible, just enough to keep it healthy, and before important events when the horse needs to look 'spick & span.'
Hold the whole of the tail in one hand, brush the bit of tail that is below your hand carefully as to not pull any out.
Gradually work your way up till you get to the top.
Then more Showsheen, and your good to go!
I do however, like to rigorously brush the dock of the tail every day,
as part of the daily grooming process.
In my experience, this keeps the dock healthy and 'itch free,'
important for the common 'rubbing-the-hair-out' problem.
There are tricks to this as well.
Caring for the Dock:
The dock of the horse's tail (the top part where the tail bone is), is a frustrating subject for most horse people.
I have a 'tried and true' fix for this.
Usually the tail problem is an issue in the summer.
Called 'the summer itch,' it can be caused by a tiny fly type bug called 'no see umms,' or by dirt, sweat or dandruff in the dock.
The best way to battle the horse rubbing
her dock, is this:
every day, brush briskly the dock of the tail.
This takes out the dead hairs.
Then squirt a bit of baby or mineral oil into the dock,
and actively brush it into the hair all the way to the skin of the dock.
If you do this, and make sure to always rinse the dirt and sweat all the way out of the dock when you shower, and you shampoo and condition the dock occasionally, you should be good to go, with no tail rubbing problems at all.
Be aware that if a horse has worms, they will often rub their tail as well, so please make sure that you have your horse on a good worming program.