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Recently we were at a horse show and noticed the perfectly groomed manes and tails of many of the participants. Seeing these horses made me wonder how owners straighten a horse’s mane and tail hair.
Straightening a horse’s mane and tail can seem pretty daunting. Many people use a flat iron, but you have to be careful around the dock and be cautious not to burn the hair. To straighten a horse’s mane, a wet brush works well. Braiding overnight can cause brittle hair to break.
Grooming your horse is very important and serves multiple purposes. It is a perfect time to bond with your horse, and a straightened mane and tail always look good and make them easier to maintain.
But how to do that? Following some grooming tips can naturally make your horse’s mane and tail hair straight. Special gloves for grooming make working with your horse’s hair much easier.
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Grooming Tips for Straight Mane & Tail Hair
When it comes to tails, people view them as long and flowing, similar to Rapunzel’s hair. The horse’s tail doesn’t signify anything about the individual horse.
However, people prefer stereotypically pretty and attractive horses with long and flowing tails. Similarly, people like their horse’s mane groomed, slick, clean, and thick.
A clean and thick mane is more manageable, too. A fun fact – horses enjoy being brushed! Grooming the mane and tail ensures a shiny coat and good health as it removes dirt and dust that causes dry and itchy skin.
You’ll also come across any irregularities or abrasions when you groom your horse thoroughly. You can adequately wash the tail and let it dry completely before bagging it.
You can also take a small section, plait it and attach a tail bag to that. However, with some horses, the weight can pull the hair out and damage it.
Don’t Use Extensions.
You may spot a horse having an unnatural-looking tail thickness, and the lower ½ of the tail doesn’t have shorter hair. That’s hair extensions. Hair extensions are tall, thick tail hairs glued or attached to the natural hair of horses.
Tail extensions are an artificial solution for your horse to look pretty and clean. Instead, groom and take care of your horse’s tail.
Grooming of the tail and mane often is essential as it stimulates the mane and tail’s roots. Stimulation helps in growing hair naturally. Taking good care of the mane and tail is overall beneficial for the horse’s health.
If you use a human hairbrush, chances are you might pull it out and break the hair. Use a wide-tooth comb or dandy brushes for combing your horse’s mane and tail. Your fingers work the best, as this ensures the hair is untangled without breaking.
No matter what method you use, start combing at the bottom of the tail, and then go up. Even if you hit a tangle, this will prevent pulling out hair. Proper combing ensures consistency and straight hair.
Grow a Long Mane
Letting a mane grow long with proper grooming will give you natural straight hair. With a longer mane, you can easily tame it to one side. Wet- brush it to give it a refined look.
For taming it to one side, you can loosely braid it. Loose and wide braids are very comfortable for horses and keep the mane contained, which gives a straightened look. To give it a fancy look, you can use human hair ties rather than braiding elastics.
The following video gives excellent instructions on making and applying a homemade mixture to help your horse grow a long and healthy mane and tail.
No to Excessive Washing
For a shiny, straightened look, you want a nice, long tail. To encourage growth, cleaning the tail is very important. However, that doesn’t mean you have to wash it daily.
It is recommended that you wash the tail and mane weekly for the initial month. Later, you can wash once every two weeks. Also, rinsing the shampoo out thoroughly is essential.
If you come across a gummy feeling or light grey color at the tail bone’s base, this means some amount of shampoo is still left and wasn’t washed out thoroughly.
To clean the hair at the roots, I recommend using a wash-out conditioner right after shampooing. You can use warm water for this as it conditions better. After rinsing the wash-out conditioner, apply a leave-in hair conditioner.
This combination will give you a tangle-free and shiny consistency; now, you just brush out the hair for a straightened look.
Never Comb Wet Hair
Wet hair stretches. If you try brushing the mane and tail when they’re wet, it can cause damage. Always let them dry up and then try to comb through the mane and tail. You don’t want a thin and frizzy tail.
Take Care of Straightened Tail Extensions
If you’re using mane or tail extensions, they need to be shampooed and conditioned just like a real tail. For taking care of mane or tail extensions, make sure to use high-quality horse shampoos and conditioners.
The hairs are tightly bound at the top of the tail extension. Don’t get that area wet or covered in shampoo as even slight moisture can make it look rotten. Similarly, don’t soak the mane or tail extension in a bucket.
Once you thoroughly rinse it, attach the mane or tail extension when it’s completely dry. Completely dried extensions enhance the straightened look.
Bang a Tail
Banging a tail refers to trimming the bottom of a horse’s tail. Depending on the tail’s natural length, at the fetlock, just bang the tail a couple of inches from the ground. For a finished bang, you’ll have to use sharp scissors or a pair of clippers.
Banging the tail gives a boxy, thick, shiny, and straightened appearance. Just like human hair needs trimming for an enhanced look, the same goes for tails as well. You don’t want wavy, dead ends and an untextured look for your horse’s tail.
Comb out the hair, wet it, and then bang it. Make sure to cut the longest hair across the bottom.
Keep the Mane and Tail Moisturised.
One of the common reasons horses rub their tails is because the skin is dry or the tail is dirty. A Dirty tail attracts parasites. After shampooing, moisturizing the skin and hair is essential.
After adequately rinsing the shampoo, take a small amount of conditioner and apply it to the tail’s dock. Massage it for 2-5 mins into the hair and skin. For long strands of hair, take some conditioner in your hands and apply it in long strokes with your hands.
Conditioners tend to clean all the residue accumulated by chemicals and minerals in the water. They go deep below the surface and moisturize hair and skin. Unmoisturized hair makes hair frizzy and dead that doesn’t give a straightened look.
Don’t Brush Everyday.
You don’t want your horse’s mane and tail thin. Thick, glossy, and consistent hair is always valued. Brushing the mane and tail every day is inadvisable. Some suggest not brushing it at all.
A brushed-out mane looks nice and pretty. However, if you brush it every day, the mane will get thinner and thinner. A long strand that is pulled out takes a lot of time to re-grow. Thin hair looks unappealing and frizzy, which impacts the overall health of the horse as well.
Your efforts to improve your horse’s mane and tail won’t work if you’re not providing proper nutrition to your horse. Necessary proteins and amino acids stimulate healthy hair growth.
Make sure your horse’s diet is rich and includes quality forage and feed. Take your time to learn more about your horse. Grooming is the only time you are with your horse. Take all the efforts necessary to make your horse healthy and beautiful.
I love animals! Especially horses, I’ve been around them most of my life but I am always learning more and enjoy sharing with others. I have bought, sold, and broke racehorse yearlings. I have raised some winning horses and had some that didn’t make it as racehorses, so we trained them in other disciplines.