I actually used tube socks for my horses tail while he was in pasture (with other horses including mouthy two year olds).... we have gotten considerable growth (three to six inches on the groud depending on how uncurled his tail is from being braided). I leave it in the tail sock but wash, condition, and hair dryer dry it every two weeks or slightly less. I never brush the tail. I always hand comb it.
For the mane, I have been spraying a mix of conditioner and water on it every time I see him (four days a week)... I spray both the top side and the under side in four sprays making vertical lines in his mane... then I wipe the lines down the hairs so the mixture covers the mane.... it looks great... I also spray extra on the spot along his neck that he sticks through a fence to eat the grass on the other side of the fence.... so far, softer has prevented him from entirely going bald in that spot.
Over the tube sock, I have begun applying a tail bag that has "hair" so he can swish flys.... it is sturdy and a bit on the long side.... I remove both for rainy weather.
"Equine-facilitated therapy employs a form of biofeedback for practicing self-awareness, emotional management, and relationship skills that human role-playing exercises and discussion groups cannot begin to access." Linda Kohanov (The Tao of Equus)