My arab has a really short tail. Would it be better to bag it or can I just braid it (maybe so he can have something for flies)? I'm just wondering if I can get the same effects. I braid his mane and its growing pretty good.
Bagging it will protect the hair from elements and swishing. Which in turn will allow it to grow better. If you are worried about flies then you can still bag it up and tie on some pieces of twine to mimic the hair.
What I do... (cheap too)
Is I braid it down, and pull out a few long hairs to releive pressure on the tailbone, and so he/she has something to get flies. Then you wrap it up (infront or behind, doesn't matter) and then loop it through a top braid. Then wrap it around until it is a little ball of braided hair. Then wrap it in vet-wrap... Or go to a hospital, and they give away a bunch of free Co-Ban flesh colored wrap, and you can get truckloads of that for free. A finnished product example would be half the pictures of my horse... You can leave it in for up to three months, and there is no matinence, keeps it clean, and away from elements :)
If you just braid, they can swat the flies but if they are a hard tail swisher they can actually whip cuts on themself depending on the braid (my quarterhorse used to do this).
I usually make mine, like this: Just sew a generic sort of pouch about 20-25 inches long (whatever you think you need to fit the tail in, if you make it a little wide you can double it up). When you do the top sew in a couple of ribbons to pull through your braid and tie. On the bottom sew in a LOT of yarn about 3 feet or so in length. In groups of about 4-6 strands of the yarn tie knots in the ends (bottom) to put weight on your yarn. I used to tie beads into the bottoms of my yarn but some horses just whip themselves too hard for beads.... anyway you want it to have enough weight that when they swish they can make the false tail of the bag swish the flies
Sometimes I wrap vetwrap around the top to help hold it in place a bit better too, especially if there are stablemates that like to pull them off.