GIANT mat in new horse's tail - Help! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 05-11-2010, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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GIANT mat in new horse's tail - Help!

Hi! I have a bit a back story before I get to the real issue. My nieghbor's friend gifted us an 11 yo Rocky Mountain mare about 2.5 months ago. She's shy and stubborn - but coming around nicely. They said she was trained well until about 3 years ago when she became basically a pasture ornament and got no attention at all.

This past weekend we worked up to hooking a lead rope on her. To my surprise, she stood perfectly still while on a lead. So, I took the opportunity to begin working on her mane. I got all the knots out of the mane and forelock and she cleaned up beautifully.

Then, I moved around to her tail. Yuck! Pretty much the whole tail, minus about 4" at the top, 4" at the bottom is one giant mat. We're talking 3-4" diameter and about 3' long. What do I do?? I bought some Cowboy Magic conditioner/detangler but I don't know if even there's enough magic in the tube to help.

How long should I expect to work on a mat that size? If I can only get some combed out in weekend, will it be ok to wait until the next weekend to work on it again? What's the best type of comb to use for this type of project?
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post #2 of 27 Old 05-12-2010, 10:49 AM
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If you want to save as much of the tail as possible, DO NOT use any comb or brush. Get some Show Sheen or something like that and spray it on. Use your fingers, starting from the bottom, to slowly separate the hairs working your way up. If you're not interested in saving as much hair as possible, you can try using a comb, or my favorite, an Oster tail brush, but with a knot that size you're likely to break a comb or brush. Let us know how it goes.

PS It might take a few hours or a few days, depending on how much hair you want to save.

Last edited by aforred; 05-12-2010 at 10:49 AM. Reason: I'm forgetful, LOL
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post #3 of 27 Old 05-12-2010, 04:00 PM
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Human hair detangler works nicely as well. Try working on just bits at a time, working from the bottom up. One of my geldings had a tail with mats in it as well. I ended up cutting them out because I am not very patient, and he still had tail left to swat the flies.


In the dog grooming world, there is something called a mat splitter. It basically cuts vertical lines in a mat, helping you to detangle it (using scissors in a vertical manner (careful of the tail bone!) on the mat would have the same effect). It would most likely make your horse have a sparse tail, but it might get the job done a bit quicker.
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post #4 of 27 Old 05-12-2010, 05:19 PM
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Honestly I would just cut it out right to the skin. It will grow back.

Spent a whole hour today laying in a pasture, waiting for a sparkling vampire to show up. Alas, I woke up and looked over, only to find a mound of horse crap. Sigh.
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post #5 of 27 Old 05-12-2010, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draftrider View Post
Honestly I would just cut it out right to the skin. It will grow back.
Yeah thats the lazy unnessesary answer. Show sheen is your friend. Use your fingers or a brush. Just start at the bottum and work your way up.
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post #6 of 27 Old 05-12-2010, 07:36 PM
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I would get a bucket and fill it with warm water and a load of Mane N Tail conditioner. Soak it for 15 minutes then put a lot more of the mane n tail on it. work from the bottom to the top picking it with your fingers. add more mane n tail as you get closer to the top to loosen the knot. then after you are done rinse the tail!
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post #7 of 27 Old 05-12-2010, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosethorn View Post
I would get a bucket and fill it with warm water and a load of Mane N Tail conditioner. Soak it for 15 minutes then put a lot more of the mane n tail on it. work from the bottom to the top picking it with your fingers. add more mane n tail as you get closer to the top to loosen the knot. then after you are done rinse the tail!
That sounds like a very good idea. I think I like this one the best, and you damage too much hair!
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post #8 of 27 Old 05-12-2010, 09:26 PM
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Another good one I have used which sounds goofy is WD-40 and work it our with your hands slowly
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post #9 of 27 Old 05-12-2010, 09:32 PM
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I had a MFT filly I rescued that had a knot of a tail and I thought for sure I would have to cut part of it. I only ran my pocket knife through it once and I was surprised how well the Cowboy Magic detangler works..It also leaves it soft..I have used Show sheen for years but it hasn't anything on the Cowboy Magic as far as getting bad knots out....

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post #10 of 27 Old 05-13-2010, 05:43 AM
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Depends how tight the matting is. Photo would be helpful. Draftriders suggestion of just chopping the hair right back may well be the only solution if the matting is severe.

If it's not impossible matting though, I would DROWN it in a good conditioner. So wet it, the load the conditioner in, rub it in as much as you possibly can. Leave it to sit in her tail for a day, then rinse out, and repeat for as long as it takes. Loading it with products such as show sheen is ok but if it is genuine matting taking up all of the tail. it will cost you a fortune and take a lot of time to get it out using specialised products.

The drowning it in conditioner will help to break down the bulk of the matting, and THEN you can start with the show sheen etc. baby oil is also a good one to use in place of the mega expensive products.
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