I never knew brushing a tail would damage it! I brush Ali's mane and tail daily, since they are very long and thick and get really tangled up after only a few hours in the field.
To be honest, very little hair comes away. Like one or two strands at most.
Should I change my routine? She really likes having her mane and tail brushed. She gets all sleepy eyed and relaxed.
I wouldn't worry about it. I understand why people say it's damaging, but as long as you do it after the mane or tail is conditioned with something, never dry, (Coconut oil works as a wonderful detangler as well. But I'm just really partial to it.
), and take it slow from bottom to top, then it's possible with no hairs shed. I always start with a paddle brush, then take a wide tooth comb, and lightly go through it again. A horse with a thick tail, needs constant maintenance, and that involves brushing it out.
I am going to aim for a natural tail first, then I will consider a fake tail. (Which I am 99% sure isn't allowed in hunter jumper shows anyways)
Check with your organization to be sure, but most hunter and Eq shows allow tails. All of them in my area do anyways. It's not very practical in jumpers, since the jumps can be pretty funky, and it's fast paced, you don't want to be worrying about your tail extension.