As soon as the flys disappear all of my horses tails get braided and bagged. I only use the lightest weight tail bags I can find or make my own, a lot of heavier fabrics (or the 3 tube type braid in bags) can break or weaken the hair at the roots where it is tied in.
In the summer I usually shampoo and condition my mares every other week and my geldings may get washed and shampooed every 3 weeks unless they are really dirty. To much washing can be bad and weaken hair from stripping all of the natural oils out. If I have a horse that has a really wimpy tail (my appy mare) I will always finish with a leave in conditioner. I never comb without using some type of detangler (even olive oil or coconut oil can be used) AND NEVER COMB WHEN THE HAIR IS WET! It is much more likely to snap and break off.
Some other tricks I have used over the years:
- Baby shampoo is great! Doesn't have any harsh detergents that strip all the natural oils out and its cheap.
- Do your own hot oil treatments with Olive Oil or Coconut Oil. Just warm the oil in a microwave (dont burn your horse! It doesn't need to be hot, just warm) and slather it on the tail starting at the roots all the way down. Braid the tail and let it set for awhile or even overnight. I have also wrapped the tail in saran? Wrap and bagged it overnight.
-Never use oil products when the horse is going to be turned out in the sun. This will only make it easier for the horses hair to bleach out and no one wants that! Lol
- Never use sweet/perfumed/ fruity scented conditioners in the summer. This will only attract bugs and flies and will cause your horse to switch his tail like a made man, you want less knots and tangles. Save those for the fall and winter months.
- When braiding, start loose at the root and don't braid all the way down to the fragile ends. Leave a 3-5" portion un-braided at the end or stop braiding when the hair becomes thinner.
- Never pull rubber bands out of the hair, carefully cut one rubber strand and unwrap them. Childrens fabric covered metal free rubber bands work great as well and wont cause as much breakage over time.