Picking out a Rat's Nest in Tail - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 05-15-2013, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Picking out a Rat's Nest in Tail

This horse has a tremendously thick tail and he's inclined to rub at the base of his tail and make the worst rat's nest. Never have I seen such a mess. Over the winter I began picking at it until he became irritated. Little headway was made. It might have been on HP about using corn starch so I gave it a try. It works better than the silicone based products. I smushed it in then began pulling hairs on the outer edge and to my surprise they let go. I wish I'd bro't the camera. Half his tail hung down and the remaineder was a big thick bush, tightly curled like a perm. A little shampoo water relaxed the hair so it hung down. Tomorrow I'll give it a good shampoo and rinse and maybe thin it
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-15-2013, 10:06 PM
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Good to hear, I'll keep that one in my bag of tricks. Baby oil and when it's warm enough coconut oil are my favorites at the moment.

I will have to try the corn starch trick for getting the big burrs out of my dogs coat as well.
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post #3 of 17 Old 05-15-2013, 10:10 PM
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I've found that slobbering it with cheap conditioner works fairly well, too (When ever I am near a dollar store I grab some conditioner for such cases)- then i can usually pick it out pretty easily without breaking the hairs or having a crinkle. Never heard of corn starch. Good luck!
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-16-2013, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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A big positive when using cornstarch there is no concern about the animal's skin reacting to it. It doesn't have to be washed out.
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-16-2013, 12:01 PM
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Thats true, I just never thought of that (cornstarch) ... Guess I'm gonna have to get myself some and try it. My "princess" acts like she is about to drop dead if a leaf gets stuck in her mane (heaven forbid there's a knot!)
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-16-2013, 12:41 PM
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I bought a horse who essentially had a massive dreadlock as a tail, but all below the end of the bone. I tried combs, conditioners, the lot... however, the only thing that eventually worked was stripping it down with a sharp knife, just methodically slicing through all the mats. Took about six hours over three days. Eventually it got to a state where the conditioner started to have an effect, and I was able to comb it normally. Probably lost 7 or 8 inches of length, but since all the new hairs were going directly into the dreadlock, it wasn´t getting any longer anyway.
Of course, if your boy´s rats´nest is at the top of his tail, then a knife probably isn´t the best solution... :)

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post #7 of 17 Old 05-17-2013, 07:50 AM
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We have a horse that is constantly rubbing his tail (he's been wormed, had a fecal count multiple times, his sheath has been cleaned by his owner and by the vet, he's leased out for 4H so a tail is slightly important..) we ended up shaving it..and he's STILL rubbing, lol.

However, the last horse we shaved the top half of her tail off due to mats (she had issues with her female parts, vet thought cancer but she's in her mid-late 20s and said the only other thing we could do to figure out exactly whats wrong is to have her scoped, which we decided against due to her age), her tail has grown in BEAUTIFULLY, and it's thicker than what it was before.
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-23-2013, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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destiny, are the mosquitoes out or other biting bugs? A horse lifts it's tail when it walks and guess who goes under there to dine? Also, they'll lunch where the hair is shorter near the top of the tail. Slather lots of petroleum both on the underside and the top side. The bugs will leave it alone. The relief should stop the rubbing.
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-23-2013, 10:30 PM
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Cowboy Magic works wonders! A little pricey, but worth it.
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-23-2013, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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No one sells it around here. I'd added a very small amount of Mane and Tail shampoo to a bucket of water and drizzled it on the tail as best I could. At least it straightened out the bushy mess I'd created after working out the rat's nest. A few days of hard rain rinsed any soap residue that may have remained. His tail looks good for the first time in a year. Now to work the mats out of the other one's mane. Those just happened with that past few days.
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