Severely matted - where to start? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-25-2015, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Severely matted - where to start?

So I help out at a barn that left their draft horse mix in pasture for a long time and didn't bother grooming him often. I'm there most of the week to help with camp and thought I would try and help this poor fellow out with his tail with some free time while i'm there. I think I need a whole week just to get his tail fixed if it's even possible. Here is a picture not of him but one i found on the internet that is exactly his problem. The whole thing is twisted and in one HUGE knot. It's like holding a stick! Can't even work one strand out!!! It's that bad. Where do I start in my little time I have? I tried soaked it with detangler, didn't work.
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-25-2015, 11:08 AM
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Personally I would just cut it off.

Short of that, get some cowboy magic and start at the bottom carefully picking at the strands until they start to come loose.
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-25-2015, 11:27 AM
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I have a LOT of experience at this.....only cut one in all the years I have done it!

Use the Mane N Tail Detangler. Use a spikes type brush...I like the Oster round one. The blue holds up a lot longer than the pink.

Spray the mat until it is wet. Rub it into the mat. Hold the mat in your non dominant hand, and brush the edge until you see the method of tangle net, then unwrap as much as you can, then proceed. Re spray as necessary.

Take all the time you need. It does not need to be done all at once. Spray it before you start everytime, though.
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post #4 of 15 Old 06-25-2015, 11:28 AM
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I have loosened tails and manes that looked like that. As gssw5 says, use a good silicon spray and start at the bottom. It will take time so make sure your horse is comfortable, maybe has a hay net to keep him occupied, and don't be in a hurry.

He will likely still lose some of that to breakage but it can be done.
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post #5 of 15 Old 06-25-2015, 12:28 PM
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I've seen worse. Cowboy Magic or any detangler will help, but mostly elbow grease. Pull strands from the outside first and use your FINGERS. Work to free small portions. This will take a good hour to detangle. Then braid it and hold with show rubber bands. Sometimes knotting takes place in turnout on windy days. This doesn't look like anybody has brushed out this tail in about a year. Seriously?!?
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-25-2015, 12:29 PM
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I've cleaned worse. Lots of good advice, regarding untangling.

Bring a lot of patience to the cleaning event. You might even want to try and pull the matting into two sections, with the goal of getting one section done now, and the other section later.

If you tell yourself you don't have to get it all cleaned at once, it won't be as overwhelming, if your arms wear out
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-25-2015, 01:14 PM
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I agree, start at the bottom. Apply something slick ( I like Cowboy magic) & to save your fingers try a hoof pick to loosened the hairs. The newer style with the larger rubber handle will save your hands too.
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-25-2015, 07:51 PM
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If you are in a big hurry, you can try this.. it will leave an ugly looking tail.. take some scissors cut in the direction of the mat from the bottom of the tail bone , down toward his fetlock.
it will open the mat, so you can try to detangle from there. There could be hay, stickers ,burrs, small twigs in that mess. if his tail is docked, find the end of the tail bone and cut it off the tail, but with a tail that long I doubt if he has had his tail docked.
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post #9 of 15 Old 06-26-2015, 07:51 AM
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Cowboy Magic will work wonders on his tail, take a good dollop in your hand, rub your hands together and then work it through the tail as much as you can. As others have said, start from the bottom and work up.

Or, Greentree had a great idea too with the conditioner, you can use that and while working on the tail once it is wet, work a decent amount in, don't wash it out, but work from the bottom up and use that to help untangle the poor boys tail. Once done then wash and clean his tail and braid it up.
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post #10 of 15 Old 06-26-2015, 11:39 AM
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I use the mane n tail Detangler...there is a new one by Corona that is pretty good, it has a flowery smell that the other doesn't. I buy whichever is cheapest, because I have a LOT of hair in my barn!
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