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Ok so one of my mares has a tail that has some problematic hair. It tangles so easily and right now has a HUGE knot (dread) in it. It feels like a log. I spent almost 4 hours one day brushing it out and although progress was made, it didn't completely rid the tail of the knot and it's almost back to the state it was in at the beginning with the knot. I mean I went after that thing with a can of WD40 and cowboy Magic and a wire brush and wide toothed comb.

Husband thinks I should just cut the knot out, but that would remove about half of her tail length. Any tips or thoughts on that? I've never cut any of my horses hair minus a few trimmings here and there-- and I've always been advised not to cute the tail but because of the purposes of swatting off horseflys.
 

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It takes perseverance and patience but it can be done - working the entire knot out. Often just a few strands at a time. Once done then you have to keep after it often to prevent reoccurence.
 

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I have never had such a terrible knot, but I've had bad ones. One thing I did is to try to identify the source of the knot and cut a little tiny part of it out, then see where that got me. In some cases, once you cut out part of the knot, you can detangle the rest of it. If no one has any better solutions, this is surely a better option than just cutting the whole thing out, because if it doesn't work you can still just cut it all out, whereas once you've cut it all out there's obviously no going back.
 
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A couple of vertical snips into the bottom of the knot might help free things up without losing too much length. Yes, she'd lose some hair, but it's worth a try before cutting the whole thing out!
 

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We had a draft that was purchased from overseas and spent time in quarantine with no one grooming for an extended time. Actually he had been neglected prior to purchase as well but the owner (new) figured the old owner would groom him before shipping. He had that hair that would form massive dreads. My stallion used to do the same. Stool, hay bag, pick, metal comb, warm water and detangler for soaking and time, lots of time. You can make s couple of well placed slices with a box cutter but you'll lose hair and not know how much lost until done.



We sat there quite literally for hours with this horse tied with a hay bag without a break then took lunch and started up again for the rest of the afternoon. You can work for what seems like forever before you seem to make any headway but you get there eventually.
 

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Ok so one of my mares has a tail that has some problematic hair. It tangles so easily and right now has a HUGE knot (dread) in it. It feels like a log. I spent almost 4 hours one day brushing it out and although progress was made, it didn't completely rid the tail of the knot and it's almost back to the state it was in at the beginning with the knot. I mean I went after that thing with a can of WD40 and cowboy Magic and a wire brush and wide toothed comb.

Husband thinks I should just cut the knot out, but that would remove about half of her tail length. Any tips or thoughts on that? I've never cut any of my horses hair minus a few trimmings here and there-- and I've always been advised not to cute the tail but because of the purposes of swatting off horseflys.
What you will want to do is cut through the dread with scissors, where you can clearly see thick strands of hair holding together the dread. If you can, try to work your hands into the dread and just pull, hard, in opposite directions to pull the dread into two separate pieces. Cut whatever connections remain between the two, and work from there. If you still can't get into the dreads, repeat the process of cutting whats wrapped around each side, pull it apart, repeat.

When I got my mare, her mane must have not been brushed through in at least a year. It was one solid matted sheet, with several thick dreads throughout. I spent 4 hours at it with this method, and Cowboy Magic and Argan Oil. I actually didn't loose much length, I would even say it looked longer afterwards.
 

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My daughter's horse had a knot like that, it was like a big baseball bat! He had it for 2 years, sad because he was a horse show that had itbraided and bagged before. When he was here for some rehab I decided to tackle the tail. I thoroughly soaked it an expensive salon hair conditioner, Matrix, and used my fingers and a wet brush to get it out. It took over an hour but that tail was beautiful when I finished. I believe the conditioner and the special wet brush (Google it), made all the difference.
 

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These knots can be problematic but are not impossible to get rid of.

Get a bottle of conditioner, get a dog comb with a handle, medium teeth space.

Soak the tail and then put on masses of conditioner and work that into the hair.

Start at the BOTTOM of the tail. Lay the hairmacross your thigh and start to comb through the hair holding the mass with one hand, you might only have some of the tail to start but combing slowly a little higher each time you will get through the mass.

Some hair might and will be pulled away and you might have to work on the knots separately from the free hair but it can be done.
 

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If getting the knot out doesn’t work, I wouldn’t be afraid of cutting the tail. I bang my dressage horse’s tail to their hocks at least twice a year ( normally during spring and winter to keep the ends away from mud and ice). They grow back quite fast, I’d say within a few months, then I do trims throughout the year. My horses both have thick hair to begin with, but I particularly like that banging the hair makes the bottom even more full when it grows out.

Just like us, a good hair cut every now and then is good for encouraging healthy hair growth.
 

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What I've found to work the best is mineral oil. Go buy a gallon of it and start working on it. I've gotten out massive hard matt balls out of a tail in about an hour or less with mineral oil.

I get it all worked in and start pulling hairs from the edge that will just slide out with my fingers. Seriously, sometimes it's almost one hair at a time sometimes a few more, but it goes faster if you don't try to loosen to much at a time. I keep doing this until there is no more ball. I usually end up with a handful of hair that comes out but surprisingly very little. Add more oil as needed when working on the tail. When all done wash it out with shampoo. Tail will be silky soft.
 
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I have a gelding with a very long mane and tail who is basically semi feral, that is disgustingly prone to dreads. The absolute best thing I've found is baby oil. Saturate the dread and pick apart with your fingers, or for particularly nasty logs, cut a couple slices in the middle of the worst part, in no particular direction, and start picking apart with your fingers. Usually the hair that is cut doesn't affect the length anymore than normal because the worst of the mat would be pulled out anyway!
 

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I'm a trail rider. I always keep tails at least 8" above the ground. I hate crap dragging around.
I am also a lazy groomer. I will try and clear the knot with my fingers. If that isn't easily done I cut UP into the knot. Some hair is lost but usually I can't even tell where the knot was. I'm also not above using a squirt of Show Sheen into the mess.
 

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Try coconut oil. I have a mare that manages to put huge tangles in her tail every year. It only takes about an hour to get them out. The trick is to work a small bit at a time. Take a come and separate a small strand. Use your fingers to pull it through.
 
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