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[SKIP]Since it's been so hot (110 F (43 C) + heat index), I am going to cut back on working my horse. But, I still want to spend some time with her. I have thought about working on her mane and tail. I used to just let whatever happen, happen. While I picked out the stick and bugs, I never brushed it or cut/pulled it and only washed it when it was soiled (you know how mares' tails get when they are in heat). Her mane and tail seem to be fine, other than being short. So, if you haven't figured it out, I am a mane and tail noob.

Obviously, mane and tail has to do with genetics. My horse isn't a Friesian or a Gypsy so that knee-length mane and tail-dragging-train-of-a-tail probably isn't going to happen. Her mane goes about halfway down her neck (horizontally) and her tail is about hock level. Yeah. Not great. Not bad.[/SKIP]

Nutrition:
I know that to have a good mane and tail, nutrition is a good place to start (working inside-out). What are some things to help mane and tail growth? She is an easy keeper on a ration balancer right now with 24/7/365 access to grass (although not great quality) and hay (not great quality, but not bad either). She is getting about 2,000+ mg vitamin E and 16+ mg biotin daily. What else is specific to mane and tail?


Topical:
I have heard people washing, conditioning, and braiding it every week. Sounds like that could get expensive... and high maintenance. Is that what it take to have a good mane and tail? I kind of care but also not really. I only trail ride so I don't need an immaculate mane and tail like the ones seen at shows. I don't mind the time, but I don't really want to spend megabucks a month on topicals.

I have heard that some people use MTG and really liked it and the results. Others have said that it is toxic and can cause bad sunburn and bad skin reactions. Depends on the horse?

What shampoo? "Avoid petroleum" seems like universal advice.
How often? Some people said every week or two but others say that is too often and strips that hair....

What conditioner? I have A LOT of leave-in that I do not use. Would leave-in be okay or should it be the kind that you wash out? The conditioner is made for humans. Is that okay or should it be specifically made for horses?
How often? Daily? Can you over-condition?

Braiding:
I have never braided a horse, ever. What are some general braiding tips? What are some good braids to use?

Many people suggest bagging the tail. I have seen many different ways to braid and brag that tail. Which one? Is it just personal preference or....?

Thanks.
 

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Unless your horse has a specific problem, all you have to do is comb the mane and tail regularly to keep it from being a tangled mess. That is IT.

For example,my horse rubs her tail head in summer because of the midge bites, so I put Equiderma lotion on it, which is a medicated lotion for that kind of irritation. I will wash it in medicated shampoo as well if it gets really bad. Sometimes I use a spray conditioner on her mane because, again in summer, it gets really dry and starts thinning and breaking, and she'll rub it because of the itchy dryness. In winter, I just comb the tangles out.

In my unhumble opinion, the whole mane and tail beauty treatment thing is just a way to separate horse owners from even more money. I am just as much of a sucker for a luxuriant wealth of mane and tail as the next person but I know my horse is going to look the way she looks (ordinary) no matter what I might do.

Braiding is for shows, or sometimes people braid up a horse's mane if it is especially thick, on long hot trail rides, to help them keep cooler. Usually you'll see a simple running braid in that case.

I'd much rather be riding than braiding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'd much rather be riding than braiding.
I would too, but with this heat. I might actually die. Besides, it's not fair for the horse. I can braid in the shade with a fan, but I can't always ride in the shade, let alone with a fan. :(
 

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From my personal observations...
The less you do with either mane or tail washing, actually brushing or combing I find the better.
Shampoo can dry the skin and root areas.
Brushing, combing....don't care how careful you are you break hairs and find them in the equipment used.
I do hand detangle and finger comb my horses manes all the time, but no brush/comb is used.
The tail I do the same thing with...
I section and do piece by piece with my fingers, opening knots and snarls by taking the time needed.
My horses tails all reach the ground, actually currently dragging and need a shortening so they not get caught, snagged and ripped out...
Their manes are all full length and longer than their neck is wide...
I do not allow their manes to get longer as they go get caught in and lose them on the brambles, blackberry bushes they haunt through looking for yummy fruits to snack on. :icon_rolleyes:
I do not "bathe" with shampoo often but do rinse and use a sponge on them to loosen the dried on sweat...the "yuck" accumulated they get.

So, growth of long and thick comes from genetics to start with.
We can help those genetics by feeding needed vitamins, minerals that promote growth...called good nutrition.
We can help them retain what they have by not using to much added of this or that goop to their man/tail and by not over-doing the washing with shampoo that everyone thinks needing done weekly if not more often occurs.
Most things we humans do needs done in moderation, the less the better.
Even feeding this or that...the horses metabolism is a very fine-tuned instrument of efficient.
A bit to much of this or that just knocked it out of whack and you end up with more a mess than if you just left it be...

So, fresh, clear water rinses and rubs with a sponge to remove crustiness...
If my horses get a soapy bath 3x a year that is a lot...if they have a reason needing a true bath that is different, but to just bathe with shampoo/soap...no.

Finger combing out knots and snarls...
I don't braid mane or tail cause when you think about it...you made this real pretty clump of hairs stuck together... now if they rub or snag they aren't taking a few hairs they may take out inches worth and create horrible voids in mane/tail that will take a year or more to fully grow back. :frown_color:
That's me...besides ever get whacked by a tail bag when the horse is trying to move a fly off...it hurts.
If Mother Nature intended our horses to have braids in mane or tail, she would of designed then as such.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Oh, but she did. As evidenced by those that has witches "braids". Can't get to the snort emoji. Genetics are not my friend with a couple of the gang. One of them would do full on dreads if you let it go. Made worse it seems by any product used to alleviate. Many hours spent carefully separating. When considering drafts I got to the point that I'd look at Hooves first and mane and tail second.
 

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[SKIP]Since it's been so hot (110 F (43 C) + heat index), I am going to cut back on working my horse. But, I still want to spend some time with her. I have thought about working on her mane and tail. I used to just let whatever happen, happen. While I picked out the stick and bugs, I never brushed it or cut/pulled it and only washed it when it was soiled (you know how mares' tails get when they are in heat). Her mane and tail seem to be fine, other than being short. So, if you haven't figured it out, I am a mane and tail noob.

Obviously, mane and tail has to do with genetics. My horse isn't a Friesian or a Gypsy so that knee-length mane and tail-dragging-train-of-a-tail probably isn't going to happen. Her mane goes about halfway down her neck (horizontally) and her tail is about hock level. Yeah. Not great. Not bad.[/SKIP]

Nutrition:
I know that to have a good mane and tail, nutrition is a good place to start (working inside-out). What are some things to help mane and tail growth? She is an easy keeper on a ration balancer right now with 24/7/365 access to grass (although not great quality) and hay (not great quality, but not bad either). She is getting about 2,000+ mg vitamin E and 16+ mg biotin daily. What else is specific to mane and tail?


Topical:
I have heard people washing, conditioning, and braiding it every week. Sounds like that could get expensive... and high maintenance. Is that what it take to have a good mane and tail? I kind of care but also not really. I only trail ride so I don't need an immaculate mane and tail like the ones seen at shows. I don't mind the time, but I don't really want to spend megabucks a month on topicals.

I have heard that some people use MTG and really liked it and the results. Others have said that it is toxic and can cause bad sunburn and bad skin reactions. Depends on the horse?

What shampoo? "Avoid petroleum" seems like universal advice.
How often? Some people said every week or two but others say that is too often and strips that hair....

What conditioner? I have A LOT of leave-in that I do not use. Would leave-in be okay or should it be the kind that you wash out? The conditioner is made for humans. Is that okay or should it be specifically made for horses?
How often? Daily? Can you over-condition?

Braiding:
I have never braided a horse, ever. What are some general braiding tips? What are some good braids to use?

Many people suggest bagging the tail. I have seen many different ways to braid and brag that tail. Which one? Is it just personal preference or....?

Thanks.

I think this sounds like a good way of spending time with your horse! I would stick with "made for horses" shampoo/conditioner. There are so many to choose from, it can make your head spin! Cowboy Magic and Mane 'n' Tail are some tried and true go-to brands for many people. I would not bathe more than once a month unless medically needed. Yes, too much can dry out both skin and hair.



Braiding can be simple to challenging depending on how intricate you want the braids to look. I would hop on over to Youtube and check out some tutorials. If your mare's mane is long enough, you may be able to do a running braid. It is a very easy technique. Single braids would be easy and quick too.



I would not bag her tail. That's her weapon against flies and it's unnecessary. Have fun pampering your pony!
 
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Only time I braid manes is on extremely hot days. My geldings mane is super thick. Rarely braid tails they need them for keeping bugs off.

Also keep brushing to a minimum when I do brush manes an tails. I do it very carefully so I don't break off hairs.

My geldings tail drags the ground so between nutrition and minimum brushing it has worked.

Don't do much for washing with soap. Maybe once a month. because he get runny poop and tail gets gross. Sometimes every few days right now.
 

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My mare grows a gorgeous mane and tail (she's a Missouri Fox Trotter for whatever that's worth). I rarely do anything with it, I don't even brush it unless it's getting tangled. And then I'll just use something like show sheen or cowboy magic. But I'm not fanatical about it.......I brush her mane maybe once every two weeks and tail once every few months.


But what I really wanted to say is, if you want a gorgeous coat/mane/tail from the inside out, I love Omega Horseshine. I feel half a cup a day and my horse has the most gorgeous shine, even her winter coat shines. It's mostly ground flax, so you could probably get away with just ground flax seed, but I buy the Omega Horseshine because I can't get plain flax much cheaper. But she has the most glorious natural shine since I've been feeding Omega Horseshine, so I highly recommend that. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My mare grows a gorgeous mane and tail (she's a Missouri Fox Trotter for whatever that's worth). I rarely do anything with it, I don't even brush it unless it's getting tangled. And then I'll just use something like show sheen or cowboy magic. But I'm not fanatical about it.......I brush her mane maybe once every two weeks and tail once every few months.


But what I really wanted to say is, if you want a gorgeous coat/mane/tail from the inside out, I love Omega Horseshine. I feel half a cup a day and my horse has the most gorgeous shine, even her winter coat shines. It's mostly ground flax, so you could probably get away with just ground flax seed, but I buy the Omega Horseshine because I can't get plain flax much cheaper. But she has the most glorious natural shine since I've been feeding Omega Horseshine, so I highly recommend that. :smile:
Thanks for the reccommendation. I have heard good things about flax. I was wondering about the Omega 3:6 ratio and the calories (or does 1/2 not provide a lot of calories)? Have you noticed any difference with the Omega 3:6 and weight?
 

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Thanks for the reccommendation. I have heard good things about flax. I was wondering about the Omega 3:6 ratio and the calories (or does 1/2 not provide a lot of calories)? Have you noticed any difference with the Omega 3:6 and weight?

My mare tends to be a butterball anyway, so I have not noticed a weight gain. I kind of doubt 1/2 a cup would be a big difference for a horse. If I want to cut back on her calories, I cut back on alfalfa and feed more grass hay, generally. Or ride her more. And she gets a little, maybe 1/2 - 1 lb senior feed just as a treat to mix in with the Horseshine. I like to add a little water and stir it up. So I try not to overfeed the senior feed because she doesn't need it for the calories.

I am not an expert on Omega 3 vs. 6, but it is my understanding flax has more of the "good stuff." I think that's the Omega 3. I'm sure if you went with Omega Horseshine they take all that into account. But even if you fed plain ground flax, I think that is mainly Omega 3 which is the kind you want more of in their diet.
 

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I don't do much with my horses mane. I put Manely Long Hair product in it about once per week but I don't brush it or comb it unless he's been bathed and soaked in conditioner. Mostly I just run my fingers through it.
 

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Only one of our horses has a long tail and she's got really strong hair so its tends not to break or tangle that easily.
I do pull the top section sometimes to thin it all out but not always.

In the summer their tails (and underneath them) get rinsed in plain water when they're being hosed over if they're sweaty, if they're scratching the tops of their tails I shampoo that area with a mild baby shampoo and use an anti itch lotion on the dock and under it.

I only use Eqyss products if a tail is tangled, I dont use anything that's got silicone in it, despite what some 'experts' say, it does seem to break down and leave a sticky residue. I also found that silicone based conditioners made white tails go yellowy

I use an Oster mane and tail brush
https://www.osterpro.com/products/t...ne-and-tail-brush/078399-140-001.html#start=9

I never braid unless I'm showing and the class calls for it though I would braid a really long mane in the summer if I had a horse with one - I used to braid my Arabian's mane summer and winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I only use Eqyss products if a tail is tangled, I dont use anything that's got silicone in it, despite what some 'experts' say, it does seem to break down and leave a sticky residue. I also found that silicone based conditioners made white tails go yellowy
So, avoid silicone and petroleum? What else? All the shampoo/conditioner ingredients have super long and complicated names, so I don't know what's what. :/
 

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Basically anything with an "cone" in it. The older silicones are worse than the newer but all eventually cause drying and breakage with long term use. Use of products like Skin So Soft for mosquitoes causes the same damage. Petroluem based product.



  • Dimethicone.
  • Cyclomethicone.
  • Amodimethicone.
  • Pheryl Trimethicone.
  • Ceteraryl Methicone.
  • Dimethiconol.
  • Stearyl Dimethicone.
  • Dimethicone Copolyol
  • Lauryl Methicone Copolyol
  • Any silicone with PEG as a prefix
There are more than this list and not all are in the "meth" category but the ending in "cone" stands.


These aren't petrtoleum or silicone but a good basic guide.


Harsh surfactants you should avoid:

  • sodium laureth, myreth, lauryl sulfate
  • sodium coco sulfate
  • ammonium lauryl and laureth sulfate
Some of the gentler cleansing surfactants that you can use to get rid of product build up. are:

  • sodium cocyl isethionate
  • cocamidopropyl betaine
  • sodium lauryl sulfoacetate
  • sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate
 

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I see a lot of people in here brush pass the braiding part. Is there a negative to braiding a horses mane or tail?

This is a really good thread though. Love all the information being posted!
 
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