For Girls Only: Tail Care for Mares

Mares have some specific tail-cleaning needs. Get pro-level advice here.
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1. Repeated drenching with urine--due to forceful urination, and/or dribbling during heat periods--can bleach portions of a mare's tail, leaving her with unsightly dry and brittle locks.

| Photos by Jim Bortvedt

| Photos by Jim Bortvedt

2. Compare the urine-damaged bottom-side tail hairs on the right with an undamaged top-side tail strand, left.

3. To revitalize your mare's tail, first wash and condition the damaged section, then thoroughly soak those locks in white vinegar (you can also use a stripper or demineralizer of your choice). Not only does this acidic soaking make the damaged hair look better, but more importantly, it also strips the hair of mineral buildup and closes the cuticle on each hair--making it less likely to absorb urine in the future.

You may have to apply a second round of wash, condition and vinegar drench on a severely damaged tail, like this mare's, to fully restore luster and color to match undamaged hairs.

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Finish your tail rehab session with a full-tail wash, condition and rinse. Applying a leave-in tail conditioner will help repel urine stains until your mare's next tail bath.

A well-groomed tail will boost your horse's "pretty" factor. Try the tail-beautification tips in "Spa Day: Tail Makeover" in the May 2008 issue of Horse & Rider magazine.

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