Test Yourself! Do You Know How to Maintain a Long, Lovely Tail? - Horse&Rider

Trivia Challenge: Long & Lovely or Short & Ratty?

Answer the questions, then check at bottom for the key. For more great information about horses, read H&R’s ‘The Ride’ newsletter. (Not getting it? Sign up below—it’s free!)
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1. True or false: To help your horse grow the most luxurious tail possible, brush it at least 100 strokes every day with a soft-bristled brush.

T / F

2. What might cause your horse to rub his tail?

A) Harsh shampoos, biting midges.

B) A dirty sheath or udder, allergies.

C) All of the above.

D) None of the above.

3. True or false: Every horse is capable of growing a long, thick, beautiful tail.

T / F

4. True or false: Many hoof supplements will also encourage a horse’s mane and tail growth.

T / F

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. F is correct. Brush only sparingly! Some savvy grooms never even use a brush at all, preferring to de-knot and smooth the tail using their fingers and liberal applications of detangler. Others prefer careful use of a wide-tooth comb. Technique is paramount: Always start at the bottom and work up for gentlest effects. If you use a comb or brush, use your other hand to hold the tail hair tightly above where you’re working to prevent hair pulls that go through to the tail head and result in hair loss.

Aqua Comb for Horses - Instantly Wets Tail & Mane

2. C is correct. All these factors can cause your horse’s tail to itch. Avoid harsh cleaning products on the tail or elsewhere. Keep your horse’s underbelly, sheath or udder, and fold between the hind legs clean to prevent itching in these spots (where your horse can’t scratch), as that can also cause tail-rubbing. Deal with any allergy problems your horse may have, and protect him from the tiny biting midges (culicoides) that can lead to serious rubbing.

[MORE on curing a horse’s tail rubbing.]

3. F is correct. Not every horse can grow a fantastic tail. A horse’s tail length, texture, and thickness depend on four main factors: nutrition, environment, the care you provide—and last but not least, genes. You can’t change your horse’s DNA, but by attending to the other three factors, you’ll encourage the very best tail he’s capable of growing.

[RELATED: The specific tail-cleaning needs of mares.]

4. T is correct. Hair, like hooves, needs certain nutrients in the correct balance to flourish. These include the B vitamin biotin; the essential amino acids lysine and methionine; and the trace minerals zinc, copper, and iodine. Hoof supplements that supply these nutrients will also benefit hair growth.

[MORE HELP: 9 tips for growing, maintaining a long, lovely tail.]

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