We’ve all seen it in the ring or pasture. That horse with the thick, flowy, healthy tail bouncing side to side as they trot. Having a beautiful, thick tail is second nature for some horses, but not all are blessed with that trait. While genetics play a part, proper nutrition, grooming routine, and products can help your horse to grow a healthier, thicker tail.

Nutrition for Horse Tail Growth

The proper diet is essential in any horse tail growth routine. The wrong food and supplements can cause your horse’s tail to be thin, dull, and lifeless. The first step in achieving a healthy tail is ensuring your horse receives an adequate diet. The basic nutritional need for your horse is first high-quality forage (pasture and hay). If your horse lacks proper nutrition, you are less likely to see healthy tail growth. Your horse’s nutritional regimen should include:

  1. Zinc: This supplement strengthens hair follicles and increases thickness.

  2. Biotin: Also known as B7, this vitamin helps convert nutrients into energy and stimulates keratin production in the hair follicle for faster, thicker growth.

  3. Amino acids (lysine and methionine): These amino acids, not made naturally in the horse’s body, help prevent the body from breaking down crucial proteins needed for hair growth.

  4. Protein: Protein is a necessary component of healthy hair growth and to hair itself. Making sure your horse gets plenty of it from their diet and using supplements to keep the protein from breaking down (see above) are crucial to hair growth.

  5. Omega fatty acids: Omegas have been shown to reduce hair follicle inflammation, which can directly result in hair loss.

  6. Trace copper: Copper stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles, giving the hair an adequate supply of the vitamins, minerals, and oxygen needed for healthy hair growth.

Make sure your horse has a good supply of hay and grass, and use supplements such as Majesty's™ Bio+ Wafers Hoof and Coat Supplement and BioMane Equine Pellets to keep your horse’s hair growing long and strong.

Grooming Your Horse's Tail

Have you ever seen a period movie where the female character has to brush her hair 40 strokes to keep it gorgeous? While you don’t have to do that for your horse to have a gorgeous tail, they DO deserve the same kind of pampering mentality. Grooming your horse’s tail is the next step toward a flourishing, healthy tail. Groom enough to avoid itching and stimulate natural growth, but be careful not to overdo it: you could cause the hair to fall out, thinning it in the process. Some other do’s and don’t include:

  1. Brush Sparingly: Try not to use a comb or completely brush through your horse’s tail, because every hair you pull out takes years to grow back. If you must comb your horse’s tail, use a brush that’s specific to brushing a tail. We recommend using a brush like the Schneiders Paddle Brush or the Oster® Mane and Tail Brush. However, instead of fully brushing, you can…

  2. Brush with a Dandy Brush: By brushing the dock daily with a dandy brush you not only stimulate growth, but you keep the dock free of dust and dander. This will help your horse’s tail not become itchy and help you avoid them rubbing their tail out. We recommend using a brush like this Wood Back Medium Bristle Brush. You should also…

  3. Make Sure It’s Tangle Free: Tangles result in hair getting torn out, so using a Mane and Tail Detangler will help you keep your horse’s tail tangle free and intact. We recommend the Ultra® Magic Detangler or the Cowboy Magic® Detangler™ & Shine. However, you also need to…

  4. Keep Your Horse’s Tail Clean & Conditioned: If your horse’s tail is dirty and dry, it is more likely to itch and tangle. Using a tail shampoo and conditioner will help you keep your horse’s tail moisturized and itch-free, resulting in a healthier tail long term. We recommend the Ultra® Conditioning Shampoo for a deep clean and the Ultra® Mane & Tail Conditioner to stimulate the skin to promote new hair growth. After you bathe your horse’s tail, you can…

  5. Protect Your Horse’s Tail by Wrapping it: Using a tail wrap helps prevent your horse's tail hair from breakage and damage. We recommend using the UltraFlex® Braided Lycra Tail Wrap to help protect your horse’s tail and keep it clean after a bath. Lastly, you can…

  6. Give Your Horse’s Tail Extra Love With Moisturizing Products: There are numerous tail sprays that condition and add moisture to your horse’s tail when you’re not quite ready to give them a full bath. We recommend Canter® Mane & Tail Conditioner for a sleek, tangle-free, soft look or the Ultra® Tail Revive & Restore Spray to help keep your horse's tail itch-free.

Tail Grooming Spray

What do you do when your horse is rubbing their tail?

When your horse is rubbing their tail, the first step is to find the underlying reason for the rubbing in the first place. Horses will rub their tail for a few reasons, including dry skin, bugs, and worms. So how do you deal with tail rubbing?

Bug Bites are the most common reason your horse might be rubbing their tail. Gnats, aka no-see-ums, are tiny biting bugs that bite your horse during the spring and summer, leaving them irritated. This reaction to the bites is known as Sweet Itch.

The solution is to protect your horse from these bugs as best as possible with fly sprays and fly sheets. We highly recommend the Mosquito Mesh Fly Sheets which are made out of a fine mesh material that protects against the tiniest insects.

Dry and Dirty Skin is a common cause of tail rubbing. This could be specific to dirt and sweat drying on the dock, sheath, udders, and even legs. Just like humans, horses can get flaky, itchy skin due to the lack of moisture present in the skin.

The solution is rinsing your horse off between rides, making sure that they’re well-rinsed in all nooks and crannies. You should also use moisturizing and antifungal shampoos while bathing to help clean irritated skin. On the market today, you can find many topical treatments for dry skin, as well as moisturizing sprays like the Ultra® Nourishing Hair Moisturizer to prevent itchy skin.

Worms, specifically pinworms, can cause your horse to itch their tail. If your horse has not been properly dewormed, these worms lay eggs around your horse’s rectum, causing them to itch

The solution is to thoroughly deworm your horses regularly. There’s a variety of dewormers on the market today, but make sure you choose the right active ingredient for the time of year. You can learn more by reading this Informative Guide to Deworming Horses.

Boredom & Allergies are a few other reasons your horse might be itching their tail, however less common. If your horse is doing tail rubbing out of boredom, try to introduce more stimulating activities in their daily routine. If you suspect allergies, reach out to your vet for more guidance.

The 7 BEST Mane and Tail Care Producs

So, what are the top products every horse needs for a long and thick tail? We’ve compiled a list of the seven top mane and tail care products in your tack box or room.

    UltraFlex Lycra Tail Bag

  1. UltraFlex® Lycra Tail Bag
  2. The UltraFlex® Lycra Tail Bag is the ideal solution to keep tails in beautiful condition. It protects braided tails or keeps tails clean during muddy turnouts, has a UV protection greater than 95 percent, and self-ties hold the tail bag securely in place. The smooth, soft, and stretchy lycra does not snag the hair either.

    Ultra Nourishing Hair Moisturize

  3. Ultra® Nourishing Hair Moisturize
  4. The Ultra® Nourishing Hair Moisturizer is the most advanced, all-natural leave-in moisturizer on the market that can be applied to wet or dry coats, manes, and tails. The lanolin formula improves hair strength, thickness, and elasticity while repelling dirt. It also controls dry skin and dandruff, even on horses with sensitive skin. It’s perfect after clipping or daily grooming to restore dry, brittle coats.

    Ultra Mane and Tail Conditioner

  5. Ultra® Mane and Tail Conditioner
  6. The Ultra® Mane and Tail Conditioner has a non-greasy, leave-in formula to promote new hair growth while preventing further breakage. It also aids in repairing split ends and sun-damaged hair, while conditioning deep into the hair root and enhancing natural color.

    Eqyss Mega-Tek Rebuilder Hoof, Mane & Tail

  7. Eqyss Mega-Tek Rebuilder Hoof, Mane and Tail
  8. EQyss Mega-Tek Rebuilder is a revolutionary formula that stimulates hair growth. It strengthens hair from root to tip without using silicone, synthetic polymers, oils, or petroleum-based products, which cause dry, brittle hair and hoofs. The formula revitalizes hair so the mane and tail won't break off as easily and will grow longer. It even conditions bare spots caused by blanket rubs, skin conditions, or injuries.

    Ultra Tail Revive and Restore Spray

  9. Ultra Tail Revive and Restore Spray
  10. Prevent and treat dry, itchy manes and tails by using Ultra Tail Revive and Restore Spray. The easy-to-use spray application moisturizes and soothes irritated areas and promotes hair growth, making this a must-have in any barn. The go-to treatment and prevention for all manes and tails suffering from dry, itchy conditions. Immediately soothes, moisturizes, and treats dry, itchy skin and promotes healthy hair growth. Stop your horses from rubbing hair out, and moisturize their mane or tail in the process! Gentle enough to use every day.

    Ultra Magic Detangler

  11. Ultra® Magic Detangler
  12. Keep your horse’s tail healthy and free from tangles with the Ultra® Magic Detangler. It strengthens hair fibers to keep your horse's mane and tail growing thick and long, while offering a shiny and conditioning effect. Prevent breakage and tangles that can damage fragile mane and tail hair.

    Ultra Conditioning Shampoo

  13. Ultra® Conditioning Shampoo
  14. Keep your horse’s tail looking clean and conditioned with Ultra® Conditioning Shampoo. The low sudsing action rinses ultra-clean to eliminate residue buildup. Cleans and conditions hair while removing stubborn stains, allowing the hair to maintain its natural moisture balance. Promotes a healthy coat, silky softness, and luxurious shine. Concentrated 1 to 4 (4 oz. makes 16 oz.).

We want our horses to be happy and healthy, with a little swagger in the ring or the pasture. A beautiful and healthy tail showcases your horse’s good health and enhances their natural looks. With the proper nutrition, grooming, and understanding of the root of your tail rubbing problems, you can help your horse grow a stronger and healthier tail.

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