We’ve all seen it and want it for our horses. That thick, flowy, healthy tail that bounces side to side while they trot. There’s something about a thick tail that is beautiful, but to some horses, it does not come naturally. There’s a lot that goes into your horse having a thick tail. A lot of it has to do with genetics, but with the proper nutrition, grooming routines, and care, you can help your horse with growing a healthier, thicker tail.

Nutrition for Horse Tail Growth

The first step in achieving a healthy tail is ensuring your horse is receiving an adequate diet. If your horse is not receiving the proper vitamins and minerals, you are less likely to see healthy tail growth. The basic nutritional need for your horse is first high-quality forage (pasture and hay). The essential nutrients for tail growth include the trace minerals copper, iodine, zinc, omega fatty acids, and biotin, as well as the amino acids lysine and methionine. Depending on your horse’s breed, weight, age, and activity levels, you can find coat, mane, and tail supplements to help your horse receive all the nutrients needed for a healthy tail.

Grooming Your Horse's Tail

Grooming your horse’s tail is the next step toward achieving a flourishing, healthy tail. But, there are many do’s and don’ts when it comes down to business. You want to groom enough to avoid itching and stimulate natural growth, but you don’t want to over-groom and cause hair to fall out, thinning it in the process.

So, how do you properly groom their tail? And what products should you use when grooming their tail? Keep reading to learn.

  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 to preventing rubbing is to find out the underlying reason why they’re rubbing in the first place. There are a few reasons horses will rub their tail, including dry skin, bugs, worms, and more. Read more to learn the common causes and solutions to dealing with a tail rubber.

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.

With the proper nutrition, grooming, and understanding the root of your tail rubbing problems, you can help your horse grow a stronger and healthier tail. It may not be fast or easy, but the results are worth it!

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