Horses are truly majestic animals. From the top of their heads down to the tip of their tails, their form just exudes so much beauty and grace.
However, two of your horse’s most defining characteristics – the tail and the mane – also serve important functions. Your horse’s mane keeps their neck warm and protects them from flies, while their tail is on constant insect and pest control!
So, with so much at stake, how do you protect your horse’s mane and tail? How do you keep a horse’s mane or tail beautiful? Well, we’ll answer all of those questions and more in this short blog below!
1. Feed your Horses a Nutrient-Rich Diet
Horses who are undernourished or malnourished simply cannot grow a long, healthy tail. Makes sense, right? It’s the old cliché…junk input—junk output! After all, could you grow long, beautiful hair if you weren’t getting your daily calories? Probably not.
Instead, your horse needs to maintain a consistent diet filled with all the minerals and vitamins that he needs. Make no mistake: diet is the most impactful factor in determining the health of a horse’s mane or tail. You must ensure that your horse intakes a proper amount of nutrients in order to guarantee that her mane and tail grow well.
More specifically, you’ll want to ensure they eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and selenium, both of which strengthen hairs and promote growth. On the flip side, if you notice your horse’s mane or tail becoming brittle, you may have been feeding an excess of selenium. An excess of selenium can cause chronic low-grade toxicity that can lead to hair breakage.
2. Consider adding Supplements to your Horse’s Diet as part of your better mane-better tail strategy
Adding supplements to your horse’s grain may promote improved hair health and hair growth. For example, supplements such as linseed oil and flax have been shown to increase the conditions of your horse’s mane, coat, and tail. That’s an easy one, easily available at your local feed store. Moreover, Vitamin B supplements including biotin, amino acids like lysine and methionine, and minerals like zinc, copper, and iodine have all been shown to benefit hair growth as well.
3. Ensure that Parasites Aren’t Weakening Your Horse
First be sure that you are up to date with your deworming program. It’s a good idea to consult with your vet and work out a program for your geographic area and horse lifestyle. A regular deworming program goes a long way to keeping a healthy weight and coat. And coat includes mane and tail.
You may want to keep an eye on your horse’s lodgings for parasites. Although it may seem unlikely, parasites that have latched onto feeders or stall walls (such as parasitic worms or lice) can invade and infect your horse. The result is a horse with a dull, unkempt coat. Some horses will rub their tails into oblivion because of the itchiness that comes along with a presence of worms in his system. Additionally, these parasitic blighters rob your horse of nutrients (because they gobble them up) and suppress the immune system, hence, they are to be taken very seriously. A heavy worm population can similarly lead to colic.
4. Check Your Horse’s Living Spaces for Tail and Mane Hazards
Have you ever accidentally shut your hair into a door? No? Lucky you…!
No, but seriously, horse’s mane and tails can get caught in or on in all sorts of ways. It might be a splintered board. Protruding handles of latches or gates. Some broken wire of a fence. Even just wildly growing trees or bushes.
All of these are different foreign objects that can tear out a horse’s tail or mane. Whereas, when you or I get our hair caught up in something, we try to slowly extricate it..not so for our friend the horse! If a tail or mane gets trapped, the instinct is to pull away, even harder, leaving mane or that luxurious tail behind! Luckily, even just a little bit of preventative maintenance can help your horse avoid this. Check the living quarters, fence lines and gate areas for rough or splintered boards, nails that have popped loose, or any sharp or hooked object that has been hung up or on the horse area.
5. Make Sure Your Horse’s Tail Isn’t Itchy
It’s weird to think about, but it’s necessary. There’s a whole host of things that can cause your horse’s butt to itch to the point of being uncomfortable.
We’ve already covered the deworming topic but there are other simple ways that you need to be aware of to keep her from itching. For example, reduce your horse’s tail itchiness by keeping the underbelly, sheath or udders, and fold between their legs clean. Likewise for the mane, keep it clean. When it’s too cold for a bath, Banixx Spray does a great job to help keep these regions clean. When it’s warm enough to bathe these areas, you can do a great spot clean just on the above-mentioned zones with Banixx Medicated Shampoo. It’s a soap-free shampoo that rinses easily so it’s a perfect choice.
Making sure there are no allergens in the living quarters or any tiny, biting midges can also reduce tail/mane itchiness in horses. Moreover, it’s not just unclean quarters or unwelcome pests that can cause itching, though. In fact, simply having skin that’s too dry can be reason enough for your horse to itch. We recommend you combat this by regularly moisturizing their tail, hair, and skin by using a quality shampoo with a leave-in conditioner. Follow this with Banixx Wound Care Cream which contains aloe vera, eucalyptus, peppermint oil, chamomile, calendula flower extract, arnica and topped off with 2% chlorhexidine that controls any possible infection.
6. Know which Products to use to groom a Horse’s Mane and Tail
There are a couple of basic products that you should use when grooming a horse’s tail or mane:
- Shampoo: pick a shampoo that is specifically designed for horse/animal hair that and is without sulfates, these strip the hair of natural oils
- Quality, Leave-in Conditioner: helps any remaining knots slide apart with relative ease to help make brushing easier and moisturizes the skin and hair
You can get all the above qualities in Banixx Medicated Shampoo – it’s one-stop shopping!
7. Know which Tools to use for Grooming a Horse’s Mane and Tail
There are a number of tools that should be considered standard for grooming a horse’s mane and tail.
- Wide-toothed comb: helps you avoid catching on tangled-up hair or breaking off bits of tail.
- Dandy Brush: removes sawdust and other particles from the dock of the tail and stimulates circulation to promote growth
- Braid Bags: protects the tail from the environment after having been braided
8. Consider Using a Tail Detangler product
Sometimes, a comb simply won’t do the trick when it comes to removing tangles in your horse’s mane or tail. Even though our Banixx Shampoo comes with a built-in conditioner, sometimes you JUST want to brush out her tail.
This can especially be the case when there are burrs, shavings, or debris that stick to your horse’s tail hair. In these situations, a little bit of detangler can do wonders. Simply apply a tiny bit of detangling solution to the affected area with the tips of your fingers, making sure to let it really soak in before gently combing it out.
However, try your best to not rely on these products too often. Overuse of some detanglers can make the hair on your horse’s mane or tail become brittle or prone to breakage. Just check and make sure that any detangling products you buy are made from safe materials. Alcohol is not a good ingredient and many detanglers now avoid the ingredient, silicone. Opinions vary on the use, or not, of silicone, so check this one out on the web to see if it is suitable for your situation.
9. Learn How to Avoid Mistakes Groom a Horse’s Mane and Tail
Grooming a horse’s tail and mane seems like one of those things where doing it more should be good, but that’s just not true. We know. We can’t believe it either. But, unfortunately, there are a couple of small, but substantially damaging mistakes we see horse owners make pretty regularly when grooming.
The first is that they shampoo their horse’s tail too often. While shampooing their horse’s tail is necessary to keep it clean, too much shampoo can dry out their tail. Additionally, we see people who regularly brush their horse’s entire tail from the top of the tail to the bottom. We get why people do it, but it is actually doing much more harm than good because it removes a lot of healthy, useful tail hair.
Generally speaking, you should only shampoo your horse’s mane and tail often enough to keep it clean. Any more than that, and you risk destroying some of the natural oils that keep the mane and tail shiny. Also, you want to be sure to avoid regular brushing of the whole tail. Instead, you want to use a wide-tooth comb to gently comb the tail from the very bottom…yes…we meant that part…. up towards the top. Do this every few days. But, we understand, your particular horse is a show horse, so he gets shampooed much more often. Yes, we’re going to say it again! Consider Banixx Medicated Shampoo that comes with a built-in conditioner of Marine Collagen. One shampoo of your horse’s tail or mane with this shampoo and your horse will gleam from head to tail with the silkiest of finishes.
10. Braid Your Horse’s Hair – this procedure is not for all, but some swear by it.
Now that you’ve cleaned and conditioned your horse’s tail, it may be time to braid it. Different disciplines have different approaches. Some of the benefits of braiding your horse’s mane or/and tail is to reduce breakage and protecting them both from dirt, matting, or bleaching. Not only that, but for manes, consistent braiding can also encourage your horse’s mane to lie on one side which should make grooming a whole heck of a lot easier.
Braiding your horse’s tail offers a few options: one long braid or two to three smaller braids for thicker tails. To braid your horse’s tail, start braiding loosely just below the tail bone and tighten a little as you move further down away from the tailbone. Secure each braid with hair-friendly elastic bands to ensure the braids stay in place before placing them into a braid bag.
But be warned: please do not leave your horse’s tail in braids all the time. We get it, they look awesome. However, these braids can cut off circulation to your horse’s hair shafts and this can cause their hair to break. Just the opposite of what you were trying to achieve on Day One. Instead, an alternative is to braid your horse’s hair in long, looser braids for shorter periods of time.
11. Promptly Treat Skin Infections
Skin infections such as rain rot are no fun for anyone – least of all horses. They can be painful. They’re incredibly easy to develop since any amount of moisture and warmth can create the perfect environment it to develop and take hold. And, perhaps most, unfortunately, it really doesn’t compliment a quality mane or tail.
Luckily, you don’t have to fret if your horse develops a skin infection or signs of rain rot around its tail or mane. Just reach for the Banixx spray! This clinically-proven solution offers instant, sting-free, odorless, non-toxic relief from any bacterial and fungal irritations without relying on pesky steroids or antibiotics. And, it’s completely safe to spray around the eye. All you have to do is identify the affected area, apply Banixx twice daily for a few days, and watch as your equine pal leaps back to their old self.
With Banixx, relief really can be that simple.
Of course, you already knew that! Heck, with how much you read about how to take care of your hooved friend, we’d be surprised if there was a subject on equine care you don’t know about. For example, do you know how to bathe a horse? Well, no better time than the present, come on in, check the link in the last sentence and check us out!
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