tangled horse tail

Detangling A Matted Tail

In March of 2008 i acquired a thoroughbred mare. This picture shows how she arrived to me. She was a sweet, gentle mare but she had the worst matt in her tail i had ever seen. Her entire tail moved as one piece as she would switch at flies.
tangled horse tail

knotted horse tail
I knew we needed to save the tail if at all possible. This mare was purchased for resale and even though a short tail has nothing to do with the way a horse rides or how broke it is, whether or not it is sound, etc. a tail adds beauty, that wow factor. A horse with a short tail is just well…bleh. It took about an hour and a half to de-matt this tail. Now, if she had been an ill-tempered, flighty or fidgety and i thought i would be in danger being behind her i would not have bothered with it. But, i also would not have purchased her if that were the case.

What did i use for this detangle? What was my “secret” product? Wd-40 and a wide toothed comb. that”s it. Granted i could have used one of the commercially available detangling products but i knew i would need a lot of product on this mare…and i needed to wash her hair afterwards anyway. Starting from the bottom i combed bit by bit, piece by piece and slowly but surely worked my way up to the top. Picking each hair out of the tangled web. Sure i lost some hair but the majority of it was salvaged. here is her tail right after it had been fully detangled and washed.

detangled horse tail
Funny enough once this mare’s tail was detangled she flicked it around a few times and actually spooked herself. She then spent the next 15 min or so kicking out at the now untangled hairs grazing her hind legs. it was as if she had had the knot for so long, she was no longer desensitized to the feeling of the individual hairs. Had this been an Arabian or Andalusian or maybe even a quarter horse we would have kept the length on the tail. She was a thoroughbred English prospect so we banged it to her ankles and braided it.

Exactly 1 month after we took the first picture, this was the horse for her photo shoot. This photo shows why no horse should be discounted based on first impressions. There is a lot to be said for good nutrition, proper grooming, and a good photo shoot.


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