Thursday, September 9, 2010

Manes and Tails

Grace has always been known for her tail. I first discovered how great it was when she was 2 years old. She wasn't mine yet, and one day when I was done cleaning stalls at the barn she was at I snuck into her stall and groomed her. When I got to her tail, I was amazed by how thick it was. At the time it was only to her hocks, but it was crazy thick!

When she was 4 and her tail was getting long, I tied it up in figure 8 knots. When we took it down to show, it touched the ground:

After I took her home, I started cutting her tail at the fetlocks to keep it from getting stepped on. Actually, I started doing that after she stepped out a big chunk of it. The section of tail grew back in white. Grace hides it well underneath all those strands of black hair, but I've always felt bad about it.

At one point I kept her tail up in a tail bag in the winter. Then one brisk day while we were out on a trail ride, something caused Grace to move suddenly. The next thing I saw was my Blue Heeler swinging around from behind me with my horse's beautiful tail firmly grasped between the dog's teeth. That was the end of putting Grace's tail in a tail bag!

Now Grace's mane is another story:

Feb 2007

I kept Grace's mane short for Western Pleasure. Her mane is as thick as her tail, which meant not only pulling it for length, but ripping it out by the roots to make it thin so it would lay flat. I don't think I will ever accept the idea of pulling a mane. Yes, it shows off my horses neck, but when her mane is long if we change directions the judge gets a full view of her neck.

I just think there is something really medieval about ripping out chucks of hair by the root all for the sake of beauty.

Feb. 2008

So I rebelled, and started letting Grace's mane grow. I'd attempted it in the past, but when it would get to an ugly stage, I would cut it or pull it again. Finally my friend Jeanni threatened to never ride with me again if I pulled Grace's mane.

September 2008

As corny as it sounds I find a long flowing mane just belongs on a horse. At 7 years old, my imaginary horse did not have a pin straight 4 inch long mane. No, it was past his shoulders and in my mind I would be able to braid in ribbons and bows.

Feb 2010

How did I get Grace's mane and tail to grow so thick and long? I would love more than anything to sell you a bottle of magic oil. But there just isn't one. Grace has good hair genes, I suppose I support them with good nutrition, but it's all her.

Now I know that the less I mess with her mane and tail, the less it will break and the longer it will grow. But where's the fun in that? What's the point of having all that hair if I can't play with it!

For the last year I've been washing and conditioning her tail once a week. The only time I skip it is when it's just too cold out. No fancy expensive horse products here, just whatever I'm using in my hair at the time. From the looks of this picture, looks like it was Garnier Fructis that week!

This is what it looks like when I take the braids out:

June 2010

How could I ever pull that again? Now maybe some ribbons and bows?


  1. She does have a beautiful mane and tail! Maisie and Lily both have thick manes and tails, but Dawn's is just wispy and thin, always has been.

  2. After State 4H back in 2008 I decided I didnt want a short WP mane on Milo either (When I bought him, it was already trimmed, I hadnt ever seen him with a long one). Plus I was getting made fun of at the rodeo with my "WP" horse. LOL It was hard especially during the well known "ugly" stage, but its worth it now. Im lucky that his IS thin so the care for it is almost non existant. I dont even need to cut a bridle path.

    Now his tail, is long. Not thick, but long. I want Grace's tail!! Ive been putting MTG on it once a week all summer. No diference yet, but Ill continue. :) Milo has good "length" genes, just not for thickness. :) Im thinking this winter I will braid the tail. My only concern is him being on the pasture, I dont want his tail getting caught on things and getting ripped out!!

  3. Tail bags scare me. I remember Penny telling me about a horse that caught it's tail bag on something and all the hair got ripped out.
    I do keep Grace's tail braided when it gets wet and muddy out. Sometimes I do that twist thing that Patricia taught me.

  4. Saw you over on the Fugly blog and came by to scroll through entries. Grace's tail is STUNNING. Wow.