Whether you own a show horse or a companion horse, keeping your horse's mane and tail healthy, full and growing well can be challenging if your horse has hair loss problems, thin hair, or excessive scratching and rubbing. Check with your veterinarian before attempting to treat hair-growth issues to rule out health problems such as skin disorders, bugs or other ailments. Some horses are prone to poor hair growth in their mane and tail due to genetics, but if your horse has good hair genetics, you can encourage hair growth through grooming procedures.
Detangling and Washing
Remove tangles and debris from your horses mane and tail using your fingers rather than a comb. Gently separate the hairs to remove tangles at the source rather than from the root. Over-combing can cause hair loss as combs are prone to pull hair out by the root during grooming. Only use a comb immediately before showing your horse.
Shampoo your horse's mane and tail by gently massaging the soap into the hair follicles with your fingers rather than working it through the length of the hair. Conditioner can be applied and worked through the whole length. Make sure you use a brand of soap that won't dry-out your horse's hair such as those that promote shininess tend to.
Allow your horse's hair to dry completely before braiding or bagging. Don't blow-dry your horse's hair.
Apply diluted povidone-iodine solution to the roots of your horse's hair if it seems dry or itchy.
Braiding and Bagging
Comb through the horse's hair using your fingers.
Braid the mane and tail. Put the mane into a specially designed mane bag. Place the tail into a specially designed tail bag. Tie it up with the ties attached to the bags.
Leave the mane and tail bagged for up to two weeks to encourage faster hair growth and discourage tangling and dirt buildup. The added weight of the bag and the braided hair steadily pulling on the hair follicles stimulates hair growth.
Things You Will Need
- Mane and tail bag
- Horse shampoo and conditioner
- Povidone-iodine solution
- show horse landing image by Clarence Alford from Fotolia.com