Luscious locks for your equine love? It’s easy.
Have you ever stared in awe at the full, perfectly coiffed tail of a western pleasure horse? Do you wonder whether the horse’s owner possesses some magical secret to phenomenal hair growth that you can only dream about? If so, then you’re in for some great news!
The secret to a perfect, show-worthy tail may be a horse tail extension. By following a few fundamental guidelines, your horse also can have a gorgeous tail envied by fellow competitors and spectators alike. This post covers why you may use a fake tail, the proper care for a tail extension, and how to attach the tail properly.
What’s a fake horse tail?
A fake tail is a hair extension that adds length, volume, and/or fullness to the animal’s natural tail. Tail extensions are made from genuine horsehair, and carefully selected for color, texture, and quality.
The horsehair is then sewn or glued onto a fabric, plastic, or leather piece and attached to the horse’s natural tail.
Why would a horse need a fake tail?
As with most things in life, horse show grooming trends have changed over the years. Within the past 30+ years, several breed and discipline standards have evolved to include a voluminous tail—like stock horse breeds such as quarter horses and paints.
It’s hard to miss the fact that most mid to upper-level Western pleasure classes are full of horses with tail extensions. Several English and hunter classes also allow fake tails.
Although fake tails in the show world are relatively common, not all breeds and disciplines allow extensions in competition.
Where can you buy a fake tail?
Tail extensions can be purchased from many western and English tack stores and some online retailers.
What do you need to know to shop for a fake tail?
When shopping for a fake tail, you’ll want to consider the following:
Length: Extensions are available in a variety of lengths. Choose a length that will complement your horse’s natural proportions and give you the desired look.
Color: Extensions are available in various colors, so choose a color that matches your horse’s natural tail color.
Texture: Extensions can be either straight or wavy. Again, you’ll want to choose a texture closely resembling your horse’s natural tail.
Volume: The extension should match the approximate volume your horse’s tail should naturally have.
For example, a young yearling wouldn’t be expected to have a large, voluminous tail. Therefore, choosing an extension with less volume would be appropriate in this situation.
Weight: Certain breed and discipline standards desire a quiet tail. One way to achieve this is by getting an extension with the option of adding weight. You can generally add weight in increments ranging from 4 ounces to 2 pounds.
It bears repeating that checking breed standards and discipline rules is crucial to avoid disqualification.
Attachment type: Extensions come in several different attachment styles. Some are designed to feature a tail that lies more quietly, while others have a more natural appearance. Figure out what kind of look you’re going for, and then shop accordingly.
Price: Extensions can range in price from $50 to $500 and possibly more, depending on the length, color, and texture of the extension.
The more expensive the extension, the more likely it will hold up over time. Distinctive or unique colors are generally more costly. Quality also matters and is reflected in the price.
Source: If you feel strongly about avoiding authentic horse hair products, you may want to consider skipping extensions altogether because, at this point, there are no synthetic tail extensions that match the authentic look of natural horse hair.
But with care and attention, you can help your horse have a more natural-looking tail and avoid the need for an extension altogether.
Types of Fake Tail Attachments
There are several types of fake tail attachments. All involve braiding strands of your horse’s natural tail with the extension. The difference is in how the fake tail is designed to attach to your horse’s natural tail.
Braided horse ties
This extension is attached to your horse’s natural tail using braided ties on the fake tail.
Braided horse tie loops
You guessed it, the loop has loops incorporated into your horse’s tail by braiding.
This type of extension has a hole in the top, and you braid a small section of your horse’s natural tail. Slip the braid through the hole and secure it with a knot. Secure it by braiding small sections of your horse’s natural tail to the fake tail on each side.
Putting In a Fake Tail
Although there are slight differences in how different types of fake tails are made, they are all secured with braiding.
Some tail extensions have braids that you use to attach to your horse’s natural tail. Others have a hole through which you slip a small section of your horse’s braided tail.
Most tail extensions attach overlapping the tailbone, so that both real and fake tail move together. The extension should be braided in as close to the tailbone as you can, so that you can hide the attachment point with overlapping hairs.
The tail extension should reach the fetlock. Any longer than the fetlock increases the risk of your horse stepping on the extension, causing damage.
Remember that tying anything around the tailbone itself can cause serious damage to your horse and should always be avoided.
When do you put in a fake tail?
Apply the tail extension the morning of the show. You risk damage to the extension if your horse inadvertently lays or steps on it.
Leaving a tail extension attached overnight is not advised.
How long can a fake tail stay in?
A fake tail should only stay on the day of a show. Suppose you will be showing over multiple days.
Removing it immediately after you’re done for the day is best. Then reattach it the next day.
How do you care for a fake tail?
Tail extensions are made of natural horse hair, so you should care for them like your horse’s tail. You can shampoo and condition them as you would your horse. After washing, allow it to thoroughly dry before storing. You can find special carrying cases for tail extensions to help preserve and protect it.
If you need to detangle the tail, gently comb through with your fingers or a brush.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you use horse tail extensions?
Tail extensions are braided into your horse’s natural tail to give it a more lush, full appearance. They are used for horse-showing purposes—but only with specific breeds and disciplines. Tail extensions should not be used at all times or on an everyday basis.
They should be used to enhance the natural beauty inherent to your horse in a show situation.
Q: Where do fake horse tails come from?
Fake horse tails are made from natural horse hair.
Q: How do you measure a fake horse tail?
Before measuring, you’ll want to select which type of attachment style you’ll be purchasing. Most attach overlapping the bottom third of the tailbone, but you want to ensure accurate measurement.
Once you’ve decided on an attachment style, measure from the point where you’ll be attaching the extension down to your horse’s fetlocks. Many online retailers also have guides to help you select the correct extension type for your needs and measuring guides to help you order the right length.
Purchasing a tail extension can be considered an investment, and some horses are even sold with their matching extensions.
You’ll therefore want to ensure care and attention are put into your purchase.
Q: Does braiding a horse tail hurt?
If done incorrectly, braiding can cut off circulation and cause injury and damage. It can hurt if the braids are too tight. You also want to avoid wrapping anything around your horse’s tailbone, which can also be detrimental to your horse.
Generally, braid only for short periods, and promptly remove braids if you’ll leave your horse unattended, so they don’t snag the braid and possibly hurt themselves.
Adding a tail extension can give your horse’s natural tail a fuller, more luxurious look. If you’re considering using one, be sure to do your research and purchase a quality extension. With proper care, your tail extension can last for many show seasons.
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