I don't know about you, but I place a lot of value on my horses' tails--I used to spend hours just combing my fingers through my horses' thick tails. My fingers would slowly work through all the tangles as I watched each strand lightly fall back into place. It's a cheap form of therapy, but it was my therapy. I'd scrub my Palomino's white tail until it was reflecting light, and I'd always have to work hard to get through my reiner's extremely thick tail. It always struck me when I'd see a chunk of tail stuck in a fence post or on the stall wall, so I'd collect the hairs, braid them, and keep them in my desk drawer.

Lark’s tail

Lark's tail is my pride and joy--this is after a recent groom job freeing her tail of burrs and dreadlocks, and having to cut-off 3 inches to keep it from dragging the ground.

My senior year of high school, the night before the Indiana High School Rodeo State Finals I went down to the barn to give my barrel horse a bath before loading her in the trailer. You can imagine my horror and dismay when I opened Tangy's door to find that her tail (which wasn't the most glorious of tails, but it was still nice) was now in a bob! Overnight her tail went from tapering nicely to mid-fetlock to now being blunt-cut and bobbed just above the hock!

The culprit? Our goat. I knew immediately what had happened--the goat that I had to practice goat tying (yes, I was a "nanny slammer") had jumped over Tangy's back stall door, dined on her tail, and then hopped out. Tangy looked just as crushed as I was. (I like to think horses have a pride about their tails as much as we humans pride ourselves at taking care of said tail.)

So imagine the extreme upset surrounding horse owners in Montana when they discovered someone had cut four feet (ack!) from their Morgan horses' tails. FOUR FEET!! Can you imagine how long it'll take to re-grow that??

With Tangy's tail, I meticulously conditioned and massaged her tail on a regular basis, read-up on all the different ways to get hair to grow faster, and concocted many different elixirs to spray and soak her tail. Everyone would ask what happened to her tail and the answer was always the same: "The goat..." Needless to say, said goat found a new home on a neighbor's farm before he partook in feasting on my show horses' tails (a fake tail can only do so much). I think it took a good year before her tail started to look normal again, and now, almost ten years later, it's back to that nice taper at mid-fetlock.

Are you just as obsessed with your horse's tail as I am? Have any tips to share with everyone on conditioning, detangling, or just protecting it? We are getting into colder weather, which means we aren't able to wash and condition tails as often, so how do you cope?