I've got the go ahead from my coach to work on my guy's messy tail and mane, but since I've always had school horses (where barn rules are usually leave them be b/c if every student brushed them, they'd have none left), I don't really know what classifies as a good one.
A good curry comb would be a bonus. He's very, very hairy so the litle school curry comb doesn't really get through the hair. I'm sure a good curry would make it all easier, plus help him get rid of all the extra hair now that he's finally starting to shed (gasp! is spring actually coming??!).
For tails , like goeslikestink, I also use a human hair brush. One that is about 1/2 round with natural bristles. Before I attempt to brush though, I spray Show Sheen generously on the tail and let it sit till I finish brushing the body of the horse. But I only use Show Sheen about once/month max. generally only about 3-5 times/yr actually. If I can keep up with brushing the tail then daily, I'm OK. That is if they don't roll in the mud and make a muddy rope of sections of their tails. Then the tail has to dry completely and you start all over. Since we will be into mud season pretty soon, my horses tails get braided and go up in tail covers till it looks like we are either over the mud or coming into fly season.
For manes, before I roach them (can't stand mudlocks) in the spring and fall I use a large metal mane comb to get the mud out. But my horses manes generally don't get that long in the first place, maybe only about 4-5" max before they are roached.
Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you!
I too, use a human hair brush. I use one with plastic bristles set in a flexible rubbery base. It helps me get the tangles out without pulling out too much hair. I use a little Cowboy Magic on the tangles if they're bad.
If you can find an old fashioned rubber curry comb, I think those are the best. I also like the rubber mitts with little nubs all over them, they do a great job on tender parts.
A singular point in space and time somewhere between Fantasy and Reality
For my guy's mane I have a wide toothed plastic comb to wrestle the mud patches with but since he's an appy he has a natural mohawk so it's not that long.
For his tail, I finger separate the knots/pull out any big twigs etc, spray wtih healthy hair care which is fantastic and which I use on a regular basis, and then gently and carefully take a very soft brush to it. Mostly the brush is to spread the hair care spray. He is just now growing the top of his tail in (a gorgeous appy white!) so I'm doing my best to not pull anything out.
eta: My guys loves our epona curry brush plus my pup's zoom groom....
Last edited by Finding Serenity; Mar. 20, 2014 at 01:16 PM.
I love my Epona wide-toothed comb. I have to be careful because my gelding has about 25 tail hairs (I use it only after I have untangled it by hand and applied some product--like the Canter mane and tail spray). It it also works well on my mare's thick tail. I use a human hairbrush on manes only.
For tails - (I have an appaloosa and need to save every last stand!), I apply oil for moisture, (healthy haircare - has lanolin and other good stuff in it), then Cowboy Magic (for detangling).
I use a human hair brush with soft bristles - one like THIS (boar bristle, or a combo are great)
To brush the tail, I grip the tail tightly just a few inches from the bottom and start brushing, once those few inches are brushed, I move my hand up, and continue to brush. This way you will not pull hairs from the roots, and the products used (plus gentle use of the soft hair brush) will prevent hair breakage.
For curry combs, the shedding flower is a great one.
For tails, I use a human hair brush with rounded bristles, and show sheen to make the hair slick. To shed, I really like the Furminator. I need to get a wider one, as I was using the narrower one I got for my dog.
Oster mane & tail brush. I love it. I've had it for a couple of years, and even though it's $10-12 I think it lasts a lot longer than human hair brushes. I also use Show Sheen when it starts to get a little tangley. I have a thing where I have to brush his tail everytime I ride. He actually doesn't have that much of a tail, but I like to keep it looking good.
I think the key is to use a detangling product- Cowboy magic, baby Oil, MTG, Pink. shosheen... something- anything... and then hold tightly below the dock and brush out the lowest portion of the tail starting low and working up... then fingerpick and brush selectively. The brush doesn't matter as much as the slippery hair does. I think the human hair brush with the rounded pin style bristles in a rubber base is probably the best.
For tails, I typically don't touch them until there's a reason: They're going somewhere, someone is coming to look at them, etc.
When I get around to working on them, I shampoo, drench in conditioner, rinse, and then absolutely soak with Vetrolin Shine detangler. When that's dry, I start at the bottom with an Oster plastic comb and work through the hair from the bottom up, one inch at a time. Every little girl who had long hair knows this routine.
I have no idea WHY that Oster comb is my favorite, but I love it. (And I dislike all the other Oster brushes I've used.) It's flexible enough that it doesn't break hairs, I think. Anyway, I don't use it on manes because I don't want to transfer any Vetrolin Shine/Showsheen/whatever to the mane -- where it will end up on reins, martingale, my gloves, all kinds of things I don't want slippery.
For currying horses that like to be groomed and are not thin skinned, I love the Grooma curry with the stabby-looking points. And a rubber grooming glove. For sensitive horses, I go to that cheap, basic oval-shaped rubber curry and the glove.
ETA: I'm admittedly obsessive about the grooming/currying. I can comb through a tail the day before or morning-of and still have plenty of time to tidy up a mane. But putting a good coat on a horse is something that takes regular maintenance. I also find that it makes an enormous difference in a horse's attitude toward work when his day starts with what is, in effect, a pretty intense massage.
I love the Oster mane and tail brush as well, It's surprisingly gentle. Or a human paddle brush - the ones with flexible plastic bristles and a puffy (thats how I can think to describe it) base where they come out of. ALWAYS start from the bottom, and use short strokes. I always use product and only brush a clean tail, or one that has been fully coated in detangler. A dusty, dry, tangled tail is brittle and will just break off if you try to comb it.
"There are times when you can trust a horse, times when you can't, and times when you have to."
Just get a human hairbrush with the wider, thicker bristles in a rubber base. I like the larger square paddle brushes.
If you are really feeling the urge to get his tail looking nice, follow the below process:
1. Apply detangler - basically anything oil-based, not show sheen. The silicon products will dry out the hair shaft. I use Pink Oil.
2. Let sit
3. Finger pick from the bottom up
4. Gently sweep the brush through the bottom inch or so, working your way up inch by inch
On a regular basis you can apply some sort of detangler but even better is just glopping conditioner on the end of the tail and leaving it in. This will result in a slightly greasy tail (so don't do it up by the base) but really helps prevent breakage. Finger pick as often as you want (every ride? fine) but don't apply cowboy magic or anything silicon-based and do the whole brushing routine unless you really need it looking nice for some reason (show, clinic, etc.)
My pony gets dreadlocks in his tail - I think he does it on purpose! Anyway, I first drench the tail with African Pride Olive Miracle Growth Oil
I get it from the Dollar General for cheap, but it works better on tangles than anything you've ever seen.
Then start combing from the bottom.
Bring a roll of paper towels or a cloth out - this stuff is so slick you won't be able to hold the comb or brush once it gets on your hands.