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Tail dreadlocks

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  • Tail dreadlocks

    I have recently brought my 3 year old in from pasture and I am getting her ready for her first young horse show. She has lived outside in a pasture for her entire life so her tail is a mess. When I got her out today her tail was in dreadlocks so I shampooed and rinsed it probably 5 times. I conditioned it and show sheened it then let the tail dry before I attempted to brush. Her tail dried in big ringlets and no matter how many times I brushed them out, the hair went right back into 4 or 5 big curls instead of looking like a fluffy tail. I almost feel like I need to flat iron it or something to retrain the hair (I know that's extreme). Has anyone had experience with this? And how did you stop it?

  • #2
    You might try washing and conditioning and then carefully COMBING the entire thing while still wet. That should help all of the hairs to separate...then comb (not brush, but actually COMB) again when almost dry and again when dry. If you separate all of the pieces and the hair is easy to comb through you should eliminate the ringlets. If you are worried about breakage, just start at the bottom. Good luck at your show!


    • #3
      If it already isn't de-tangled completely WD-40 works great for that. Once it is de-tangled wash it really well again and condition it liberally. CAREFULLY comb it as it dries and that should help!
      Last edited by jjgg24; Mar. 25, 2013, 08:27 PM.


      • #4
        I love using a mix of john frieda human shampoo/condition with a tiny dab of orvuus paste. Let the tail sit and soak with the conditioner for about 5 min then rinse. As you are rinsing run your fingers through it. I was taught by a few big name trainers that using a comb you run the risk of breaking hairs if it gets snagged but using your fingers you can carefully work everything out. Also if you do not want to use john frieda try to find some carrot cream conditioner at wal mart, I have seen it in the ethnic hair/beauty section, and will say by the time my filly was 1 1/2 years old (I got her when she was 8 months) her tail was dragging the ground because of the carrot cream!


        • #5
          Cowboy Magic liberally rubbed in and carefully combed. No need to re-wash It might help to let the CM sit for an hour or two, but since it's also freshly washed, might not matter.
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


          • #6
            I always pick tails apart by HAND before combing or brushing. Works great to really separate the strands (and you also get less hair breakage.)

            Wash, condition, pick tail apart while soaking in conditioner, then let dry and apply cowboy magic and comb. Or, for where you are now--apply cowboy magic and pick apart the tail.


            • #7
              I agree with Cowboy magic, AND coming it through by hand. Good luck.
              “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
              ¯ Oscar Wilde


              • #8
                coconut oil. Try it. It's great for tails.


                • #9
                  Show sheen and handpick,
                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                  • #10
                    Vetrolin Shine


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks guys. My problem is not combing through her tail, her tail is totally clean I can run my fingers through it. The problem is that the tail is drying in ringlets instead of how clean tails normally look. I can pull the ringlets apart with my fingers very easily but once I let go of the pieces the tail falls right back into a ringlet. It's the weirdest thing, I've never seen a tail do this before. I'm planning to wash it a few more times before the show (she's grey and her tail has a big white streak through the middle of it), I'm hoping that is going to help?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FTMT21884 View Post
                        Thanks guys. My problem is not combing through her tail, her tail is totally clean I can run my fingers through it. The problem is that the tail is drying in ringlets instead of how clean tails normally look. I can pull the ringlets apart with my fingers very easily but once I let go of the pieces the tail falls right back into a ringlet. It's the weirdest thing, I've never seen a tail do this before. I'm planning to wash it a few more times before the show (she's grey and her tail has a big white streak through the middle of it), I'm hoping that is going to help?
                        I'd use lots of conditioner and as the tail dries brush through it until it is dry. If that doesn't work wash it and let it dry to the point where it is just damp and then put it in braids. Yes it will be wavy but hopefully it will help relax the ringlets.


                        • #13
                          Just sounds like baby ringlets. You could try brushing it out and taking the tail into three sections and loosely plaiting it down for a while, so it wont be able to twist itself back into the ringlet and might give it a chance to train the twist out.

                          eta: cross posted with the previous poster


                          • #14
                            Some horses' tail hairs are just more curly/kinky and like to twist into what you are describing as "dreadlocks". If the tail is clean and brushed out just before you show, it will look fine. Yes, I brush tails, after they are clean/conditioned/Show Sheened and untangled. Bonnie has a tail prone to twisting into "dreads" and if I brush it out just before she goes in the ring (keeping it banged also helps) it looks beautiful.
                            Click here before you buy.


                            • #15
                              I have a pony with a curly tail. If you really want it strait separate it into sections while damp and take hair bands and band it every inch or so down the tail. Do to each section. Leave in over night. Next day take out bands and brush. It takes a lot of bands but it will work.


                              • #16
                                Can you post a picture of this curly tail?
                                I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


                                • #17
                                  Yep. What dw said. I used to groom a horse with a wavy/curly tail. No matter how much I washed and conditioned and picked and combed it always curled back together. I would obsessively comb it every few minutes, right up until he went in the ring, trying to get that fluffy look. Never happened. I finally figured it out. He was a stunner despite his tail.

                                  But I do like Cowboy Magic.


                                  • #18
                                    I use a heavy conditioner intended for African American hair. Make sure its combed through when the conditioner is in for 100% coverage. After rinsing, I keep brushing through every few minutes as it drys. I'll also lay it across the back rail of the wash stall to do everything possible to get it to dry separately. It still wants to deadlock a bit after all that but I find its loose enough to hold the fluffy look for the show ring.


                                    • #19
                                      Baby oil, braid it overnight, then wash


                                      • #20
                                        DH had a gelding whose tail would turn like snakes in MY HANDS to get back into the dreadlocks.

                                        I had to pull the chunks apart (like yours, there was about five big dreadlocks and few smaller ones) and sort of braided them opposite their nature curl direction, if that makes sense?

                                        Or try a blow dryer . I have a chunk of my hair that, when air dried, is a curly-q dreadlock. No where else...just there on the right side of my head, just below the level of my ear, about the width of a pencil.
                                        COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                        "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl