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dye a horse's tail????

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  • dye a horse's tail????

    My horse has a nice thick black mane and forelock, but her tail is a little grayish/brownish. Has anyone ever dyed their horse's tail black? I've heard about it on other boards, but I wanted some more details. What brands, how did you do it, permanent/semi-permanent, etc. Thanks!!

  • #2
    Yes, I've dyed a sunbleached tail back to black. I used permanent dye. Wrap the tail in a plastic bag or palpation sleave to keep the dye off the rest of the horse... however, if your horses tail is naturally grey be advised that certain devisions prohibit altering your horses appearance.


    • #3
      Yep, it's illegal to dye tails (or alter the appearance in any way) in many disciplines (USEF all disciplines, I think).


      • #4
        Originally posted by Lauren12 View Post
        Yep, it's illegal to dye tails (or alter the appearance in any way) in many disciplines (USEF all disciplines, I think).
        Why does the USEF do this?
        Tack Cleaning/All-Things-Tack nut
        ~DQ wanna-be~


        • #5
          I'd check the rules if I remember correctly the rules are more about lets say your horse has a grey mane and tail. They don't want people dying it and altering it to black etc. Now a sun bleached black tail being fixed back to black since that is what it is originally might skate under the rule just check. If so you could always use lots of color enhancing shampoo.


          • #6
            Ridiculous rule if it is so general that you can't dye a black tail black to get rid of sunbleaching. In fact, if it is the rule, I am going to publicly thumb my nose at it. I just dyed one of mine's black tail back to black and it looks great. Used Natural Instincts (I think that is the name) ammonia-free dye. I wet any hide that might mistakenly get dye on it, and if I have white socks, I wrap them with polos. I also leave the hose on at a trickle and immediately hose off any stray dye. I don't bother wrapping the tail, I just set my phone timer and stand there massaging the dye into the tail for 15 minutes or so.
            Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


            • #7
              I think the intent of the rule is to prevent "ringers" with doctored markings or colors from competing.

              Lots of people dye tails; just stick with the closest-to-natural color and go for doing Mother Nature one better, if that's what you're looking for.
              Click here before you buy.


              • #8
                We use a permanent dye, suitable for ethnic hair. One that does the job fast(10-15 min), we also wrap the tail in a plastic bag to process. Slather conditioner on hind quarters, and legs so any drips don't stain. Most important make sure horse is OK with plastic bag, some freak out when they swish there tails and the plastic crunches/crackles.
                If the mane needs dyeing, divide mane into 5-7 sections. Apply dye to one section and wrap it in a plastic sandwich bag, do the next section. Smear conditioner on both sides of the neck to prevent drips .
                Shapley's http://shapleys.com makes a spray on dye that washes out with shampoo. SSTACK should carry it. It's called 'Show Touch Up', lots of colors. it's good for those that don't want permanent color.


                • #9
                  I always used the Shapley's spray-on stuff that csaper58 mentioned on my bay who needed his sun-bleached tail blackened again for shows. It's a little bit hard on the tail, though, so if I had shown that horse week in, week out I would probably have sought a permanent solution.
                  "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                  • #10
                    Is it possible the color change is due either to mud residue, or to a dietary imbalance that needs to be addressed? By the time you see hair of a certain color, it is reflective of past dietary issues not necessarily current day ones. I wish the OP well in the quest for the 'perfectly black' tail, but I cannot help but wonder why obsess about that, when there likely are more important things to be thinking about. This is a horse after all, allowed to have individual variations in appearance, not a Breyer model.
                    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by sdlbredfan View Post
                      Is it possible the color change is due either to mud residue, or to a dietary imbalance that needs to be addressed? By the time you see hair of a certain color, it is reflective of past dietary issues not necessarily current day ones. I wish the OP well in the quest for the 'perfectly black' tail, but I cannot help but wonder why obsess about that, when there likely are more important things to be thinking about. This is a horse after all, allowed to have individual variations in appearance, not a Breyer model.
                      I appreciate your concern about dietary issues. That is not the case, her tail is thick and healthy. And after all of the money, effort, time, blood, sweat and tears that I pour into my horse to be successful and competitive, I dang well SHOULD have a Breyer Model horse :P

                      I'll try to post a photo, first time posting a pic so bare with me if it doesnt work...


                      • #12
                        I'm all for dying a sunbleached tail, but it looks like that's your horses natural colour, and I think it's very pretty. She may look funny with a jet black tail, because she is a very light bay. I'd leave it
                        As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


                        • #13
                          The rules allow for dying a sun bleached tail back to its original color... you can not, however dye a tail a different color than it is naturally. In the OP's case, her horses tail is naturally not black. On the bright side, it will help her horse stand out in a sea of bays.


                          • #14
                            That's a fair point, fourmares, however the OP has not stated any desire to show so I have assumed that's not her interest.
                            Plus I hate to see the constant desire to be some socially-created version of aesthetically "perfect" that is so pervasive in our culture to wash over to horses. Enjoy her unique qualities

                            Edit: I just realized the OP said "competitive", so yes, she will have rules to comply with.
                            Last edited by CrowneDragon; Apr. 14, 2013, 03:24 PM.
                            As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


                            • #15

                              I agree that the OP's mare is not sun bleached, but genetically colored that way. A loooong time ago in my ignorant youth I dyed a primitive bay horse's legs black- because I thought bay horses looked best with black from the knees to the hooves- and I didn't like the brown stripes he had at his tendons. Thankfully he forgave me and I learned to love all of the amazing variations of bay that exist. Anyway- I think your mare is very special colored and I would not dye her tail (the upper hairs at least.) I'm offering this link to the equine tapestry where you can find out about all sorts of neat color variations and how sometimes it's just a matter of a few odd hairs here or there that give big hits about the genetic makeup to produce certain colorings.

                              I do have a sunbleached black horse who has red in his super thick super long mane, forelock and tail- and I think he would be helped out a lot with a dye touch up... I'm just afraid that I'd need at least 6 dye kits to do his mane.


                              • #16
                                Although I agree that the OP's horse's tail is not naturally black I do think that it is sunbleached (or damaged by mud, etc.) on the ends and see no reason why she can't dye it DARK brown (almost black). I wouldn't dye the top but I would trim it (if OP does eventing or dressage) to tiddy it up.

                                My Appy mare has a white tail half way down and the bottom is black (and sun/mud bleached), I touch it up on the ends so that you can see EVERY little hair (she doesn't have a nice thick tail but it is a decent length).
                                "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot


                                • #17
                                  I think the OP's horse's tail looks gorgeous the way it is. It is certainly not sunbleached, but is caused by genetics. The OP can do what she wants, but I would personally like to leave it.
                                  Tack Cleaning/All-Things-Tack nut
                                  ~DQ wanna-be~


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by dreamingofdressage View Post
                                    I think the OP's horse's tail looks gorgeous the way it is. It is certainly not sunbleached, but is caused by genetics. The OP can do what she wants, but I would personally like to leave it.
                                    Agree! I love the unique color of your horse's tail, OP, and I would leave it just as it is.


                                    • #19
                                      Oh gosh. OP, your horse is sort of like the pony, who has what I call his sherbet colored leg, it's not chestnut below the knee and it has no markings either. It's a funny strawberry blonde color.
                                      I see very little black on the legs that aren't marked, and they go well with the tail.
                                      It's true that often I've said I want to put some lightener in pony's tail which is snowy white on the underside of his tailbone and about halfway up and then even redder than his coat color at the dock and halfway down the top. Mostly I just leave it dirty and it looks dark flaxen.
                                      I'd leave your guy with his grey hairs. I might do what I could to grow out the top and make the tail look rich and full but it's an interesting color.

                                      ETA to apologize, I just can't see the second two pics really well but it looks like the tail is kept up nicely in those.
                                      Last edited by ReSomething; Apr. 14, 2013, 04:47 PM.
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