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Question for the braiders - hanging big fake tails

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  • Question for the braiders - hanging big fake tails

    I'll preface this by saying I can put in a lovely tail braid, and have hung smaller fake tails (1/4 to 1/2 lb loop top) without issue. I mostly braid for myself and my mare doesn't require a fake tail, so I don't have a *ton* of experience with them, despite having braided forever (20 years at least).

    I did a nice young horse this morning who wears a 1 lb fake with a loop top. I had trouble getting the bottom few inches of his braid tight over the portion of his tail that contained the fake tail - it ended up feeling spongy and being about one and a half times the diameter of the rest of the dock. I hung the tail by threading tail hair through the loop and braiding a short braid to hold it in, incorporating some of the hair from the fake to secure it. I made sure the loop lay flat and sort of fanned the fake out as much as possible over the dock to avoid a lump. I pulled tight when braiding the tail braid over this section, but couldn't get it quite right. Like I said, the bottom was just thick and spongy and I wasn't happy with it... Am I missing something, or is this just what happen when putting the bigger fake tails in? Is it just a matter of really cranking the tail braid as tight as possible? Also, does finishing the tail with a wrap versus a pinwheel help to stabilize the big fakes, or at least disguise the thickness a bit? I did a pinwheel, then wondered afterwards if wrapping it would have been a better choice.

  • #2
    1) how big is the fake tail at the top? if it's one of hose HUGE ones at the top*, then yes, unfortunately it is going to bulge -- unless you can hang it low enough so only the attachment part is under the braid, but you risk the fake tail separating and swinging away from the real tail or gravity pulling it down enough to see the attachment part or tag, if there is one.

    *There are fake tails that are deliberately tapered at the top, often with a cloth loop, but they are more expensive. I greatly preferred these ones, as they did not create that bugle.

    2) Does horse have enough middle hair to braid and carry the fake tail, so you don't have to braid in the fake tail hair? even if it looks flat when you start, I find doing this can cause the fake tail to not sit flat against the dock (it can pull up or away a little), which will cause it to look bigger/looser at the bottom

    3) don't pull tight or crank the hair. practice just laying it over and keeping the braid tension tight, but not pulling on the dock. cranking will break or pull out the hair, and is more likely to cause uneven tension, which makes for a lumpy/smooshy braid.

    4) if your braid is getting too fat, take smaller sections from the side of the tail or learn how to drop hair from the middle of the braid without it cause the braid to unravel. essentially you only drop from one side of the tail, and you basically let go of 1/4-1/2 of a section before you cross it over. may be easier to get someone to show you how to do this. and maybe how to hang your fake tail.

    5) putting a pinwheel on top of a bulgy tail makes the bottom part look even more big, imo, and stresses the hair even more because then those rungs have to hold onto a fake tail, braid and pinwheel. wrap is easier -- and imo, lets you get away with putting a fake tail in a little lower because the wrap part can hide some of the top bit; it won't prevent a tail from falling out, but I think it does stabilize it from swinging as much, and is one less thing the hair has to hold up.

    eta: Also if the loop top is giving you trouble, make a loop of 2-3 strands of yarn around that and hang the tail from the yarn. You might find you have more hair to hang the tail from if you start higher up the dock, or start the inner braid higher so you can hang the tail and french braid around the loop for 2-4 rungs; i prefer doing that to braiding fake tail hair itself, and i find that holds the tail up.
    Last edited by retiredhorse; Sep. 9, 2018, 05:04 PM.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks so much for all of that! I don't know if I explained the "thick" part well enough. It's not that the braid itself gets thick (I know all the tricks to keep it even, straight and tight right down to the bottom), but rather that the entire diameter of the tail got thick from where I hung the fake on down. Picture grabbing the dock in your hand as if to lift the tail to wrap it - the portion above the fake feels normal, and the part incorporating the fake feels spongy (due to the massive amount of hair) and is a good deal bigger around.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes that part will get bigger if the fake tail top is big. Even if you crank the hair, it will still get bigger due to the sheer amount of hair. I really think the only way to make it not do that is to somehow make the fake tail skinny at the top.

        you can try wrapping it super tight with vetrap or tape but it might wreck the tail. Or temporarily wrapping fake tail in a tail wrap as tightly as you can prior to braiding it — like vacuum sealing something to make it smaller, but it may not stay small once unwrapped. I’ve not tried this but someone told me they got a fake tail top to compress after soaking it in fabric softener and leaving it in a tight tail wrap to dry (I have also known fake tails to mold and fall apart after being stored in a damp and unbreathable bag however).

        Hair cranking just seems to break the horse’s real hairs and make it harder to braid. If horse gets sensitive and pulls tail bone away that also makes it looser, I find. I would try hanging it lower first, so less of the fake tail is under the braided part; so it’s just the tail loop part that’s under your tail braid. If horse does not swish tail, it might not separate from the real tail, especially secured with a wrap.

        Id play around with thickness of the sections too. Skinnier sections that are close together might highlight the discrepancy in size, or look amazing because there’s not much or any space between the rings. Bigger sections or fatter braid might hide it better, but you can also go overly chunky and make it look odd too.

        If your wrap is low enough you can take a piece of yarn and tie it around the whole tail like a pony tail. The yarn sits under the tailbone so you’re not pressing on it or cutting off circulation and is hidden by the wrap. Hopefully that makes sense?

        Also if horse has a skinny tail bone and a big fake tail, that can exacerbate the “snake eating a rat” look. In any case, when they’re cantering around, it’s generally/hopefully not too noticeable. Like maybe it only looks extra squishy to you because you’ve been staring at it up close. If you know a braider, I’d ask their opinion/help. The ones I know are friendly and happy to give pointers or even ask if you want extra braiding work!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thank you again - all of what you have offered there is much appreciated! Lots to think about and try. I wanted to put the fake as low as possible to avoid as much bulk being under the braid, but since this was on a three year-old, I only had so much length of tail to play with. I ended up with the two-tier look when I put it any lower than where it ended up being hung. I hate that "switchy" look when the tail separates from the fake too, so always try to hang them so as to blend as much as possible. The sheer volume of hair in this fake just made it more difficult to deal with than I am used to with the smaller tails! Thank you again for taking the time to type all of that out for me. I really do appreciate it.

          Comment


          • #6
            You’re welcome! I don’t suppose you can just use a smaller/skinnier fake tail on 3 year old until his own tail grows longer? Or no fake at all if he has enough tail of his own?

            Is the real tail banged or blunt at the bottom — If you can taper it, that might allow you to hang the fake tail lower without the 2-tier look. Fanning the real tail around the fake tail — putting it in the middle as much as possible— can help with that too; ironically, the less real hair horse has, the easier to blend in the fake tail sometimes. Or shorten the fake tail — but that would be my last resort as then it may end up too short in a year or so.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              It is not my horse or my tail, so I am limited as to changing anything! The owner was happy with the end result, even though I wasn't thrilled. I am just hoping for some tips to make it better if I end up doing him again, or run onto another one of these huge tails. I personally would have left this guy without a fake, as he has a big lovely natural tail, but I am really not a fan of the enormous tail look that is so common, so not the best to judge as to what the "norm" is now.

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