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Can we talk about dyeing horses' tails?

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  • Can we talk about dyeing horses' tails?

    ...without laughing too much. Who's done it? How do you keep the dye just on the tail and not dye the rest of the horse? Don't laugh! Ok you can laugh it's pretty silly. But he just looks so much more stunning when his thick, luxurious, wavy tail is actually black. He had to go out during the day for the past 8 months, I'm hoping to switch him to night here soon though.

    My horse is bright bay with two hind white socks--I'd like him to still have socks when I'm done. Someone said put the tail in a garbage bag while it's soaking in to keep the dye off the body/legs. Any other tricks or is that the way to do it?

    I bought "natural black" hair dye rather than "jet black," thinking it would look well- more natural. Right decision?

    Here's a picture of the tail last winter (he's body clipped, normally bright red bay) http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs021...._2878910_n.jpg
    He's got a *fantastic* tail, so I sure don't want the whole thing falling out! If anyone's got a tail dyeing horror story, warn me now! I tried to do a search but without much luck, if there's already some good threads feel free to direct me to them. Thanks!

  • #2
    No need to dye it, just go to Sally's and buy the wash out spray in color. Works great and looks natural. Had a dark grey with a WHITE bottom of her tail. She always looked amazing at shows.
    Platinum Equestrian - Florida, USA

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    • #3
      I promise not to laugh...I understand tail vanity! I'm all about spending hours perfectly blending my fakes and making sure that every hair is exactly where it should be. A great looking tail really can complete the picture!

      If your horse is awesomely tolerant (and I do mean awesomely), you could cut the sides of a big trash bag so that it is one large square and then cut a tail hole in it so that you basically drape his hind end. I would recommend only dying the hair that is not directly next to his dock out of fear that he might react to the chemicals in the dye...but that's just the opinion of someone who owns a number of horses with very weird allergies! If your horse isn't quite so amicable to the trash bag idea, see if someone has a black pair of shipping boots...you know the ones that go up over their hocks? That would do the trick as well, you'd just have to worry about splashing on his backside and not his socks.

      Hope this helps and good luck!!
      Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Horse is fairly tolerant...I will test out a trash bag to gauge his reaction before I break out the dye. I am liking the shipping boot idea! I actually have a full set that I never use. He really hates walking with shipping boots, but maybe standing still he will be fine...

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        • #5
          What about those plastic bags they have at some grocery stores for your wet umbrella? I'll bet that would make a great tail bag while the dye sets.

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          • #6
            You can use Vaseline or something like that on the butt near where the dock touches. Also can use it on any white. That way if you get any drips or bleeding from the dye it wont stain those areas. A good bath with soap and scrubbing will remove any Vaseline. Good Luck!!!
            Great idea about the umbrella bag BTW!!!
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            • #7
              You could do a test patch first, the dye kit will have instructions on how to do it. That will give you a clue as to how his skin will react. Better to have a tiny bald spot on a leg than no more tail.
              For the horse color genetics junky

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              • #8
                Instead of using a garbage bag i would suggest a large towel. Buy a cheap one at a thrift store or use an old one. It WILL get dirty! Cut a hole in it about 5 -10 inches from one end of the short side. Put tail through. Attach baling twine to each side and tie around chest of horse so towel doesn't slide off. You can also just hold the twine.

                Vaseline around tail dock and on any white parts. Standing wraps or shipping boots would work well on super tall socks.

                Follow instructions and you should be good to go. We do this on yearlings tbs going to sale( the big fancy sales) and they tolerate it though we do on occassion ace them or just do their tails after the vet does all the x-rays for the sales so they are already sedated.


                PS beware of tail swishing!! Black marks on horse sides are not fun!

                P.
                Last edited by Polydor; Aug. 12, 2010, 04:59 AM. Reason: adding boots and tail swish
                A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!

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                • #9
                  Can't you just bag his tail, so it doesn't get yucky/bleached? I see horses all the time with there tails bagged so they stay nice.

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                  • #10
                    I have been dying my horses' tails for years with no problem. I use clairol natural instincts neutral black (the darkest color they have). Place some kind of conditioner on both sides of the butt cheeks to prevent dying if their body. Wet tail down but do not shampoo. Follow instructions on the box and Mix up color and with provided gloves work dye in from top to bottom making sure you cover the tail. If you have a particularly thick tail you may need two boxes of dye. Use a plastic grocery sack, place tail in sack and bring sack all the way to the top tying it using the handles around the dock. If your horse doesn't swish you can just leave it there for the duration listed on the box. If he does, or is spooky, just hold the sack so it doesn't make noise or slip down. Rinse until the water runs clear, then apply the whole tube of conditioner. Rinse and let dry. The tail will be so soft and the perfect color.
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                    • #11
                      I do exactly what Nick does. Use the same brand -- Clairol Natural Instincts. it is ammonia free. I also suggest wetting down the whole rear part of the horse, so that if some dye does get on the body hair, you can quickly rinse it off. Keep the hose nearby and running. I also wrap any white socks with old polo wraps. I don't bother with a bag. I just stand behind the horse and work in the dye for the whole 8 - 10 minutes (for black tail). For black tail, there is a Soft Black that I like. If I am dying a chestnut tail, I often shorten the time so I get a more mixy color.
                      Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Excellent info! Thanks so much everyone!

                        Wish I had known about the Clairol brand before...I already bought some. I did get 2 boxes because he has a massive tail. My wait time says 30 minutes so I'm probably going to want to bag it rather than hold it the whole time.

                        Will arrange: garbage bags, cheap towels, vaseline, shipping boots or polos.

                        My directions say apply *dry* *unwashed* hair (does that sound right?). I can tell you right now his tail is filthy--I've been on vacation for a week. So I figure I need to wash and condition it before I dye it. But I could let it dry again before I do the dye. Maybe wash it before I ride and dye it after when he's nice and tired?

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                        • #13
                          has anyone ever dyed a light tail, such as one on a palomino? either to whiten the entire tail or to darken the whiter parts to more of a golden color.

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                          • #14
                            Don't condition before you dye. But you will definitely want to afterwards. After a work out is a good idea. Maybe a hay bag too. Good Luck.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JetsGlitterNGold View Post
                              has anyone ever dyed a light tail, such as one on a palomino? either to whiten the entire tail or to darken the whiter parts to more of a golden color.
                              We used Oxiclean and soap mixed on my daughters pony's tail. He lived out 24/7 and it was always yellow. Then we would use some of the brightening shampoo (purple stuff). DON'T leave the purple stuff sit too long or your pony will look like "punk rock pony" Again a really good deep condition afterwards. I think I have a pic of his tail some where. Good Luck!!
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                              • #16
                                Here is my daughters first pony The Teflon Don.
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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by alliekat View Post
                                  Don't condition before you dye. But you will definitely want to afterwards. After a work out is a good idea. Maybe a hay bag too. Good Luck.
                                  Ok, the dye came with a conditioner to use afterwards, I was thinking I would condition it just regular conditioner before because his tail is going to be impossible to comb out if I don't. I don't imagine I can use show sheen or a detangler on it can I? He's got fairly curly/wavy hair and his tail is super long. But if conditioning before dyeing will keep the color from taking I definitely will skip it and figure something else out. I figure it probably needs to be combed out before I dye it so it colors evenly. Maybe I'll just have to be patient?

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                                  • #18
                                    You are better off not washing it all together then. Don't add anything like SS or conditioner before.
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                                    • #19
                                      I have dyed my bay mare's tail before a show (actually my teacher did it) but it looked great. We mainly wanted to get her dock because she has a lot of gray in her black tail (born that way!). We used FanciFul I think, its semi permanent for covering gray. You just shake the bottle and pour it on, super easy! Good luck!
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                                      • #20
                                        Skipchange - I'd take that back, or give it away and go buy some clairol natural instincts. Per the instructions:

                                        http://www.clairol.com/naturalinstin...structions.pdf

                                        The wait time is only 10 minutes. Thirty is a really long time to wait, especially since you're making sure that the bag stays on, or the tail stays away from the body the whole time. It's only about 7 dollars per box, and well worth it. You can also find coupons online. Last time I bought it, it was buy two and get 5 dollars off.

                                        Also, if the tail is really dirty and knotty, I'd wash it, show sheen it, let it dry then brush it out. Then wait 2 days to do the dyeing. Let a little grime work its way back in, then wet it down and dye (no shampoo or conditioner first). You don't want it to be soaked, just damp (also per instructions)

                                        Nines - I'm not patient enough to watch the tail the whole time, that's why I use a bag. Never thought about using polos, but I guess when the bag is on there's no way the tail is going near the socks!

                                        TJ's tail post dye:

                                        http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a0...D550/ry%3D400/

                                        http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a0...D550/ry%3D400/

                                        Looks very natural with his blackish/brownish self

                                        http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a0...D550/ry%3D400/
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