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Mud tails (spin-off from braiding thread)

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  • Mud tails (spin-off from braiding thread)

    Do you ever whip up a mud tail on your horse?

    How do you do it, and do you use twine, or...?

    As a child, I always thought they looked so dashing. It seemed back then that only Really. Serious. Horses. had them, but I didn't learn how to do them until much later in life.

    Now I enjoy doing them, and it's funny to observe people's reactions. There must be something about the visual that is pleasing to the eye, I guess, because they are somehow more than just practical.

    (I still think they look cool now I'm an old fairt )

  • #2
    Very useful and practical.

    Haven't seen one in years. I wonder why?

    Been many time I wished I'd put his up before we ended up dragging 10 feet of greenbriar (which of course the horse insisted on whipping around because it annoyed him; striking me)

    I think it looks cool too.

    I can also make a haywisp and that seems to be arcane knowledge too. I swear I'm not that old.... really...... didn't everyone learn to make hay wisps for something to do on a rainy day?
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling


    • #3
      Just check out the rear of a polo pony !


      Page 17; 2 methods
      ... _. ._ .._. .._


      • #4
        I meant in the hunt field.

        I've seen plenty of 'em on polo ponies - not that I go to matches much anymore.

        Do you see them out hunting? I guess it depends on your territory - mine is bottomland.
        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
        -Rudyard Kipling


        • #5
          I love the look of mud tails too. I see lots of them because we hunt in all weather.


          • Original Poster

            Just googled "how to make a mud tail," and there are clearly illustrated good instructions here (p51+):


            The ones I do are more like these than the polo ones.

            I've done them for the Hunter Paces, not for hunting so far.

            It reminds me somewhat of a 50s/60s up-do in how much it changes the appearance!

            The other braidy-thing I'd like to learn is a herringbone braid - no doubt Google will be my friend.


            • #7
              The staff at Middleburg frequently have a mud knot done on their horse's tails. It looks good on certain horses.
              Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles


              • #8
                Ah yes, a lost art!?

                Now that you mention it; it really has lessened over the years hasn't it!? Was much more popular years ago. I think less now because it's becoming a lost art. Folks don't take the time or know how. Or.....like in my case......just plain not good at it. EVERY time I've done one for hunting, every time....it has come out while out there. I can't seem to get them to stay. And that's not using tape too as I thought tape might be a faux pas....Besides I'd need a ton of tape. I think horses that aren't used to it sometimes whip their tails around hard to try and shake it loose. I could hear one of mine slinging his back & forth; kindof a whap, whap, whack sound!!! Don't go near his hind end or someone's gonna get hurt!!!
                I've seen some locally this year tho'. Just 2-3 a meet maybe?
                Someone taught me the single braid wrapped around kind but I can't get it to stay.


                • #9
                  I used to braid mine in with yarn, but electrical tape was commonly used and accepted. Appearance aside, it really is a help to a horse in my opinion on a muddy day, that tail can really pick up lots of weight in mud and water. Maybe it is seen less these days because many hunts just hunt fewer hours in a day as opposed to 20-30 years ago when 4 hours was a minimum for a hunting day.

                  Briars and brambles on a dry day are a different fix, for me. Liberal application of show sheen or similar (WD-40 can work) in the horse's tail and a thorough detangling of tail before the meet. At the end of the day, the briars slide ride out. Then of course there are those nasty little seeds that accumulate on the saddle pads and etc...but that's a different thread I suppose.


                  • #10
                    Ok, I love the way this looks and am going to start practicing now. My question is, is there any time that it is really innapropriate? Does it have to be a muddy day? Obviously I wouldn't go into the dressage ring like this but maybe for xc. My horse has a massive thick wavy tail and it is better off "up" in some fashion. I also like the way his butt/legs look with the tail out of the way.
                    "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."


                    • #11
                      Back when rivenoak was hunting Prozac Pony, she would sometimes put his tail up because he got the most bodacious diarrhea while hunting. I eventually put him on probiotics, and that helped, so the tail knotting stopped.

                      But here he is after Opening Hunt in 2007, in all his sweaty glory.

                      (I believe she used yarn & electrical tape. Maybe vet wrap sometimes.)
                      Attached Files
                      Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
                      "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother


                      • #12
                        That looks like one of the times I used, gasp, silver duct tape to hold it all together.
                        ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                        • #13
                          Something the polo people do right

                          I'm a big fan of mud-knots when they are needed. That's in mud. It's also in thistle-or-other-sticker ladden country.

                          I'm also old, hence the instance on function being first. Being old also means that it was my job as a young'un to do up the tails for my elders' horses. That served me well because it also fell to me to put them away afterward.

                          So, put in a mud-knot if you need it. Do it yourself. Learn to do a good job so that you can have your turn-out signature for all those behind your fabulous horse to see.

                          I don't get the "put it in for looks" thing, and do think that ought not to be a criterion. (Told you I was old.) But if you do want to make your horse's tail look good, go get a polo player or groom to teach you their technique. Those guys can put up a tail in know that stays without any kind of tape.

                          I'll describe the polo technique I learned if you want. Can't say I execute it well. But then I'm old....
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat


                          • #14
                            If you don't want to use duct or electrical tape, try zip ties. We do that with the polocrosse horses - french braid down the dock, braid the skirt in two pieces and pull the ends up through the braid with a coat hanger - zip tie in place and cut the ends of the zip ties off. Works very well and stays up all day.



                            • Original Poster

                              After all my pontificating here, I thought I better re-try my method. It took me approx 3 minutes to give my horse a mud tail while he was eating his supper tonight, and I wasn't even hurrying (hay - maybe that's the trick!).

                              I used the method in the link I gave, so it's not braided, rather I just split it roughly in two from the base of his dock, and wound the two parts overlapping back up around the dock, and I'd left a long little strand out from roughly half-way up the dock that I was then able whip around the ends before tucking them back down inside the wound part. I didn't even have to brush his tail first, always a bonus, and I should think that, if I'd whipped in some black wool thread or similar, I could easily have finished it so it was secure enough for hunting. The horse has a long thick wiry wavy tail.

                              I don't like the look of the braided version - the end result is somehow scatalogical in appearance, to my eyes.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SidesaddleRider View Post
                                The staff at Middleburg frequently have a mud knot done on their horse's tails. It looks good on certain horses.
                                John really likes his mud knots. He taught me but I have since forgotten. If you don't use it, you lose it!

                                I love them, I think they look really cool, and make you look really smart at the end of the day when you don't have to wash copious amounts of mud out of your horses tail- their bellies are bad enough!


                                • #17
                                  It's fairly common here

                                  And I noticed a few when I hunted with Shawnee hounds last weekend.


                                  This one looks like a simple braid with electrical tape



                                  -Painted Wings

                                  Set youself apart from the crowd, ride a paint horse, you're sure to be spotted


                                  • #18
                                    Well, I needed to dust the picture frame so I scanned a picture of a mud tail from oh, 34ish years ago:



                                    • #19
                                      Beverly -

                                      I always look forward to your photos.

                                      Lovely horse - and what a nice knot! No stray hairs!

                                      And no burrs..... argh- the burrs.......

                                      All these photos are great - thanks for posting them.

                                      I think it is a skill I will teach my niece when she comes to visit. She's getting old enough to do more chores - ahem - I mean learn more skills. She has already learned to call the hairnet do - "hunter hair" and not "cafeteria lady" hair.
                                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                      -Rudyard Kipling


                                      • #20
                                        I love mud tails! I hadn't done one in years til this winter when I put one up on a percheron I ride. He looked adorable!
                                        I use the divide 4 four parts (4th being a small section in the back) braid 3 part way down, turn that up and split it in 2, have a piece of bailing twine handy forming a loop along the tail, wrap the 2 pieces around the tail til you have about 6-7" left, take the 4th part wrap it around the 2 parts already wrapped til there's about 6-7" left, braid those 3 parts, turn that and put it thru the loop made by the twine, pull down til the twine is out and tuck the braid back in. No tape necessary and it will last.

                                        JSwan - I'm with you - spent many Sunday afternoons learning how to make a wisp!
                                        ** I LOVE PUIKA & SHELLA FAN CLUB*** member
                                        Originally posted by 2DogsFarm
                                        Good job R&G!
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