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Horse Tail Growth

I’m rescuing a horse whose previous owner cut his tail off (she had put his tail in a tail bag for winter, but didn’t care for it properly -then when the tail bag was removed, instead of working to get the matting out, she cut it off!). She had cut just below the bone, there’s already several inches of regrowth.

Looking for recommendations to help him re-grow his tail faster.

Any luck with SmartMane & Tail or Biomane pellets?
Best shampoo/detangler?
Any other topical supplements such as MTG?

With summer coming soon I’m also concerned since he won’t be able to swat bugs away. Should I consider a tail extension for him? Any suggestions for brands?

Just feed a GOOD feed with quality protein, and protect the new growth with benign neglect. Only time it gets brushed out is after it has been cleaned and conditioned thoroughly. And if you’re concerned about breakage, do not attempt to brush it when it’s wet. And time. It will grow back and there really isn’t any super special secret formula that will speed up the process. As far as flies, I would consider a fly sheet. Even if yo were to put a tail extension in, you don’t want the horse to swish the fake tail. it would just rip more of the real tail out.


Friends with QHs over here highly recommend Tail Boots, even in the tropics. No personal experience, though perhaps look at your diet and make sure it is high AND balanced with zinc / copper and elemental sulfur (like MSM).


I myself love the Tail Boots but I don’t think it would work in the OP’s situation as I don’t think there is enough tail yet to “attach” one!

I have fed the Majesty brand BioMane wafers the last couple years. I like them because they are super easy to feed all year round. Just give them a cookie!
I just started (yesterday) my mare on an omega-3 wafer (from Total Health Equine, their Omega Chews) as I am hoping it will be anti-inflammatory for her but omega-3 is also good for hair growth.

Can you post a picture of how much hair he does have? One of the “old wives tails” about growth is adding WEIGHT. This is the concept behind the Tail Boot too, and also the concept behind putting figure 8 knots in the tail (I heard this from the reining crowd). One my own horses, I do the figure 8 knots over the winter. The “knot” make the tail heavier which is supposedly supposed to encourage growth.

I wonder if you have enough hair to get a few figure 8 knots in the tail? You could then also make your own “extensions” with baling twine or similar (thinking outside the box!) that you could just wrap in with the vet wrap anyway.

Or if there isn’t enough tail to do a figure 8 knot, you could still use vet wrap around pieces and put in twine to add some swishers for your horse for flies, and that would still add some weight to it too. Just trying to think outside the box here!

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Patience and time. It won’t make it grow faster but it will be easier on you.

One of my horses has never had more than a very short tail ( goes with the breed) she does fine in fly season because I spray her. No amount of feed or supplements will make her grow a tail, it is all genetics.
If the horse had a nice tail they will again. They can grow fairly quickly.

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Interesting about the knots. When I first heard/read about them they were used to keep the tail up off the ground so it wouldn’t get stepped on when backing etc., and to keep the tail from tangling. I don’t recall anything about weight. Besides the knots were just the horse’s own tail, so it wouldn’t really add much for extra weight.


The vet wrap around them adds a little bit of weight.

Don’t know if the weight thing is actually true but it’s what I was told!!

Properly fortify the diet, and you get the growth his genetics allows

Run away from MTG - it’s burned way too many horses. There’s no need for it, ever, for anything. Ever.


Important caveat here: Never, ever, ever use VetRap on the tail of a horse that spends significant time turned out.


Why? I do it every winter. Mine are outside 24/7.

This was last spring, after the figure 8 knots were in for about 5 months on one of my horses. Looks awful, but washed and conditioned up beautifully.

The vet wrap is wrapped around each individual knot. Because you can’t have the knot exposed and have to have something to hold the knot there.

Are you talking about something different with vet wrap in a tail?

Because I’ve seen it rot/melt into a tail. On multiple occasions. If you live in a very dry climate, you may be able to get away with it. Or if your horse mostly lives in a stall. I will never risk it, after all the messes I’ve seen it make.

Also, this isn’t true. I used to use crochet knots (I think the same thing you’re calling figure 8 knots) in my hunter’s tail, and I never used anything other than conditioner to set them.

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Hmm. The way I do it, they’d never stay for months through the winter.

I saw it here on this video. Fast forward to about 28 minutes in as that’s when she’s putting the knots in with the vet wrap.

Yes, that looks like the same knots I do. But I never leave a tail up for more than three weeks at a time without taking it down to detangle and reset or, preferably, wash and condition. What can I say? When you have a breed (Arabian) that isn’t allowed to wear a fake tail, you become obsessive about preserving every hair!

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I have no barn and I’m not washing tails when it’s below zero outside in the winter. So they stay in for months!

Missed this response earlier. Well, I’ve done 2 winters now on 3 horses and no one had rot and no one had it melt into their tail.

But I suppose things can’t rot when it never gets above freezing.

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Sounds like you are in a much colder climate than me! Makes sense that you can use something like VetRap in a tail more safely. Down here in the humid south, I’ve seen it rot through in a week’s time. That horse had to have 18” of tail cut off to remove the sticky, gummy mess.

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I live in North Dakota.
And I’m not about to redo knots when it looks like this outside.
(This winter has been worst than most. We had like 8 blizzards. Not joking. I lost count.)
I just leave their tails alone until spring.