Monday, October 20, 2014

The Great Tail Experiment

I have a real problem with tails. I want them to be shiny, flowing, and fluffy. I am seriously attracted to a good tail. When I have a new container of show sheen, it lasts maybe a week. I spray it on EVERYONE. Every school horse, every training ride... I don't know. It's actually problematic. I could focus on other, more healthful things, such as currying. Natural shine.

Now, as anyone who's worked with horses for any length of time will know, there's two big problems with my gallon-of-show-sheen-a-week thing. A) Show sheen is expensive, and B) there's a gargantuan debate raging over whether or not all my horses's tails are going to fall off due to silicon poisoning or something else I can't really decipher.

I am going to test out some internet remedies on some of my barn's tails. The test will be to handle the tail before, apply the remedy, and then brush the tail. (Listen, you. I know you're not supposed to brush tails very often. This is science*** so we'll allow it for now.)

The Contenders:

Remedy #1: Infusium 23. The internet says to wash the tail, then shake it slightly dry, then to "marinate" the tail with the infusium and leave it alone until it's dry. $6.99 for the container of conditioner.

Remedy #2: Pledge. So I realize that this is still chock full of chemicals and whatnot, but we'll give it a go anyhow because a surprising number of people swear by it. $4-6 for the can.

Remedy #3: Pink's hair lotion. I've gotten some conflicting advice on how to use this, so I'm going to wash the tail and somewhere between sparingly apply and marinate the tail in this stuff. $4.99 for the bottle.

Remedy #4: Kid's hair detangler. I mean, I got it for $0.50. Why not?

Remedy #5: Motion's oil hair spray. The internet says it can be bought for $3.49, however, I don't remember what I bought it for.

Remedy #6: Garnier Fructis's "Marvelous Oil". $5.99.

The test:

Tango's tail before

He has a pretty nice tail. It sees a lot of vetrolin. 
Tango's before-tail feels pretty healthy and maneagable. I can pull knots out of it easily and it feels strong.

Ohmygod it's still sticky
I drenched his tail in the infusium and left it to dry. After an hour it was still sort of damp and sticky. It was easier to brush than dry untouched tail, but it was still gross. I'm headed to the farm tonight, we'll see if many more hours of drying allowed it to resume "hair" status and not "gunky halloween prank" status.

I sort of love Danny's tail

It's so full, and a little wavy

Mm. So much tail
So Danny's tail I covered in Pledge. Hah. Hah. Before I did that, it felt healthy and nice to manage.

It smelled like lemons! And it was crazy easy to brush. But it wasn't really much shinier, and it felt sort of stiff? And the shine is the main reason I mess with their tails, so...


I'm pretty sure we bought this horse solely for his tail.

And then after treatment with this stuff:

IT WAS SO SHINY OH MY GOD. If I were to use it at a show, I'd probably spray, brush, and respray because it only makes the strands it touches shiny. It also collected dust in the arena... so that was a bummer. His tail felt sort of like straw before the treatment and then it just felt oily afterwards... but the shine! It also was not easier to brush. At all. 

Harley's tail before

Harley's tail after
Harley we used the kid's hair detangler, and maybe you're supposed to let it dry first, but it was sticky. And weird. And smelled like raspberries. Or strawberries. I don't even remember, but it felt weird.

Magic's tail before

Magic's tail after
Magic got the Garnier Fructis Miracle remedy, and honestly after all the things, this one wins in terms of shine, ease of brushability, and smell.  I subsequently used it on EVERYONE. I love it.

Leo's tail before

Leo's tail after
Leo got the Pink Hair Lotion, and while it worked well for ease of brushing, I didn't like how it felt. It was odd and sticky. 

The results?

The total winner
I've used this stuff on like six horses now and I still totally love it. I can put it in, play with their tail, and it's soft, managable, and smells tasty. I also don't seem to be able to put too much in, which is a problem of mine. It also doesn't attract dust the way some of these other things do. It seems to be lasting well, the price is WAY better than a container of show sheen, and I like it. Winning!

I bought it, so I might as well use it. Sparingly and carefully. I don't know about keeping horse's tails conditioned and whether or not it actually helps, but it did help with the ease-of-brushing factor. 

I will DEFINITELY be using this immediately before entering the show ring in the future. It's pretty cheap, I already own it, and the shine is amazing. 

Scary chemicals not withstanding, this was the closest to show sheen for the whole "sleek, tail falling apart in your hands" feeling. 

This stuff is ending up in the garbage. NOPE. Do not like. Will not reattempt.

I'm beginning to think, having done some further reading, that I was supposed to get the leave-in treatment and not the conditioner for my horse's tail. Let's just write this one off, relocate the conditioner to my bathroom, and call it a day. Maybe I'll revisit the leave-in treatment later because of how many people swear by it, but we'll see.

*** Science being, in this sense, the least scientific analysis you've ever seen. So subjective. So random. SO uncontrolled.


  1. I treat my horses tail like my own hair and silicon won't make your hair fall out as long as you do wash it. (actually pretty sure it won't make your hair fall out at all)

    1. Yeah, that's my thought on it - but it's funny what people will say on the internet. It's primarily how EXPENSIVE show sheen is that prompts this experiment :)

  2. I'm loving all the science up in here! Very interesting...and tails galore! I am guessing you will never own an appy...

    1. Hee hee I used to own this guy: but that was before I had a few appendix geldings with seriously delicious tails. It's their fault I became so obsessed!