There are many ways to tidy and shape the tail of your horse or pony, depending on the type of look and finish that is required as well as the class or competition that you will be entering.
If you are a newcomer to the showing circuit, watch some classes first, and check out the turnout regulations before starting your makeover, to ensure you get the correct look.
Traditionally, a pulled tail, was done by hand, and would often cause discomfort to the horse, as well as leaving soreness and irritation. These days, there are many other more humane ways of tidying a tail, to give it the “pulled tail” look.
Our “how to get the pulled tail finish” process using the Smart Tails Tidying Rake will help you safely achieve a neat tidy tail in minutes.
- Ask yourself a few questions.
- Is the tail naturally thick and coarse, or fine and soft?
- What type of competition or showing class will you be competing in.
- Do you want a tidy but natural finish or a very defined and shaped finish.
Once you have a picture in your head of the result that you are hoping to achieve, this will really help.
- Select a Smart Tails tail tidying rake with the grade of blade that will best suit the tail that you wish to tidy.
Coarse – This will go through thick, coarse hair leaving a tidy but natural finish, which is perfect for Natives, or for taking out the thickness at the top and sides during the summer months, when the heat can cause irritation in this area. It is also used when tidying for the first time, to get the bulk out before moving on to a finer grade.
Medium – this is the most popular grade. It works well on most tail hair, and will tidy to leave a natural finish, or can be used to give more definition, if used in more concentrated areas down either side of the tail.
Fine – this is perfect for using on tails that have already been tidied and just need a rake down the sides every week, to keep show or competition tidy. Suitable for finer hair as the teeth are spaced quite closely.
Super Fine – this has a narrow head and very closely spaced blades. Designed for the smaller show pony types, as well as for getting a super close finish at the top and sides.
Now it’s time to tame the tail!
Ensure the tail is clean and has been carefully brushed through and is tangle free.
Having selected the Smart Tail Tidying Rake, with the appropriate grade of blade, stand behind but to the side of the horse or pony and start to gently rake the tail in a downward motion starting at the top on one of the sides. The hair will come out easily, and the horse will show no signs of distress, in fact they often lift their tails to help you!
Depending on the finish, repeat the process moving downwards. In the UK we continue down to about half the length of the dock, tapering in to accentuate the shape of the hind quarters. Less is more, when you start, it’s very easy to get carried away. Check you work and then repeat on the other side, getting the length down the sides the same as the other side. Dampen the hair and apply a tail bandage and leave for half an hour, then remove and check your work.
For more definition and a close finish, then go up to a finer grade and continue in the same way.
For a natural finish, a few strokes down the sides on each side is often sufficient. It really depends on your own preference and whether it’s for a competition/show tidy or for just an overall neat appearance.
To keep the tail tidied during the competition season, use the Smart Tails Tidying Rake, every week or two, or just before an event, to keep in shape. Apply a tail bandage to the dampened tail as part of your grooming routine, this will help to lay the hair correctly.
The Professional Smart Tails or the Yellow Handle option take replacement blades. Once the blade is blunt, the blade can then be replaced without having to buy a new handle. If two or three types of blades are required, these can also be fitted. The blade is easily removed by undoing the screws at either end of the blade head. Both types have a metal fork that the blade sits into. This can be pulled out slightly or squeezed in allowing all four grades of blade to be fitted onto either of these handles. It will come off as one unit, and the replacement blade can then be fitted.