tail braiding and tail bags

Tail braids and tail bags for horses!

  • Tails can be a definitive personality trait of some horses – swishy, or flowing, or just hangin’ out. It can be quite hard to care for tails, but I’ll give it a whirl and describe some things that may work for your horse if you want to keep it protected.



gray horse with a long tail in pasture



  • For the most part, keeping a tail clean and healthy can get complicated. For me, the biggest challenge is working with a horse that lives outside, as mine do. For some reason, dirt is so much fun… and a dirty sticky tail is no fun at all to deal with. Here are some tips on washing a tail, which you may need to do more often for the mud princesses out there.


Starting below the tail bone, braid the tail.


  • For a tail that’s extra thick, you may need to do more than one long braid. This is a great way to do a leave-in conditioning or detangler treatment, just be sure the tail bone is free from product residue, which sometimes causes tail rubbing.


  • You can coat the tail with your choice of conditioner and braid in a loose fashion. You could secure the ends with a rubber mane band, but I prefer to use an elastic hairband for people. Some of these human bands are “no breakage” which helps, too. The rubber braiding bands just don’t last, especially in the sun.



braided tail on chestnut horse


Advantages to braiding the tail down:


  • Can help keep your horse’s tail clean


  • For wispy tails, wind knots won’t be an issue


  • Can make a deep conditioning treatment easier


  • Can help prevent breakage and damage


  • Creates nice waves


Disadvantages to using tail braids:


  • Very little fly-swatting capabilities


  • You may need to re-do every day


  • The outside of the tail may get extra dirty if doing a conditioning treatment


You also have the option of using a tail bag to protect your horse’s tail.


  • This can be done over your braid, and should be fastened well below the tail bone. I recommend that you check these every single day.


  • Tail bags definitely help with keeping a tail clean, and come in amazing colors and patterns.


  • The downside is that many horses really dislike wearing them, and fly-swatting is really diminished.


  • You also need to make sure that your mare’s urine stays away from the bag, otherwise, you will have more than just laundry to deal with.


chestnut horse with a tail braid


What products should you use to condition the tail before you braid or use a tail bag?


  • You can go with a straight conditioner for horses, like a cream formula. You can also use a grooming oil, which is a bit thinner and definitely a bit greasy. Both types tend to soak into your horse’s tail well, and the grooming oils add more shine.


  • Any product that you put in your horse’s tail has the potential to attract a lot of dirt, so just be prepared for a tail shampoo at some point.


go shopping button for horse products


Some handy links if you want to pick up my favorite grooming items for transforming your horse’s tail. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, for which I’m eternally grateful!


Shapley’s Magic Sheen Hair Polish, 1-Quart – for keeping things sleek.

Shapley’s No.1 Light Oil – for deep conditioning and wind knot removal.


Thank you!