How to Fluff Up Your Horse’s Thin Tail


Some things are just the way they are with horses – their color, their personality, their hair coat, their mane and tail. But what we can do if your horse has a thin and wispy tail? Does it really matter? At home, probably not, but in the show ring, it might.


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A few things to ponder before you start experimenting with fluffing up your horse’s tail.


Address any issues that might be a reason that your horse has a thin tail.


  • Is he an Appaloosa? it’s probably just genetics. If his tail has gotten thinner over time, or you notice that he is rubbing it, do some investigating. Tail rubbing is often ticks, mites, a dirty sheath, pinworms, or even an ill-fitting blanket.


  • Is one of his paddock mates eating his tail? Well for pete’s sake this is annoying. Treating your tail with a hot sauce should nip that right in the bud. BUT – any horse that eats hot sauce will test positive at shows for capsaicin. An alternative is to send your horse out with his friends covered in conditioner. Most horses don’t want to snack on a goopy tail.


  • Loop in your Vet if his tail quality has diminished over time. This might be a result of a diet change or other issue that can be addressed.


  • If your horse loses hair because he likes to get it stuck on fences and stuff, keep your horse’s tail extra slick so helpfully that doesn’t happen as much. Sheen products and grooming oils can help here.


gray horse with a long tail in pasture

Long, but thin and not fluffy.


There are a few easy-ish ways to thicken up a thin tail.


You can use a tail extension.


  • These come in all colors, and all price ranges, too. The different styles typically attach in a similar fashion, although there are some differences in the tops of the fake tail. Most fake tails are braided into the hair at the end of the tailbone.


  • A few notes on fake tails – be sure to care of them as you would your horse’s real tail. Use the same shampoo and conditioner, and don’t let the top of the fake tail get wet. All of the hair is tightly bound and water can create damage there.


  • After you apply your fake tail, make sure your horse’s real tail blends in. You may need to trim up the edges. You may need to fluff and feather things around. Resist the urge to trim up the fake tail – it won’t grow back.


colors of tail extensions

Tail extensions come in all colors!



top of tail extension to braid into a tail

Sew or braid this loop at the top of the tail extension into your horse’s tail for instant volume.


You can use Show Touch Ups to fluff up a tail.


  • If you don’t need, or want, to invest in a fake tail, you can spray one in. Show Touch Ups are literally fluffy pigments in a can. You can use one, or more, colors to fluff up your horse’s tail. Fan it all out, and start to apply some spritzes from the inside out.


  • A Show Touch Ups application lasts for days, but you can use grooming oil to remove it. Your horse’s tail won’t be damaged, and the color will be great. This is especially useful for a horse that has a stained tail. It’s better for the hair strength if you cover up stains instead of trying to use harsh detergents to get rid of stains and yellowing.


groom with fluffy horse tail

Show Touch Ups are pigment in a can and will fluff up a tail. For tails, legs, scars, and chrome.


spray a horse tail with show touch ups for volume

Fan your horse’s tail out to apply Show Touch Ups.


You can also spend some time knotting up your horse’s tail to fluff things up.


  • This is the horse equivalent of no-heat beach waves. You can do this after a shampoo and conditioning session, but I think a tail that’s a smidge sticky and dirty works best.



  • Separate sections of your horse’s tail, about the width of your finger. Just start knotting it up! Start close to the tailbone, and work your way down to the end.


  • YES – the knots are going to expand. Some might even fall out.


  • Assuming your horse doesn’t need massive fly-swatting capabilities at the moment, you could gather several strands of the knotty tail and secure them with a hair tie at the bottom. Let things set overnight and fluff up with your fingers the next morning.


tight knots in a tail

Beach waves for horses. It will fluff up a tail!


loose knots in a tail

These knots are tiny when you pull them taut, but they do relax a bit.


You can also bang your horse’s tail.


  • Banging the tail creates a straight line at the bottom, which makes things a bit wider. This is appropriate for some disciplines, but you’ll be laughed out of the hunter ring if you show up with a banged tail.


Or, you can just ride really fast and enjoy the blur of tail behind you.

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