tail washing tips


Tips for washing your horse’s tail


The tail is one of those things that most horse owners really want to preserve. One way to do that is to make sure it’s clean, tangle-free, and well maintained. Every tail, no matter the horse, will need a good shampoo. The frequency of washing your horse’s tail depends on your horse, his house (inside or outside), and his general environment. Sometimes, I find the need to wash only the tail and not do a full bath.


When it’s tail washing time, I have a pretty specific method of working.


  • I like to use a smidge of shampoo dissolved in warm water in a bucket. This is a great way to just dunk the tail up to the tail bone in bubbly water and have lots to work with.


  • Then you can use a sponge to add some of your mixture to the upper part of the tail.


  • Another choice would be to wet the tail and then use shampoo in your hands to massage top to bottom. This is pretty easy and lets the shampoo slide down the tail.


shampoo your horse's tail in a bucket

The ol’ dunking method.


Spend a lot of time working your shampoo gently into the tail.


  • At the tail bone, you also need to spend your time working it into the base of the hairs and the skin. While you are there, do another inspection of the tail bone looking for bumps, lumps, scrapes, tumors, ticks, and the like.


  • The tail bone is also the area that you devote your time to rinsing, and rinsing really well. Suds left here can irritate the sensitive skin and cause rubbing and tail damage. Start at the top and rinse down.


  • Do a final rinse with white vinegar to remove all shampoo and conditioner remains and add some extra shine.




Conditioners are amazing, and take a bit longer to rinse out.


  • I typically use a tiny amount on the tail bone because of the rinse factor, and more on the ends and body to make detangling easier. I apply, then wait a few minutes before rinsing.


  • After it’s all said and done, I like to dry the tail using the “helicopter” method for a few whirls to remove some of the water. I grab the tail below the tail bone and spin it around. Luckily, my horses don’t blink at all, an alternative is to use a towel and blot dry.


More horse tail care tips:


  • If you are concerned with losing tail hairs, don’t be. Just like our own hair, it does come out naturally, and no amount of product or tail bag or pampering will prevent it. So don’t panic if your brush has some hairs in it!


  • So now the tail is damp, which is when I like to apply a light detangler. I will wait for the tail to dry fully before I comb it out, that’s just my choice, you may prefer to comb it out wet or damp. For me, the tail seems slicker and easier to brush when dry.


  • Also, keep in mind that a ton of product left in the tail can sometimes create “dirt glue” on the tail.


  • For those of you that use tail bags, be sure to apply them well below the tail bone, and I suggest braiding them into a conditioned braid. I also suggest removing and re-tying every day to make sure all is well in there. I know lots of horses that do great without tail bags, and I know some that do better without them. It’s your choice and what works for you.



go shopping button for horse products

If you want to do some shopping now in prep for your horse’s bathing, might I suggest the following? As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which is no extra charge to you! In fact, you will gain many thanks and good karma from me.


You can also snap up a bottle of the grooming oil I love 


Magic Sheen, works wonders without all of the added alcohol.


This shampoo, MediCare, has soothing ingredients for sensitive skin.


Everyone’s favorite MTG for all sorts of skin issues.


EquiTone in Black is great for bays and darker horses.


Whitening EquiTone is good for all colors for shine, and whitening for grays. 


Red EquiTone in brightens chestnuts and blood bays.


EquiTone in GOLD works with palomino coloring. 



No. 2 Heavy Oil, just a bit of deeper conditioning for dry winter coats.


Thank you!