A step by step guide to the perfect tail - the humane way
How to get the “pulled” tail look using a Smart Tails thinning comb – in minutes!
Tidying your horse’s tail with a Smart Tails comb really is easy. In just a few minutes anyone can transform a messy tail into a beautifully finished one ready for the show ring. Simply follow the easy step-by-step guide below.
Why use a Smart Tails thinning comb as opposed to traditional tail pulling?
Firstly, and most importantly, Smart Tails is totally humane and causes no pain to the horse. If you have a young or sensitive animal, why put it through the trauma of pulling when you can achieve an equally good finish with this brilliant tool?
Secondly, the process is far easier and quicker for the groom, with no sore fingers at the end!
British showing supremo, Lynn Russell, says she prefers using the Smart Tails comb to pulling as she finds traditional pulling methods irritate the hair follicles causing the horse to itch. Similarly, shaving down the sides can also make the tail itchy.
Step 1: PREPARE YOUR TAIL TIDYING KIT
Smart Tails offers a range of comb types to suit your needs: coarse, medium, fine and superfine. Choose the Smart Tails that best suits your horse’s hair type and the finish you desire. Smart Tails yellow handle range has a replaceable blade system, so you can interchange the blades if you want to use more than one type of blade. For example, you may have horses with different hair types, or you may have a really thick tail that you can get under control with a coarse blade and then finish with a fine blade.
You will need to have a few other items handy too: a mane/tail brush, hair spray (or water), shampoo, detangler and tail bandage.
Step 2: COMB THROUGH
Thoroughly brush the tail to remove any knots before you begin thinning.
Step 3: THINNING
Feel to the end of the dock and aim to thin half to three quarters of the way down.
Take the Smart Tails thinning comb and use it in downward strokes on the sides of the tail, where you would normally pull. Keep the strokes as long as possible and make sure you treat both sides evenly.
Do not use Smart Tails down the middle of the tail, leave the central top hairs long; the hair will lie better when bandaged and give the sleek, professional finish that we all want to achieve. If your horse has an extremely thick tail (including the centre), lift the long hair up and thin underneath but still leave those central top hairs long.
If you are doing a full tail which hasn't been pulled or trimmed before, do a bit each day over a period of a week or so, tail bandaging in between, so that you can judge just how much you do want to tidy. It can be a bit addictive and you don’t want to overdo it!
Step 5: CHECK THE TAIL LENGTH
To ensure the tail is the right length place a rubber pipe or show cane under the horse’s tail (the horse naturally carries his tail when working) and cut about an inch below the hock - level with the chestnuts on the inside of their hind legs is a good guide.
For a perfect finish it is often better to trim the bottom of the tail with clippers rather than scissors, this ensures a straight cut.
Step 6: FINISHING TOUCHES
Wash the tail thoroughly with an everyday shampoo. Spray the top with hair spray or water (or a mix of both) and condition the bottom of the tail with a detangler. Apply a tail bandage (making sure you tie the tapes below the end of the dock) and leave on for at least an hour.
Step 7: ADMIRE THE RESULT – A tidy, pain-free tail.
If you also have a mane to tidy, Smart Manes uses the same principle as Smart Tails. Simply brush the mane over to the wrong side and comb through with the Smart manes, so that you are thinning the hair from underneath.
- Don’t wash the mane or tail before thinning. It is easier if the hair is a bit greasy as it helps the comb to grip.
If you have a few fine hairs left at the top of the tail that the Smart Tails won’t pick up, then use the Equishave and brush lightly down to give a really neat finish. You can also use this under the tail if there is a lot of thick hair.
Smart Tails, Smart Manes and other ingenious items from the Smart Grooming range are distributed exclusively by Grosvenor Park Products in Australia. Stockist enquiries welcome.