A beautiful tail at the Lipika Stud Farm in Slovenia

A beautiful tail at the Lipika Stud Farm in Slovenia

Whether your horse has a woeful tail or a gorgeous tail, you can improve it.

With coconut oil.  

It’s the trendy substance right now for healthy cooking.

Some of us have discovered how great it is for skin care, as a hand cream or bath oil.

African-Americans have been it on hair for a long time.  And the rest of us are now catching up.

Whether the hair is in the boudoir or in the barn, the secret of coconut oil is out.

And what is the secret exactly?  It turns out that coconut oil has a unique ability to bind to the protein structure of hair and to seal moisture inside the hair shaft. After a coconut oil treatment, hair feels soft and silky while looking thicker.  Sounds like the recipe for a perfect tail, doesn’t it?

Long before I began cooking with it, I read about using coconut oil on horse’s tails in a thread on the ultimatedressage.com bulletin board.  I tried it.  It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my horses’ tails.  And that’s why I want to share it with you.

The whole process takes at least a week.  You won’t want to do it during the cold weather (your horse’s tail will resemble frozen Crisco and you’ll end up moisturizing your blankets).  You will want to know that you don’t need to go anywhere (no shows or clinics).  While you’re doing it, your horse’s tail will look dreadful and feel even worse (ooey gooey).  And you should be prepared to have people in the barn make fun of you.  Until they see the results, that is.  Then, be prepared to have them be envious.

Here’s the recipe:

1.  Wash and dry your horse’s tail.

2.  Apply enough coconut oil to saturate your horse’s tail and rub it in.  Don’t be stingy.  Be messy.

3.  Re-apply and re-saturate your horse’s tail each day for six more days.

4.  On the seventh day, wash your horse’s tail.

5.  Admire the results.

If I remember correctly, the original poster of The Coconut Oil Horse Tail Beautification Project suggested repeating the steps I’ve outlined for a second week.  I never felt the need to do that, since the results were outstanding after only one week.  For all I know, I was leaving upside on the table, but sometimes, enough is enough.

Like now.  I have to go take care of my Yankee-Irish horsewhispering boyfriend who had knee surgery today, which went well.  Sigh of relief.  I have help today on my farm.  Sigh of relief.  And I have to do nightcheck.

450px-Haflinger_Details_5Before I go, though, I want you to know that you don’t need to buy virgin coconut oil at nearly a dollar an ounce. You can buy it for a tenth that amount, in bulk, from soap making suppliers.  Why not go in with a bunch of friends and split it, while repairing your horses’ split ends?

And if you want to keep your horse’s tail beautiful, leaving it alone is the best thing you can do.  When you feel you need to get the tangles out, handpick while your horse eats hay.  It’s not only a lost art, it’s adaptive reuse — stall as meditation room.  You’ll know you’re done when you can run your fingers through the tail without getting hung up on a knot. Then, a brush from the dock down with a soft brush will give you glory.

If you haven’t used the coconut oil in a while, a tail can get pretty tangled. That’s when I get out my Carr & Day & Martin Canter Mane & Tail Conditioner and spray before picking.  It does have silicone in it, which I know is not the healthiest thing for hair, but I use it only occasionally and the coconut oil seems like a good antidote.  I’ve tried lots of other tail conditioners and this one is still my favorite.

Do you have a favorite recipe for a beautiful tail?

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