Gabe was definitely feeling much better after his colic Friday. By Friday night he was back to his silly self and wanting to eat EVERYTHING in sight. I was so relieved! He only got half of his dinner so by Saturday morning he was FAMISHED. He yelled at me from the paddock as soon as he saw the feed room light go on and I thought he was going to knock me over and steal his breakfast as soon as I walked into his paddock! But he was good and remembered his manners as soon as I gave him my ugly boss mare look and told him to back his big rude butt off.
We turned every body out in the big fields Saturday. Finally! It was cold enough so the ground was still frozen so they couldn't tear up the grass but the frozen puddles are gone, at last! They all bucked and farted and ran like a bunch of crazy animals and Gabe ran and ran and ran with his short little tail straight up in the air and snorted loudly at everything. I love watching him go and one of these days I'll actually remember to bring my camera with me so I can video him in all his glory. He is so gorgeous when he trots and canters, he floats gracefully and the power behind each stride is amazing.
That pathetic little tail is getting longer but the hairs are pretty fragile and any kind of brushing results in much breakage and subsequent length loss. As soon as it's warm enough his tail is getting a deep cleaning and conditioning and after that, regular deep conditioning so I can try to get those fragile little hairs to toughen up. His tail gets a bit of conditioning now but whatever I do at this point is minimally effective until it's good and clean. I can't have a horse with a puny little hock-length tail! It will grow and I will make it grow! I've always been able to encourage my horses' tails to grow long and thick and healthy. Even Chief, an Appaloosa, has a thick, long tail, and Appaloosas have notoriously pathetic, scrawny tails. I had to cut a couple of inches off the end of his tail last summer because it grew so long it was dragging the ground. Same with Calypso. She came to use with a thin, wispy, short tail. It's now long and thick and I have to cut the ends off at least once a year to keep it from dragging.
My secret? Intentional neglect. Seriously. I don't brush their tails at all unless absolutely necessary, and when I do have to brush them I wash and heavily condition before I touch it. I use a stiff body brush (never, never a comb!) from the bottom up and work little bits of tail at a time. It can take me an hour or more to prep and brush a tail. Once it's washed, conditioned and brushed, I leave it alone until it needs it again. Between washing and conditioning I work a bit of olive oil hair conditioner into the dock to keep it well-conditioned and soft. A happy, healthy dock grows a strong, long tail. I do brush the TOP of the tail, near the tail head, just to keep the dock skin healthy, but I don't touch the length of tail. I pick out mud clods, knots and burrs by hand and don't panic over hay or straw. I've found the BEST products to use on horse tails are the products designed for African-American hair, they are better than ANY horse-specific product I've ever used.