Monday, March 22, 2010

He's a fake blonde

We have a problem.

It's not a huge problem, but a problem nonetheless.

You see, Gabe's tail is supposed to look like this:
Look how pristine and white and beautiful that tail is.

Instead, we have this:

Seriously. What is this? Blonde day? Not even an attractive blonde, but rather a mud-stained, urine-shaded yellow blonde.

Here, look at it again:

Is that not icky? It's supposed to be WHITE! Hmm...think maybe the constant rolling in the mud (as is evidenced by the mud clinging to his legs!) has anything to do with the state of his tail?

"Mud? What mud? Oh, you mean THIS stuff? I like to roll in this stuff...oh! And sleep in it!"

I have never, ever had a horse with a white tail before. The horses I've groomed for who had white tails lived in stalls with those tails spending most of their lives snug inside a tail bag. Cleaning them wasn't hard, and they were always white. I have a feeling a tail bag wouldn't last for very long on Gabe...either he would remove it or Chief would remove it for him.

I have no idea how to get this thing de-yellowed without damaging the hairs. We all know how very fragile those tail hairs can be!

So, I am open to suggestions...something that will help me get that tail white again without damaging those hairs. When he came to me the tail barely grazed the top of his hocks, so it's done a lot of growing! It's nice and thick and getting longer, and I'd like to keep it that way.

But I'd also like it to be white.


  1. Give Quicksilver shampoo a try - our Lily was a grey, almost white and her tail would get filthy - Quicksilver used to do the trick for us when she showed.

  2. Quicksilver is great! I have also used Mrs. Stewart's Bluing (kind of hard to find, but you can find it in some drug stores in the shampoo aisle). Shampoo tail really well, several times until suds are running clean. Put a VERY little bit (one small squirt) of Bluing in a full bucket of water and soak tail for a few minutes. Rinse out well. DO NOT SOAK TOO LONG or you will have a blue/green tail!!

  3. any purple base shampoo will work diluted like Pony Girl suggested, just make sure the shampoo is a DARK color, not the washed out kinda purpley colors they sell in the pet store for white dogs. ;) That won't do jack. Good luck!

  4. He's literally a dirty blond. I've not had experience cleaning a white tail as Misty is my first grey and her tail still has a lot of black in it, but I'll be watching your comments because I'd like to get the urine stains out of it this summer.

  5. In my experience, truly stained white doesn't come out with a single wash, even with a good shampoo. I did just read a suggestion for using vinegar as more of a maintenance thing than a "I need this white NOW" kinda thing. I think it was specifically targeted at urine stains, but it might be worth trying. I'm going to try it on my mare's white legs (thankfully only her mane as white, not her tail!). Good luck!

  6. Wow! Thank you guys! Lots of great, helpful info! I'm a complete newbie when it comes to getting whites white on horses. Guess it's off to the tack shop for me to find some purpley shampoo. Keep your fingers crossed that I don't turn that tail blue/purple!

    Katie, would the vinegar be more like a rinse every week or so to keep it from getting so bad? That makes sense, beauticians recommend a vinegar rinse from time to time to get your hair squeaky clean.

  7. I think you should dye it gray or black. Or, hell, dye it a different color every month. Purple, pink, red, blue, green... change it up for the holidays, have fun with it. White is so conventional. And only for after Memorial Day. It's still March, what kind of fashion faux pas are you trying to create in your muddy paddocks?

  8. I found the blog post I read the vinegar suggestion on! It's at She refers to it before washing, but I'm thinking a weekly, bi-weekly, etc. rinse would help too. I don't wash my horses that often (and it's not good for them).

  9. Oh, I am discovering the challenges of keeping manes and tails their true flaxen color instead of the rather drab, brownish, muddish, manureish color they quickly become. I'm also finding that my hats and coats are acquiring greenish-yellowish blobs from my mouthy guys!

    I enjoy reading your blog and would like to pass on the 'Beautiful Blogger' award to you.
    The award is posted on my blog at:

  10. oh, i have to chime in cuz i'm probably the most obsessive tail washer you'll ever meet. i wash my grey horse's tail every week with quicsilver. it is a cumulative thing, you have to do it often to see great results. i tried the other purple shampoos made for white horses but they don't work as well - it's gotta be quicsilver IMO.

    when i had a particularly yellow tail i used spray and wash (only on the tips, not near the skin). i also did 2 or three shampooings in a row. the last shampooing has to "soak" for 10 minutes at least. if you wash the tail with regular shampoo and just the yellow end with quicsilver, you will be surprised to see a line defining exactly where you started with the quicsilver. it's magic!

    white horses are just a pain, i intend for my next horse to be the color of dirt.

    ~lytha in germany