How to Braid a Long Draft Horse Tail

Braiding A Long Tail – Draft Horse Style

Ginny Pomije

There are many ways to braid a draft horse tail for show or special events.  How you braid the tail is dependent on tail type, long or in the case of many draft horses, docked.   Many draft horses have docked tails.  It’s quite easy to get these horses ready for shows, but what do you do if your draft horse has a long, undocked tail?  There are several options.  Below are the steps to do one of our favorites. 

Supplies you will need:

  • Brush or comb
  • Long string – I like using a shoe string that blends with the tail color
  • Rubber bands
  • Tail Bow
  • Braiding hook (optional)

Preparation:

It is easiest to start with a clean, brushed out tail.  Depending on your horse’s tail, it can help to have it damp to keep the shorter hairs in line.

The first step is to start at the base of the tail and select a section of hair in the center.  Divide your string in half and tie it to that tuft of hair.  See photo below.  Now select a section of hair on each side so you have three sections to use for braiding.  Include your string with these sections. 

Starting to Braid The Tail

 

Now we can start braiding.  This first section of braiding will be using French braiding.  As you work down the tail, you will pick up an additional tuft of hair as you cross the right and left sides.  We are only working with a portion of the tail and not picking up all of the tail hair in our braid.  Continue to include your string in the braid. 

Starting the french braid

Continue to work your way down the tail until you reach your desired length.  I usually do the French braiding for about one foot.  See photo below.  Hint – as you see in the picture, I keep the rubber band on my finger so I don’t have to look for it when I have completed the braid.

Continue braiding to desired length

The next step is to finish off the braid.  Picking up the hair you have been working with including your string, use traditional braiding to finish the tail.  When you are at the end, secure with a small rubber band.  You can purchase rubber bands designed for horse hair braiding.

Completing the french braid

Now we will take our braid and make a bun.  The best way to accomplish this is to use a braiding hook.  A braiding hook has an eye at one end that makes it much easier to pull the braid through.  Insert the hook a few inches above the end of the French braiding.  

Making the bun

Insert the tail end of the braid into the hook and pull the braid through creating a bun. 

Tail bun continued

The next step is to complete your bun.  Wrap the extra braid around the bun tucking in any loose ends.  Using the remaining ends of your string, secure the bun by tying the string around the bun.

Completing the tail bun

Completing the bun continued

Tuck the ends of the string into the bun.  Now, for the fun part adding the tail bow.

Completed tail bow

To complete the job, you can trim any stray hairs.

Resources:

Braiding Manes & Tails by Charni Lewis

It’s Showtime by Robert A. Mischka

The supplies noted in this article can be found on our Horse Decorations page.