Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hot Oil Treatment for the Equine Tail

Is a hot oil treatment for your horse's tail necessary? Certainly not.
Is giving your equine buddy a hot oil treatment somewhat silly and overkill? Probably.
Are you nuts for your horse? Likely yes.
Why, keep on reading then!

A Hot Oil Treatment for the Equine Tail: A Tutorial
I recommend having very specific goals in mind for your horse when contemplating a hot oil treatment. This treatment is certainly messy and can produce an overly greasy tail that is hard to work with if excess oil is used. Basically, do not try this the night before a show, hunt, parade, insert event, for which you plan on gloriously braiding your horses tail.

My horse, Luke (aka Sweet G), has somewhat of a kinky, dry and thin tail (see Figure A and B). My goal with this treatment is to both A) nourish and condition Sweet G's tail and to B) relax the hair, creating the illusion of straightness. I presume that the treatment relaxes the hair because some of the oil stays in the tail, weighing down the shaft and creating a temporarily more straight hair.
Fig A: Dry, kinky tail
Fig B: Before treatment

Here is what you need for this procedure:
-Horse with tail
-Tail brush (optional)
-Olive oil or other nourishing oil of choice
-A variety of hair clips: duckbill, wave clips, regular clips
-Extremely cheap shower caps
-Spray bottle

Tally Ho!

Step 1: Pick the hay, weeds, shavings, peppermint candies and other whatnot out of your horses tail. If you are willing to comb your horses tail, now would be a good time to do so. I do. I can't resist.

Step 2: You will now divide your horse's tail into sections. I divide the shorter hairs on top from the longer hairs coming off mid-dock. The above photo is an example of the sections that I divide the upper dock into with a variety of different clips that I use to get the hair to stay in place.

Step 3: When you are ready to begin spraying the horses tail, warm your oil and water up. I generally use a 1 cup:3 cups or 1 cup:4 cups ratio of oil to water. (Please do not use a 50/50 mixture. I promise this is too much oil.) You should have MUCH LESS oil than water. I put the two liquids in the microwave and heat them for about one minute and then pour them into a spray bottle.
Step 4: Spray a section of the upper dock hairs and then roll into a bun and clip. Spray the next section with oil until saturated, roll into a bun and then clip. The photo above shows how they will sit when rolled and clipped down.

Step 5: Cover the upper dock buns/rolls with a shower cap.

Step 6: Now, we will divide up the lower, long tail into sections that are held in clips. Please see the photo below.

Lower tail in gathered sections
 Step 7: Spray a section of lateral/side hair until saturated, roll into a bun, and clip in place. Spray the other lateral/side section, roll into a bun, and clip in place.

Step 8: Spray down the final, middle section of tail hair into a pretty and tidy bun. Clip in place, and then cover the lower three buns in a shower cap.

Please note that this is a dry example of the lower tail roll.

Step 9: See how long your horse can hang out with his tail all wound up like this as you contemplate the deep question of what would happen if he poos during this part. Sweet G can make it about 7-20 minutes. You can test your horse's patience during this step by doing silly things like trying to put a shower cap on his head while you wait.

Step 10: Wash his tail with shampoo. I do not condition his tail after this shampoo. You may actually need to wash twice, or wash again the next time you see your friend.

And voila!
After treatment


I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial for how to give your equine buddy an unrequested hot oil treatment.

Los Altos Hounds beginning a hunt at Van Vleck Ranch

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Horse Used It Up! #1

"I used it up" are always one of my favorite types of beauty blog posts. When I say that I love to talk about products I have completed, I really mean I could wax poetically for an obscene and unnecessary amount of time. That said, I will try to keep these posts reasonably brief and leave the loquaciousness for full product reviews, in which you have consented to a diatribe about that particular product.

So, tally ho then.

Farnam Nature's Defense 
Farnam describes this as their "Water-Based Fly Repellent Spray." And it is a concoction of the supposed anti-insect essential oils: citronella, clove, mint, and thyme. Let's see here, I paid about thirteen bucks for 32oz of this. I personally only use the non-pyrethrin based repellants on my geldings, and I find this one to be as good as any other. I do like having both an SPF and non-SPF based fly repellent (I do recognize this desire to be a bit excessive and over-thinking of the situation). I use the non-sunscreen based repellant at night time when there isn't going to be any sunlight. This one serves my non-SPF needs and I definitely would repurchase. Plus, the label has this pretty vintage looking water color scene of wild-flowers that makes me happy.

Espree Aloe Herbal Horse Spray
I've been through two bottles of this gem so far. I dig it because it not only has the fly repellants but also contains coat conditioners and sunscreen! This is the fly repellant I use when the horse is going back to his pasture during the day. This one contains these essential oils: citronella, cedarwood, and eucalyptus. I believe that Espree considers the aloe to be the coat conditioner. I certainly would repurchase this. It is about $16 for thirty two fluid ounces.

Eqyss Premier Spray - Marigold Sent
I love this spray so much that if I could only have one equine horse grooming product, this would be it. It is multi useful to the extreme. I predominantly use it as a conditioner for my gelding's coat. I use it to psychologically calm down myself and Luke before or after a ride - does this work? Hell if I know, but it makes me feel like I'm at least trying! In a pinch, I use it as a spot cleaner for him or myself. The thing to know about this product is that the scent is somewhat strong and you've got to like floral scents to enjoy it. Personally, I really love the smell and the scent inspires sunshine and warmth to me. Though I have to admit it is somewhat fragrance-y. I notice sometimes at the barn people exclaim "Is someone spraying perfume?" but I just keep applying and don't admit that it is me. I've gone through two bottles now and plan to buy a gallon, which I've figured to be a ten dollar savings if you buy the equivalent in the 32 oz spray bottles. So, it ain't cheap but I think it's quite worth it. 

SmartPak Smart Calm
This is SmarPak's brand supplement line version of nervous system support. Specifically, they describe it as "A cost-effective, non-herbal formula that supports proper nervous system function, helping to manage skittishness." It's a concoction of magnesium, taurine, inositol and vitamin B1. These are some of the basics of human nervous system supplementation as well. I bought this because my boy Luke had a hard time adjusting to his new life when he came to live with us at Clay Station Ranch. The pellets are pretty inexpensive - like twenty four bucks or something; had many great reviews; and I was sort of throwing anything I could at the horse to help him calm down and adjust. I also wasn't really sure of the horse's nutritional status prior to coming into my life. Did it work? Hard to say. I made a lot of changes all at once: pro-CMC, hock injections, multi-vitamins etc. I am not going to continue him on it. However, I don't think it hurts to give a horse a boost of magnesium and b-vitamins when you are trying to solve some behavioral issues. I found this to be good quality and a reasonable price. 

Our beloved Hanoverian, Getty