Tips & Tricks to Keeping White Tails White
A sparkly white horse inspires thoughts of fairy tales, princesses, and knights in shining armor. However, as any white horse owner knows, the reality of maintaining that beautiful white coat is far from a fairy tale. Horses always seem to find the one mud puddle in the entire field and get covered, usually right after being groomed or bathed! For white horses or horses with white markings, this often results in staining that is very difficult to remove.
Luckily, there are a few proven (and a few bizarre) ways to help maintain white tails and keep them white.
Preventing stained tails is always ideal, if possible. Trimming, braiding, and using a waterproof tail bag can help prevent stains. Make sure to use a waterproof tail bag or the bag will end up holding the water or pee and ultimately stain the tail.
When prevention is not possible, it’s time to look for a reliable washing method. Here are a few products and methods for white horses.
As with any new products, make sure to spot test the product before using it to wash the entire tail. Once you have confirmed your horse is not allergic or sensitive to the product, you’re good to go.
Baking Soda Wash
Believe it or not, a combination of baking soda and vinegar can help to remove stains from white tails.
First, combine water, baking soda, and shampoo to create a paste. Work this paste thoroughly into the tail, focusing on the areas with the most staining. Then, allow this to sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing with white vinegar.
Yes, ketchup! Some horse owners swear by ketchup to remove stains from white tails. After washing your horse’s tail thoroughly, rub ketchup into their tail and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with regular water.
OxyClean is a pretty well-known laundry cleaner and it works for horses, too! Mix OxyClean with shampoo to create a paste. Work thoroughly into the wet tail and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
This one can be a little scary the first time you try it. When you first put the betadine on your horse’s tail, you will be convinced you dyed it brown forever.
To use Betadine scrub, wash your horse’s tail with normal shampoo and rinse. With the tail still wet, scrub with Betadine as you did with the shampoo. Leave it to soak for 10-15 minutes, then rinse. This method make take a few applications depending on how stained the tail is, but results in a sparkly white tail!
There are several commercial blue shampoos for white horses. Make sure to follow the instructions on the individual package as some require different soak times.
You always want to be sure to condition your horse’s tail after using any of these methods. This helps to put moisture back into the hair and prevent breakage. You can use human conditioner or any of the commercial horse conditioners. After rinsing the shampoo, ring out some of the excess water and work the conditioner into the hair. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then rinse.