Rendered Tails And Your HorseBy Jeffrey Rolo
Although there can be a variety of causes that dictate why your horse might have a thinning mane and/or tail, often it comes down to genetics. Mother Nature just didn't intend some horses to possess a thick, flowing mane and tail.
Luckily such minor issues generally don't change our feelings towards a trusted equine companion, but there are isolated circumstances where we might wish that our horse possessed a luxurious tail, such as when entering a horse show or photo session. If you fall into this category then you may want to consider purchasing a horsehair rendered tail for your horse. In this article we'll take a closer look at what rendered tails are and the proper care and maintenance required for their use.
What Are Rendered Tails?
Think of a rendered tail as a "wig" for a horse. Although there are some faux tails available on the market, they are generally not accepted in official shows, whereas many registries and horse organizations have deemed genuine horsehair rendered tails as allowable.
When a rendered tail is properly color-matched and attached to the horse's real tail, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to detect… especially at a distance. In fact you might be surprised to hear that some world champions have used rendered tails while in the show ring!
Since many rendered tails are still attached to the hide, they are often donated from horses that have passed away.
Are Rendered Tails The Same As Hair Extensions?
Same concept, but technically they aren't quite the same. Hair extensions are available for horse's manes and tails, but they are designed to supplement existing hair whereas rendered tails are also appropriate for more drastic cases such as where there isn't much hair remaining to weave the extensions into.
There are a couple different types of attachments that a rendered tail can use, such as a tube end attachments. For maximum flexibility and positioning I would recommend an attachment that uses braided horsehair loops. You'll need to know how to braid the attachment into your horse's tail, which can be a bit more challenging than a tube end attachment, but ultimately you can adjust the height of the rendered tail based on where you position it on the original tail.
Since rendered tails are generally custom creations each company that sells them may have slightly different offerings, so ask them what they would recommend for your needs.
How Do I Ensure The Colors Match?
If your horse has a very unique color or degree of shading between the inner tail hairs and the outer hairs it can be a bit more challenging to discover a perfect color match, but luckily this is a rarity. Most companies that specialize in rendered tails offer enough color varieties such that one will mesh well with your horse.
If you need help determining the right color for your horse most sellers will ask you to either submit close-up photos of your horse's tail and/or submit a hair sample. These submissions will help them best match a rendered tail to your equine partner.
Some sellers will charge different rates for different colors. Standard colors such as blacks and sorrels will run cheaper than rarer colors such as flaxen.
Are Rendered Tails Permanent?
Rendered tails can be used over and over again, but they are not designed for regular use. Once your horse has finished his demonstration or session in the show ring it's best to remove the rendered tail, otherwise your horse may get it caught on a latch, step on it, etc. Such things can rip the extension from his original tail, causing damage to the rendered tail, causing hair loss on the original tail, or worse, causing damage to the original tail itself.
Don't leave a rendered tail on unnecessarily, and definitely don't keep it on overnight.
How Do I Care For A Rendered Tail?
You'll care for a rendered tail in the same manner as you would a real tail since they are, in fact, horsehair. After use, remove the rendered tail and shampoo it with equine shampoo, then allow it to air dry. You can also apply conditioner and/or a light dose of detangler to help keep it lustrous.
For most people the cost of a horsehair rendered tail just isn't worth it (quality rendered tails can average between $150 to $300+ depending on your specific needs), nor is the maintenance; it's best to just accept your companion as he or she is. But if you want your horse to enter horse shows and competitions then a rendered tail may be worth considering.