How To Attach and Braid a Tail Bag into a Horse Tail
Tail bags are an excellent way to protect a horse's tail and help it grow longer and thicker. Although a tail bag does not actually help a horse tail grow longer (although there is some debate over whether the weight of the bag may encourage slight improvement in growth rates) a tail bag can keep the existing tail clean and tangle-free.
For white and flaxen horse tails, a tail bag can prevent staining and over time will restore stained white tails to near-original color. Tail bags are frequently used on show horses to minimize broken hairs, stains, and tangles. Tail bags are especially useful on horses turned out to pasture- as the tailbag prevents hairs snagged on fences, feeders, and brush. Tailbags also help protect long horse tails by keeping the bottom of the tail from dragging through ice and mud. If used in the summer, you absolutely must attach some sort of switch to the end of the braided tail so the horse can keep flies away.
The following are step-by-step instructions on my method for attaching three-tube tail bags. For instructons on making your own tail bag, see Instructions for Making a Tail Bag. This method for attaching a tail bag creates a very secure attachment- often these tail bags stay on my pasture-kept horses for weeks without needing retied.
If you have trouble keeping the tail bags in place, try placing zip ties around the outside of the tailbag, tightly, to hold it in place.
Begin with a clean tail that has been gently and thorougly combed out.
Grasping about 2-3" underneath the end of the tailbone, section off one-third of the tail.
Clip or tie the remaining 2/3rds of the tail out of the way
Slide your hand through one tube of the tail bagand over your wrist. Loop two fingers around the section of hair.
With a firm grasp on the tail, slide the tube off your wrist...
... and onto the section of horse tail hair.
Grasp two ties, right next to each other. Take the left tie, and circle it around the segment of tail counter-clockwise. Circle the right tie around the tail segment clockwise.
Once each tie circles once, tie the ties tightly and double knot.
Insert your finger through the hair, just above the knot.
Bring a tie through the part in the hair
And tie, then double tie with another tie.
Repeat last two steps, this time side-to-side instead of forward to backwards
Repeat these steps for each of the three sections of tail.
Next, begin braiding your sleeves of horse tail together. Begin braiding very loosely.
As you braid down the horse tail, begin braiding more tightly.
When you reach the end of the shortest sleeve, knot the ends together.
Feed the remaining lengths of tail sleeves back up through the braid, tying off with ties passed through the braid.
Tie off loose ends and remember to attach a switch if flies are present! This tailba should stay in for 4-6 weeks without needing to be retied. If you are trying to lighten a stained tail, I recommend removing every 1-2 weeks, shampooing with a whitening spray, and reattaching tail bag.