3 tube lycra tails bags can be expensive in tack stores and catalogs, but they are actually easy to make, take about 10 minutes start to finish, and require virtually no sewing sewing skill (can’t sew a straight line? Great, you don’t have to).
Tail bags are an excellent way to help your horse’s tail stay clean, untangled, and protected from dragging through winter snows. Some long time showers even swear the weight of a braid will encourage the tail to grow a bit faster! Tail bags are an excellent way to minimize yellow or brown discoloration on white or grey tails.
1. You’ll need lycra. You should be able to make one average 3-tube tail bag with 1/3 yd. It’s expensive and hard to find some times of the year at fabric stores, but lycra can usually be found reasonably priced and in neat patterns on eBay.
First, lay your fabric out, and cut strips about 7″ wide- wider for already thick tails, narrower for thinner tails. Strips should be as long as your horse’s tail from end of bone to bottom plus 6-8 inches.
2. Fold each strip in half lengthwise and pin.
3. Sew. This is much easier than it sounds. Remember, you’re making something to attach to your horse’s rear, so relax and don’t worry!! Wobbly lines and starting and stopping are okay.
Lycra is easier to stitch than people think. In this photo I’m using the wrong needle, the wrong foot, and a $99 machine with no problem.
Very Important Note: don’t start at the top of the fabric- space about 2-3″ down or the fabric will get caught in the machine and your ties won’t be stretchy.
Very Important note number two: When you begin to sew, sew a half inch to inch down, then put the machine in reverse and stitch back up, then sew forward again. This keeps your seam from unraveling. Do this when you end 2-3″ from the bottom, also. like pictures (but in a straight line if possible):
4. Cut your threads on your tail bag and turn inside out.
5. Snip 2-3″ ties at the top and bottom. Lycra won’t unravel or fray so just cut and you’re done!
6. I like my tubes separate but if you like you can tie them together with one tie from each and wa-la- tail bag for a fraction of the price from a tack shop.
I recommend only spandex or lycra be used for to make your own tail bag. Cotton fabrics will trap moisture from rain or water buckets, and fleece fabrics generally won’t stay in for more than a few hours- particularly if horse is turned out.
A note on getting tail bags to stay in the horse’s tail: Three Tail bags are generally very easy to keep in- even on a horse that is turned out, but if you have trouble getting a tail bag to stay in, take a darning needle (a big, blunt yarn needle you can buy at most big-box-stores in the craft section) thread it with some baling twine or kite string, and thread a lenth of twine through the braid and around and back through to help secure the horse’s tail bag tightly.