Tail Extensions 101
By Barb Delf, Custom Tails
Whether you are a seasoned exhibitor, or someone who is just beginning to show, tail extensions are an integral part of show ring presentation. A beautiful tail makes for a finished look, and tail extensions are now used in every phase of stock horse competition; Halter horses, Hunter/Jumpers, Reiners, Cowhorses and All-Around horses. They have become as much of a part of show preparation as banded manes and hoof black.
Not all tail extensions fit all types of horses. Tail extensions should be purchased with a number of things in mind such as color, length, weight (fullness), attachment type and bottom style.
The tail extension will braid in deep inside your horse’s free flowing tail hair, so generally that is the tail hair color to match. Run your hand down to the bottom of the tail bone, and part your horse’s free flowing tail hair. The predominate color of your horse’s inside tail hair will be the color you want to match. Some horses have a bi-color tail – one color of tail hair on the top of their free flowing tail hair, fading to another, usually lighter, tail color on the underside of their tail hair. In these cases, you can go with a bi-color tail extension to match the different colors, or you can go with a solid color tail extension, matching either the topside tail hair color, or the underside tail hair color.
However, color matching changes a bit if your horse has a short tail, and the tail extension is going to add substantial length to your horse’s tail. In this case, the hair color you want to match is the color of the last four or five inches of your horse’s free flowing tail hair. Since the tail extension will carry the length on down from where your horse’s tail stops, you want those colors to match and blend.
Some horses will have a veil of lighter colored or different colored tail hair lying over the outer portions of their free flowing tail hair. You see this quite a bit with gray horses, and with some color breed horses. Keep in mind that just as this hair veils over your horse’s longer hair, the horse’s long tail hair will veil over the tail extension. With the tail extension in place, you will still have the same color pattern – the lighter hair veiling over the horse’s longer tail hair. Remember, you are adding the length and fullness of the tail extension deep inside your horse’s free flowing tail hair, so the outer tail hair will not factor in when matching color.
To read more tips for choosing the proper tail extension, click here and flip to page 90!