Here's how to make a cost-free tail wrap that will help keep your horse's tail clean and prevent hair breakage. This wrap will last up to four weeks. While it's on, you can saturate it with fly repellent, and even condition your horse's tail through the sheeting material.
To make the wrap, cut a two-foot-wide, length-wise strip off an old bedsheet. Cut off the hemmed trim at the sheet's top end, then cut the remaining portion lengthwise into thirds. This will leave you with three, 8-inch-wide strips for wrapping your horse's tail. Here's how (see images at right):
1. Shampoo the tail and apply a leave in conditioner. While the tail is still damp, put a medium-sized rubber band on your wrist and the strips over your shoulder. At the end of the tailbone, separate the hairs into three equal sections. Center the first strip behind the left-hand section.
2. Close the top of the strip over the section, forming a tube. Hold the strip in place with your left hand as you...
3. ...enclose the middle section with the next strip. Hold both strips in place with your left hand while you enclose the right-hand section with the last strip.
4. Braid the three sheet-covered sections, pulling the sheeting around each section as you go. When you cross one section over the other one, twist is slightly to prevent gaping.
5. At the end of the tail, twist the rubberband around all sections. Cut off the extra sheeting so the tail wrap falls at or above your horse's fetlocks, where he won't be likely to step on it. If he has a short tail, braid past the hair and leave the ends long enough to provide a fly switch.
This article originally appeared in the April 1998 issue Horse & Rider magazine.