How to Wrap a Horse’s Tail

Step-by-step instructions for how to tie up your horse's tail to keep it clean and help it grow.


Young Rider Magazine LogoTying up your horse’s tail and keeping it wrapped or bagged is one way to prevent breakage and allow it to grow long. It does take away your horse’s natural defense against flies, so only do this if your horse is indoors during the worst fly activity, or if you can outfit him with a fly sheet when he’s turned out.

Before wrapping your horse’s tail, always wash it and be sure it is completely dry before you begin.

Braiding a horse's tail for maintenance
First, braid the tail and fold it into thirds.

Tying up a Tail

  1. Get a length of fabric approximately 3 inches wide and 4 or 5 feet long, depending on the length of your horse’s tail.
  2. Separate the length of the tail from the “feathers”—the shorter tail hairs that grow from the top of the dock.
  3. Fold your fabric in half. Separate the length of the tail into three equal sections and braid the tail, making sure it’s not too tight near the top. About halfway down, incorporate the fabric into two of the sections of the tail braid. You’ll want the fabric to end up several inches longer than the tail.
  4. When you get to the end of the tail, take the remaining length of fabric and wrap one end around the end of the braid, creating a slipknot.
  5. Pull the end of the braid up through the top of the tail, folding the braid over on itself in thirds.

    Woman tying a tail bag on to a horse's tail to keep it clean and protect from breakage
    Finally, put the tail in a bag that is tied at the top of the braid below the tailbone.

  6. Wrap the ends of the fabric around the braid and tie in a secure knot below the tailbone.

Once the braid is tied up, you can cover the tail using a tail bag, making sure not to attach anything around the tailbone. Plan to take the braid out to detangle knots and rewash, if needed, every week or so.

Tap here to read more about grooming and maintaining your horse’s mane and tail.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of Young Rider magazine. Click here to subscribe!

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Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, KY.Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.


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