Burrs. Sticky, matted, exponentially multiplying, evil burrs. One in my horse’s forelock. An entire bush encrusted in his tail.
I will keep this short and sweet. There is only one trick you need to know when it comes to removing nasty burrs from a horse’s tail. I’m pretty sure it was my mother who shared it with me. And now I’m going to share it with you:
Pull the hair out of the burr, not the burr out of the hair.
Really, that’s all there is to it. Burrs have this amazing ability to tighten their grip if you try to pull them out. However, if you hold the burr in one hand, and gently pull a few hairs at a time away from the burr, it lets right go.
Ignore the pervading Google “wisdom” that says to use baby oil or vaseline or something else slick and messy that requires washing out, especially in this cold fall weather that is less than ideal for soaping up your horse’s hind end. My tack trunk space is limited, and I don’t keep baby oil on hand at the barn. And when Ace comes in from the field in full burr-covered regalia, cleaning out that tail becomes my top priority.
Case in point. This is Ace’s tail today, after I had already removed half of the gigantic burr mess.
Here’s his lovely, flowing tail after removing the burrs by gently pulling the hairs out of the burrs (and a careful brushing with liberal spray detangler).
Here’s a tip of my helmet to whomever it was who originally taught me this trick; it’s the only one I’ve ever needed for keep Ace’s mane and tail flowing and burr-free.
What tricks have you learned for removing – or preventing – burrs from matting up your horse’s mane and tail?