Rab’s New Tail

A story of a Julip make-over. This article originally appeared in the 2004 J.S.R.Magazine

I was lucky enough to buy a trio of Julip Originals from Ebay this year (I know, I know, you don’t need to tell me about the ridiculous prices, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time for once.)

The three horses I bought were a chestnut Quarter Horse in very bad condition, he is cracked all over and will need major restoration, a Grey Quarter Horse with cracked legs, not such a large restoration job but she will need a new mane as well, and a palomino Lipizanna. Ok, I know Lipizannas don’t come in palomino, in real life he is going to be a Welsh Cob but he is made in the Lipizanna mould.

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The Lippi was in perfect condition except for his tail which had gone brittle and been eaten by moth grubs (Ugh!) I decided to replace it with a new full length tail as befitting his breed. The horse was named Havilland’s Rabble rouser, but since that is rather a mouthful, Rab for short. The photo shows his original condition, Once I had combed out the remainder of the grot from his hair his tail looked like the photo to the left. As you can see, not much of a tail to speak of. he did however have a tuft at the top which I hoped to utilise to cover the new tail implant in the same way that bald men use a comb over!

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Step one was to find some appropriate matching hair. I used crepe hair from a fancy dress shop. it is the sort used to make false moustaches and things out for for stage costumes. When you buy it, it comes in a long plait done up with waxed string to stop it from tangling. The next job was to straighten it. this is an easy project, cut a length of hair and pour boiling water on it, it magically straightens out into long length. this photo shows a sort of before and after shot, the top hank is a plaited piece of hair and the bottom section is a piece that has been treated with boiling water.

Once the hair was dry I sectioned it off into small hanks and coated the ends of each hank with glue to bind them together. The next photo isn’t very pretty but it shows the glue (In this case PVA) a small section of the hair and a pipe cleaner. It also shows what a stained and messy surface I have on my work desk!

The next step was to attach the hanks of hair to the pipe cleaner which was to make a kind of dock for Rab’s new tail. Take one hank and with a little glue wrap it around the pipe cleaner at one end. When this is dry attach the next hank a little further up but mainly overlapping the first. This is similar to how wigs are constructed with each row of hair falling over the one before in imitation of how hair really grows on your head, or in this case, a horse's tail, The photo below shows the beginnings of the tail with only two hanks of hair attached, you can see that one overlaps the other. let the glue dry before you attach the next row of hair or you will wind up with a terrible gluey hairy mess, I speak from experience.

Here is a photo of the completed tail, I have bound the top hank with cotton in the same colour as the hair to make it extra secure. This was to be hidden by the comb over tuft, and hopefully t he existing hair would blend in with the new stuff.

All that remained was for the tail to be attached. First I trimmed the pipe cleaner to a length of about two inches, some of which was covered by the hair. I poked a hole with a knitting needle into t he unfortunate Rab’s rump, in the root of the tail where his dock should be. (No photos of that!) I put some glue on the bare stump of the pipe cleaner and pushed it into the hole. LET THE GLUE DRY!

Once dry, the tail could be arranged and groomed until it looked acceptable. This last photo shows Rab with his Crowning Glory intact. The thread is hidden by his existing hair as planned and he looks much happier now.

Rab is hoping to pursue a show career in 2005 now that the Craft sections of shows have really taken off. What Havillands Meredith and The Admiral have to say on ANOTHER Welsh D stallion in their midst is not know, Lady Dorothea, the Cob mare was seen batting her eyelashes at the handsome new stranger though

Back to the vet, Rab's photo

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