Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A tale about a tail

I have bought some net curtain whitener. It’s not for whitening net curtains, it’s the latest weapon in the war I am waging against the stains in the Grey Mare’s tail. I have been questing for the Holy Grail of Grey Mare tail cleaners for some years, but unlike Indiana Jones, I am yet to find it.

On Sunday, I tried the Fairy Liquid tip. It had to be proper, branded Fairy Liquid of the original variety. I squirted purple spray into the final rinse, as had also been recommended. I can’t say I was impressed with the result. I have tried expensive equine whitening shampoos and I have tried human shampoos; they were a disappointment. I have searched the Internet in vain for the old fashioned ‘blue bag’ that used to be the thing for white tails. Unfortunately, it is no longer manufactured. Biological washing powder is the next recommendation if the net curtain whitener doesn’t do the job.

When you see grey horses at shows and on TV, their tails invariably look like waterfalls of silvery light. That is how I want the Grey Mare’s tail to look. After washing, it does – in places; but her tail is large and luxuriant and the strands of silver are spoiled by yellow-stained sections.

Let’s be frank about this; mares pee differently to geldings and it stands to reason there will be bits that aren’t quite Persil white. But one day they will be. I will discover the secret formula...

34 comments:

Drunk Mummy said...

I have a similar problem with my dressing gown. Tell her to swish it to the side when she sits down on the loo (works for me).
Maybe the grey mare is (quite rightly) resisting all your attempts to give her a blue rinse?

patsy said...

Maybe one of the proprietary sprays for puppy accidents, made purely for the job (available at all good vets natch) might do? Or Vanish spray?
I remember the little bright blue bag you refer to...used in once in Domestic Science many moons ago to dip briefly into royal icing to make it a brighter white. Can that be true? If it is, then perhaps specialist cake equipment suppliers may have it?
P.S. Thanks for support re WITN, poor woman needs our pity!

Mopsa said...

Is she good? Does she stand still for you whilst you beautify her rear end? Just don't use bleach!

Graf von Straf Hindenburg said...

I can imagine this applied to humans. "Listen, woman. If I'm coming anywhere near you, we're going to get you persil white first. Now, lie down."

Love Drunk Mummy's personal anecdote.

ziggi said...

'Shout' stain remover spray is supposed to work quite well! I suppose Vanish might do the same? - I'll go and have a practice on Suze, her's is always not a whiter shade of pale.

Gill said...

Paint it? Dulux emulsion?

You could still get blue bag blue in Egypt last time I was there, maybe other countries sell it too.

Anonymous said...

That's what I love about this blog - it is so educational. But what is 'blue bag blue' when it's at home, for heavens' sake ?

Brom said...

Maybe over the years they will evolve to becoming detachable. Then you could machine wash it, and if it wears out you could then pop into the nearest retail outlet.

Ouch - sorry!

st said...

Try that oxi-stuff- iv'e seen the adverts removes all stains.
DISCLAIMER- TRY A SMALL AREA FIRST, THE VERY ENDS OF THE MARES TAIL.
As i would hate her to lose her swish

muddyboots said...

did someone once tell me chalk? can't remember exactly.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I have such a phobia about walking round the back of horses. I'm terrified of getting kicked! I expect you're immune to it.

Crystal xx

dulwichmum said...

Darling M&M,

Why not take her to Nicky Clarke? You could have it bleeched? Don't you think she is worth it?

GeraniumCat said...

My mother - definitely of the blue bag generation of tailwashers - suggests trying Milton (you know, the babies' bottle stuff). I have no experience to offer personally, I was mostly vicariously horsy. Read all the books though: does anyone remember A Tale of Two Horses?

Anonymous said...

Well, I did try and Google what a 'blue bag' was..

http://www.newrider.com/Library/Horse_Care/washing_tail.html

But I'm none the wiser..

Any thoughts ?

mutterings and meanderings said...

Thank you all for your advice and suggestions.. some more to try.

Bleach is a no-no, though!

Anon, blue bag is also known as dolly bag and was something used to get washing a bluey-white in the days when people still used twin-tubs.

It was also used in the rinsing water for grey tails!

Anonymous said...

Aha - now I see, I thought it was just a big bag for putting the tail in, to save squashing it up in a bucket...

Gosh, these horses are even higher maintenance than women, and that is saying something.. No doubt you will tell me that it is 'because they're worth it'..

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Looking at the pic, I'm wondering if she doesn't have a secret nicotine habit.

And as every mother knows, when your kids' hair is filthy and it's 8am on a school morning, you simply plait. Couldn't you plait it? That always looks very flash at a show I find
Pigx

Gill said...

anyone interested can read about blue bags here
http://www.oldandinteresting.com/laundry-blue.aspx

Gill said...

The reason I knwo this because they used to make them in Cumbria and the place where they made them was covered in bright blue dust.

http://www.cumbria-industries.org.uk/blue.htm

lady macleod said...

This is a fascinating quest Indy.

Aside from the poor mare, I'm still being amazed there is such a thing as white net curtain cleaner, and a "fairy" rinse - you could go a long way with that in a comedy routine..

I wish you luck Indy, but beware the gap!

Marianne said...

White Wizard from Lakeland might do it - I swear by it - or try dipping her in the sea! We shall all want to hear the answer to your quandary, even though we probably don't need to, not having grey mares ...

farming-frenchstyle said...

When taking our cattle to shows (like that WITN went to recently) I used Milton - the stuff used for baby's bottles and things I worked on the assumption good for babies - good for cows tails! From the photo though, I can see the problem.
Annonymus must be a lot younger than us if she doesn't know blue-bags.

Winchester whisperer said...

http://www.horseactive.co.uk/shop2.php?category=Horse+Care+Products&subcat=Show+Supplies

what about this stain remover & hair whitener (Net-Tex)?

I Beatrice said...

Lots of Johnson's baby powder brushed into the tail at regular intervals. It's a National Trust tip for cleaning stubborn carpet stains. Works beautifully there, so don't see why it shouldn't work for horses' tails too..

And besides, think how sweet she'd smell!

I Beatrice said...

And if all those things fail, email Anthea - she's absolutely bound to know!

@themill said...

So much trouble for a grey mare. Wouldn't a rocking horse be easier?

mutterings and meanderings said...

Anon, glad to be educational ..

Pig, unfortunately it still shows - when you plait a horse's tail, it's like a thin French plait coming down the dock - the stained bits are still visible - see http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/751/917056.JPG

Gill, there must be a secrey stash of them somewhere in the UK ...

Thankyou Lady M, I hve some good new leads for my quest ...

Marianne, what is white wizard - sea water's not much cop though ..

FF, hello. You're the second to recommend Milton - what quantities do I use?

WW, thank you for another suggestion ...

iB, I'll give it ago, I already use baby lotion as a tail conditioner ...woudl that be saint anthea turner?

@themill, she's my grey mare and she is worth every trial and tribulation ... besides I couldn't run over tourists on the beach with a rocking horse ... ;)

rilly super said...

M@M, darling, leave her tail as it is and just spray on some dark patches to the rest of your horse and tell people she's a dapple

Gill said...

Milton might work as it is a form of bleach that is allegedly non toxic if used as instructed. Not being horsey I don't know how much you would need.

Gill said...

or you could use hydrogen peroxide for that platinum blonde look.

Nunhead Mum of One said...

Can you not make a feature of her colouring? by adding more I mean? one of the horses at the stables today was off to a gymkhana and her tail and mane were plaited with blue and green ribbon - she looked lovely!

Anonymous said...

i use bleach as long as u use like 50 50 with water umm beer works really well just pour a can of it on or even more depending on how thick. u could also try plaiting it and then turn the rest into a big braid if ur willing to take it out everyother day ...

Hillary S said...

Hey there.

Have a 17.1 black turning grey mare and also fight the good fight against the yellow tail and green stains. Love "Cowboy Magic: Yellow Out, Shine In" and QUIC SILVER Shampoo (here's a link - http://www.statelinetack.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=SLT050179)
About once a month, because I don't show her, I shampoo Krystols tail by: 1) Rubbing in shampoo straight, no water (purple, icky) while she chows down on a snack; Wait five minutes then 2) stick her whole tail in a bucket of warm water and slosh it around, then 3) Rinse a 2nd time with new water and wait until nearly dry. I brush it out with Cowboy Magic detangler and she's got a gorgeous, shiny tail...for about a day, or until the next rain / roll in the grass.
great luck,
- Hillary

Anonymous said...

Hello from down under

i drive a grey white shetland pony, and she's a little trooper, BUT she has a very thick white (yellow) tail. I also am in search of something to ge rid of the yellow, it looks horrible in shows.

But why can't i use bleach? Human's use it in their hair to get white hair, why not in the bottom half of my mare?

thanks.