This is a tale about dying your horse’s tail. And it’s not pretty.
L from Gray Horse Problems posted a tutorial for dying your gray horse’s tail, and I immediately ordered all the supplies, because hello, Gus’ tail is magnificent.
Since Pilgrim is a disgusting creature, I try to purple shampoo his tail at least 2-3x/week. But I never feel like it actually looks clean. More than once I’ve threatened to just dye his tail all black. So when I saw the tutorial, I was super excited to try it.
First, I gathered up all the supplies:
Plus Latex gloves, plastic bags, and vet wrap. Turquoise vet wrap, naturally.
Then I tied up the black part of his tail to keep it out of the way.
Then I mixed up the stuff (probably wrong), and slathered it in- again, probably wrong.
Then wrapped the plastic bag over it and put him in his stall so his tail could cook.
After 30 minutes, I unwrapped to wash the bleach out. It was a little shocking to see how yellow it was, but I didn’t panic (yet) because now it was time for the purple shampoo to get that gleaming white!
Now, I’m well-versed in the world of purple shampoo. I should probably own stock in Vetrolin White ‘N Brite. But I’ve never left purple shampoo in for longer than 5 or so minutes, and this called for leaving it in for 30 minutes.
Then I rinsed out with hot water and….behold:
Now I felt slightly panicked, but surely it won’t DRY this way. I’m sure it’s fine.
Nope, not fine.
Here are some more angles just to let this sink in:
Yep, that’s purple.
With nothing more I could do that night, I turned him out. Choking back some sobs as I watched him walk away.
And for the first time EVER, willed him to roll harder to maybe disguise it a bit until I could find a solution.
The next day I texted my salon-owning friend who does my hair.
Then she called me right away because I had forgotten to add that I had used the above process on my horse and not my own hair, and she was freaking out that I had burned off all my hair.
She recommended clarifying shampoo or, since it was horse hair, mixing baking soda and Dawn dish soap.
So I ran to the store and then to the barn, just hoping that maybe I had temporarily gone color-blind the night before and it really wouldn’t be purple when I pulled in.
No such luck, so I got to scrubbing.
And it worked! You can still see that the color has obviously been tampered with, and every once in awhile there’s a subtle hint of purple here and there, but it’s not OBVIOUSLY purple anymore.
So, what was the purpose of posting this? Well, just a warning to not be like me. I’ve never been a “test for color fastness” person. I mean, who has the time for that? And it’s always worked out for me. Until this. So if you ever get the urge to alter your horse’s hair color, maybe just take 90 minutes (or less) and test to make sure you don’t turn your horse into Barney the Dinosaur.