"When should I braid the tail?"
We like to braid the tail for rated and recognized shows. You can get away with not braiding the tail in unrated divisions. A circuit shows, Championships, and finals are excellent examples of when to definitely braid the tail. Braiding the tail can be used to refine your horse, show off the hind end and add that much more polish to your horse. For schooling and unrated shows, you can skip the tail braid. We would always rather see a clean, freshly combed out tail over a messy tail braid!
Ex: We had a pony once that was rather chunky but quite the short stirrup saint. Although the division wasn't rated, we opted to braid her tail to help her seem fancier and refine her look.
"How should I finish the tail? Are pinwheels still popular?"
There are a few ways to finish your tail braid. Most common is the pinwheel, seen frequently in the hunter ring. Another option is the wrap around ring, which the braid is wraped once around the end of the tail bone. For muddy conditions, you can also braid the entire tail and tie it up in a mudwrap, to save the horses tail from being weighed down with mud.
And don't forget that tail bandage to protect your braid!
To learn how to braid a tail, as well learn how to do a pinwheel and a wrap around ring, check out "One for the Money" our instructional horse braiding DVD!