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The best horse hair for leaders comes from the center of the tail of a three to five year old stallion. The fly tyers of old would pluck the hair during certain times of the year for the strongest, roundest and most translucent fibers.
Hair from the mane of the horse is also desired and can used for bodies on small nymphs and midges to mention a few variety of applications. The fibers are strong with a resplendent sheen.
Horse hair can be dyed and would make good antenna or tails for most modern flies. It can be used on braided flies just to consider a few ideas.
It has been said that the body hair is too long and stiff for dubbing and too short for any other uses, but as with anything, the creative fly tyer will find good uses for the body hair and it should not be completely overlooked.
Very few fly tying shops have horse hair, but you can order it on the Internet or find somebody that has a horse. When we dabbled in tying some of the antique flies of centuries past, had a hard time locating any horse hair, then somebody mentioned violin bows are made with horse hair. We went down to the local instrument repair shop and they had a box full of broken violin bows and gave us a couple for free.
You should never cut the complete tail off a live horse as they need it to swat flies and helps them keep balance.
buying any hair or fur that is on the hide, the hide should be soft and
pliable. The hide should be scrapped clean of any residue.
Also check the section on feather care and storage for more ideas pertaining to this subject.
FLY TYING HAIR AND FUR
Fly tying equipment and materials
reference guide. Learn how to tie
flies for fishing and display.
FLY TYING HAIR AND FURS