Horsehair is the long, coarse hair growing on the manes and tails of horses. It is used for various purposes, including upholstery, brushes, the bows of musical instruments, a hard-wearing fabric called haircloth, and for horsehair plaster, a wallcovering material formerly used in the construction industry and now found only in older buildings.
Horsehair can be very stiff or very fine and flexible; mane hair is generally softer and shorter than tail hair. The texture of horsehair can be influenced by the breed and management of the horse, including natural conditions such as diet or climate. Processing may also affect quality and feel.
Horsehair is a protein fiber that absorbs water slowly, but can be dyed or colored effectively using traditional dyes suitable for protein fibers. It can be felted, but not easily.