My hair is pretty long (almost waist length when straight) and I don't like how my hair looks at all in a curly ponytail. I only wear a curly ponytail if Im going to be home but on the rare occasion that I do wear it to go somewhere, it's a high ponytail. I brush the front of my hair all into the ponytail so that its smooth and then slick down the strays with some gel. I get alot of shrinkage so the actual ponytail just ends up looking like a poof in the back of my head.
I do like wearing a ponytal when I straighten it though because I feel like the smoothness in front flows well with the smoothness of a long, straight ponytail in back. Hope that makes sense!