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A horse's tail is very important to him. Not only does it act as a fly swatter in summer, it keeps his "bottom" warm in winter! The area between a horse's hind legs is the only part not kept warm by hair, so it loses the greatest amount of warmth if left exposed by too much trimming.

From a horse's point of view, the best tail is a natural tail.

Some horses have thin ragged tails, while others have tails so thick they cannot be braided for formal riding events and shows. To make the best of their appearance, thick or thin, different tails are treated in different ways. Some styles even go in and out of fashion!

 

Banged Tail
A "banged" tail is cut straight across the bottom to give it a neat appearance. It makes a scraggly tail look thicker.

Natural Tail
The natural tail is left thick and long if possible. (It's the horse's favourite style!)

Docked Tail
Often inflicted on harness horses to prevent their tails being caught up in the harness. Tail docking is illegal in many places as it's considered cruel.

Pulled Tail
The hair around the dock area, at the top, is pulled out to give the tail a more refined look. Show horses often have pulled tails.

DID YOU KNOW?

Horses will often stand "tail to tail" and shelter each other from annoying flies by swishing their tails for each other!

Some breeds are renowned for their tails. For example Appy's often have sparse (thin), tails while Friesians and Morgans are known for their long luxuriant tails.


As well as using them for fly swatters, horses use their tails to send signals to each other about how they are feeling.

Braided Tail
The tail is first thinned at the top and then braided neatly around the dock for showing. Both manes and tails are usually braided for hunter classes.

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