The tail reflects the health of our horse’s spine. As the spine undulates in a slightly serpentine pattern through our horses’ body, his tail should carry through this motion.
As our horse uses his back and body better and better, as his balance changes and improves, he will use his tail differently. We want to keep an eye on it and note improvements or set backs as they tell us how well the training is progressing or is stalling.
We look for a tail that is carried in a soft arch slightly away from the body with the mass of hair rhythmically moving from hock to hock in a pendulum motion.
Touching your horse’s tail, gently lifting it and rotating it, combing the hair with your fingers, taking segments and gently pulling them in a circular motion while observing your horse will give you feedback about how he feels in his back and body. This should be done easily with no resistance, the tail should have a good weight in your hands and feel alive, not dead.
PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Stand to the side at first and stay close to the croup. If your horse reflexively clamps down or threatens to kick, do not try to force the issue or become aggressive. Reassure your horse with a neutral touch and your voice. If the problem persist, contact your health care pro, do not insist as you and your horse may get hurt.