Last Updated on February 19, 2022 by Allison Price
To make your horse look more fuller and cleaner, you can simply bangle their tail. This is a simple way to make the horse’s head look longer. This sharp look is most common in the event world. However, it is also quite common in dressage and jumper rings. This handy trick isn’t just for competition. A straggly, thin tail can prevent the weakest hairs (and therefore the longest) from breaking. It also makes the tail look thicker and more healthy. To encourage the growth of thicker hairs over the winter, I bang the tails every day after the end of each season.
Tail-banging gives your tail a full, attractive look that is appealing to other competitors and can result in a thicker, more healthy tail.
Amy K. Dragoo/AIMMEDIA
The tail length that you are aiming for is an important factor. This will vary from one discipline to another, from horse to horse and even country to country. American eventers tend to whack their horses’ heads a few inches below their chestnuts. They are often shorter in the U.K. Jumpers can have their tails banged as short as their hocks. The tails of dressage horses are often longer and end near the fetlocks.
The length of your horse’s tail should be determined by how he carries it under saddle. Take a look at videos or photos of him moving. Is he carrying his tail high? If he carries his tail high, you might be able to trim off too much. You might be able trim a bit more length if he carries it lower. These variations can be accommodated by following the steps. However, there is no standard length. It all boils down to personal preference. When the horses are moving, I prefer my charges’ tails approximately one-hand width below the chestnut.
If your horse has one the straggly, thin tails that I mentioned earlier or if you’re not concerned about him looking like a yearling for a bit, I suggest cutting his tail very short to the chestnuts, or the thickest part of the tail. Although it may take several months before it grows back, it will become thicker and more healthy.
Very sharp scissors are the key to creating a straight line at the tail’s bottom. High-quality scissors are available at any craft or kitchen-appliance shop. Any good quality scissors (from a kitchen-appliance store, craft store, etc.) will work as long as they are a reasonable size and not elementary-school scissors. These scissors should be used only for this purpose to keep them sharp. For everyday tasks such as cutting baling twine, keep a second pair of scissors handy. Clippers with a #10 Blade are better than scissors for horses with thick tails. This will allow you to bang your tail quickly, instead of gnawing at it and creating an uneven line.
Before you start: Tail hairs, just like human hairs, stretch when wet. As they dry, they bounce back to a shorter length and sometimes a different shape. Avoid cutting too short the tail.
What you’ll need
* High-quality, sharp scissors
* (optional – not shown) Clippers with a #10 blade, for horses with thick tails