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Braiding Your Horse’s Tail: A Good or Bad Idea?

by Ben King | Monday July 11, 2016 | Equestrian

Beauty is pain, but pain isn’t always beautiful. Keeping your horse’s mane and tail tangle-free is proper maintenance, of course, but when you braid your horse’s tail, you might be putting her at risk of severe health problems.

Horse lovers braid their horses’ tails for many reasons—mainly for shows, as many believe judges view it as a sign of riders’ respect for their horses, but also because it makes some riders feel more professional. However, many people don’t realize the dangers of braiding a horse’s tail.

Why NOT to Braid Your Horse’s Tail

Although it may be an attractive solution to maintaining a long tail, braiding isn’t always the safest option.

    • You Can’t Lose Points at a Show.
      Contrary to popular belief, you cannot lose points at an event just because your horse’s tail is not braided. It may help enhance your overall score, but do you want to risk your horse’s well-being for a couple of points?
  • It May Cut off Your Horse’s Blood Circulation.
    If you wrap and braid your beloved mare’s tail too tightly, you risk cutting off her circulation. Results of poor blood circulation can include a multitude of health risks, including a decrease in body temperature and a weaker ability to fight infection.Another way to cut your horse’s circulation is wrapping from the very top of her tail. If you must wrap and braid her tail, make sure you start low and loose enough that it won’t cause her discomfort.

Dangers of Leaving Your Horse’s Tail Braided

When done right, your horse’s braided tail can be a beautiful sight to behold. But leaving it braided can pose a serious threat to her health and appearance.

    • Your Horse May Wind up With Broken Strands of Hair.
      Leaving a braid in for an extended period of time can actually cause strands of hair can take up to seven years to regrow, depending on her genetics. Imagine breaking countless strands. Your horse would be left with a thinner, less healthy looking tail for years.
  • It Can Cause Brain Damage.
    If you braid your horse’s tail for a show, make sure you don’t let her go grazing afterwards, unsupervised, with it still braided. A braided tail is at much higher risk of catching on low branches or fences in the pasture. If her tail gets stuck, she may panic and yank so hard that she rips her tail at the dock. This can cause severe nerve damage, spinal problems, and even brain damage to the point where your horse can no longer function properly and you’ll have no choice but to do the unthinkable.Protect your beloved equine friend (and investment) by ensuring her tail is no longer wrapped and braided when you let her out to pasture.

At Quarry View Construction, we promote healthy choices and create safe structures for your equine needs. Our Amish craftsmanship influences our process, leading to barns and arenas that are both beautiful and practical. Contact us today for more information on how Quarry View Construction can help keep your horses safe and satisfied.