dumb question about drafts - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 11-13-2011, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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dumb question about drafts

This may be a dumb question but I know nothing about draft horses. Why do many draft breeds seem to have croped tails? I happened to go past a percheron farm yesterday & saw all very short tails on the horses & got to wondering. Is it something to do with the harnesses used on them? I couldn't imagine cutting Jack's "fly swatter" :)

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post #2 of 18 Old 11-13-2011, 09:39 AM
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For show.
From what I understand at least.
Docked tails (like dobermans, rotties, etc) apparently look better for shows. But if you ask me, I prefer a nice long, bushy tail :p
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post #3 of 18 Old 11-13-2011, 09:56 AM
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It was done so their tails didn't get caught in farm machines, mowers, plows, wheels. It wouldn't have been pleasant if they had their tail ripped out but now it is a tradition thing and for looks.
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post #4 of 18 Old 11-13-2011, 10:00 AM
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The tails are docked so when they are driving so plowing reins and straps can't get caught under the horses tail. Its also done for management. Drafts have thicker more unruly hair than smaller and lighter breeds and fussing with a tail is not something a farmer wanted to deal with constantly. It's now a traditional look but the Amish still use it for safety reasons as previously stated.

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post #5 of 18 Old 11-13-2011, 10:37 AM
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Looks like you got your answer. No question is dumb.

Most horse things start with a real purpose but over the years it becomes a tradition.

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post #6 of 18 Old 11-13-2011, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littrella View Post
This may be a dumb question but I know nothing about draft horses. Why do many draft breeds seem to have croped tails? I happened to go past a percheron farm yesterday & saw all very short tails on the horses & got to wondering. Is it something to do with the harnesses used on them? I couldn't imagine cutting Jack's "fly swatter" :)

Thanks

The above answers are correct but now in breed showing they do it partly because of tradition but also it shows off the "roundness" of the haunches looking directly from the back straight on.
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-13-2011, 12:19 PM
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The irony in all of this is you see more drafts with undocked tails than docked ones in farm classes. These are the same horses that work the downtown malls and plow small acreage or maybe even log for a living.

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Originally Posted by Spyder View Post
The above answers are correct but now in breed showing they do it partly because of tradition but also it shows off the "roundness" of the haunches looking directly from the back straight on.
This is the stock answer but when you put a long tail up for a halter class, you can see and judge the set of the hocks and hind leg confirmation just fine. There are plenty of small time breeders that leave the tail whole but for it become mainstream, a major player is going to have to start doing it. It's more accepable for Shires and Clydes to have long tails.
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post #8 of 18 Old 11-13-2011, 10:20 PM
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So it is a breed standard ??? Wonder why our Belgian got to keep hers?


regardless, I am glad our Belgian got to keep her tail....it's lovely. On the top it is red gold, hence her registered name "Traces of Gold"....but the layers underneath are a white blond....



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post #9 of 18 Old 11-14-2011, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
This is the stock answer but when you put a long tail up for a halter class, you can see and judge the set of the hocks and hind leg confirmation just fine. There are plenty of small time breeders that leave the tail whole but for it become mainstream, a major player is going to have to start doing it. It's more accepable for Shires and Clydes to have long tails.
Those that breed quality drafts all dock tails..they bred for "World" and other big shows..a docked tail will win..those that don't dock don't win..Not only is it tradition to dock, its practical for any that are used in harness. Tail hairs do get caught even when they are trimmed all the way up to the tip of the tail..

I have three that aren't docked and I HATE the amount of cowboy magic it takes to get them brushed out...I really wish they were docked!

Chris
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post #10 of 18 Old 11-14-2011, 10:55 AM
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Both of our Clydes got to keep their tail... Both breeders told me they did it because "times are changing" and they felt it would make them appealing to more than just show homes (old timers looking to get out of breeding).

One of ours works as a logging horse, and while his tail sometimes snags a few hairs, it doesn't seem to be in the way too much. I will admit it isn't often someone brushes his tail out though....


The other seems to dislike harness work... So I am glad she has her tail... It suits her better than a docked one would.
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