When I first got Dancer, she had a really long tail, but it looked a little strange (you may be able to see it in my avatar - that pic was taken at her old home). When we got her home, I noticed she had LOTS of scars on her butt, going straight across, like she had been rubbing back and forth against something. Then I noticed the mat in her tail. Started trying to work through it, but wasn't having any success. I would work on it for a hour or so, then let her back in the pasture. Big mistake. She didn't come up for dinner - I went looking for her, and there she was, with her matted tail caught on a tree branch. She wasn't going anywhere!
I had to cut her tail almost as short as your fellas. It was as thick and heavy and stiff as a club! Found that someone had BRAIDED bailing wire into her tail (hence the scratches on her but) and LEFT it there!
It must have been there for years.
After the tail cut (about 1-1/2 years ago): Dancer.jpg
Tail now (pay no attention to the fat broad!): Me on Dancer 03-19-11c.jpg