Tail swishing
 
 

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Tail swishing

This is a discussion on Tail swishing within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Horse swishing tail under saddle
  • Tail Swishing

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    05-24-2014, 12:20 AM
  #1
Started
Tail swishing

My horse swishes his tail a lot. When I'm tacking up, getting on (sometimes), and some things under saddle, mainly backing up. I know this sounds like pain, and it very well may be. He was checked by a chiro back in December, and he had no back soreness, a little soreness on one side of his neck, and a little over his pelvis. Was checked again a few weeks ago, and same results. The vet told me to do carrot stretches with him everyday to keep his neck supple, as one side tends to get sore. But with all the swishing and sometimes the pinned ears I thought for sure he'd have all kinds of back trouble, but none (along his spine anyway.) This is not an excuse, or maybe not even a reason, but he is kind of the grouchy type. I've noticed this tail swishing for a long time but never really thought too much of it, but the other day my dad pointed out him swishing his tail at the back up and it hit me-what's going on? So, does anyone have any ideas? Do you think pain or annoyance? Is there any possible way that it's nothing, just 'him?'
     
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    05-24-2014, 12:45 AM
  #2
Showing
Do you ride in spurs?
Do you use your legs a lot when you are riding?
What kind of bit do you use on him?
When is the last time his teeth were done?
Are you certain that your saddle fits him well?

In addition to that, what do you know about his training history?
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    05-24-2014, 01:55 AM
  #3
Started
I usually ride in spurs, but not always. I rarely actually touch him with them though.
I don't use much leg, he doesn't need a lot.
I use a French link D ring snaffle. Also have a single jointed egg butt.
Not certain that it fits him perfect (it's not a custom fit)
Teeth were done last January, but vet said they looked good and didn't need much done.
I know he was trained in western pleasure as a 3 year old, then rode on trails, then gave lessons and was trained in hunter under saddle and jumping. I know the pleasure trainer rode him in spurs, and I think the hunter trainer.
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    05-24-2014, 01:56 AM
  #4
Started
He does it bareback too.
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    05-24-2014, 01:03 PM
  #5
Showing
My best guess without actually seeing him is that he has likely had spurs over-used on him in the past and created the habit of tail swishing. Probably not much you can do about it now.

I would go ahead and double check your saddle fit though, especially since he seems to be worse about it when backing up. Horses tend to use their back more when they are backing up than they do when they are going forward, so any pinching that might be happening would be worse then.
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    05-24-2014, 01:11 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Sacral nerve pinched. Could be many things. Give him some pain reliever and ee if he still does it. If not then it is pain.
I understand you have had vet and chiro care but they are not all created equal and may have missed something.
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    05-24-2014, 04:02 PM
  #7
Green Broke
Could also be something that isn't going to show up without ultrasound too.
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    05-24-2014, 09:39 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
How long ago was he in a show barn? MANY show horses' tails are 'blocked' to keep them hanging limp. Some are so limp they get tangled up around their hocks and some cannot even lift them well to defecate. Some have worn heavy tail extensions and that limits tail movement. When they 'wake up' or go without the extensions, they can get really swishy tailed.

Spurs usually start the problem in the first place, so riding without them can really help. If the horse was blocked, he may (or may not) gradually get better if he is not aggravated with spurs. If it is a really ingrained habit, it will be difficult to stop in the arena but may go away on the trail, in the pasture or working cattle -- like a new occupation.

To rule out pain, I would give him Bute or Banamine and see if he is the same. I'm afraid it is a result of a lot of show barn training.
     
    05-24-2014, 10:42 PM
  #9
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
How long ago was he in a show barn? MANY show horses' tails are 'blocked' to keep them hanging limp. Some are so limp they get tangled up around their hocks and some cannot even lift them well to defecate. Some have worn heavy tail extensions and that limits tail movement. When they 'wake up' or go without the extensions, they can get really swishy tailed.

Spurs usually start the problem in the first place, so riding without them can really help. If the horse was blocked, he may (or may not) gradually get better if he is not aggravated with spurs. If it is a really ingrained habit, it will be difficult to stop in the arena but may go away on the trail, in the pasture or working cattle -- like a new occupation.

To rule out pain, I would give him Bute or Banamine and see if he is the same. I'm afraid it is a result of a lot of show barn training.
He was on Banamine for 8 days for his neck; didn't help the tail swishing. He was never shown until I bought him, but I got him almost 3 years ago from the hunter people.
     
    05-24-2014, 11:07 PM
  #10
Super Moderator
Do you know if he had an 'active' tail when the hunter people had him? Has he be swishy tailed since you first rode him?
     

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