Carrying tail high: What is this?

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Carrying tail high: What is this?

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  • Quarter horse holds tail high
  • Horse carrying tail high

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    02-08-2012, 11:34 PM
Carrying tail high: What is this?

I don't think I've ever paid attention to it until recently when my trainer brought it up. My mare carries her tail high and away from her body when I'm riding, and as far as I've ever seen, does the same thing in the pasture.

She has been fully examined, poked, proded, flexed and tested by a vet and also recently saw a kinesiologist who found her to be in good shape all around except for a little hypersensitivity in her hind end muscles and the muscles in her stifle area. Treated her for this. He found no soreness in her back/pelvis at all. I know that tail carriage like hers can indicate issues there, but this the kinesiologist is very, very good and I know if there was something sore he would have found it.

Between he and the vet, I'm confident that she doesn't have a back soreness issue. My saddle fit her, although I recently bought a new one (that I also know fits), and if by some odd chance it didn't, it would have made her seriously sore by now. So I also don't believe it's saddle fit.

I want to believe that it's just her and how she likes to do things. When I first purchased her, she had a funny thing where her tail bone kind of curled and poked outward and to one side at the tip. That, however, went away after a couple of months. There was no pain, so I doubt she injured it.

I guess I'm just looking for opinions so I can say "this is why", because I'm tired of "WHY is she doing that?" like a high tail is the weirdest thing in the world, and me having nothing to say but "I don't know? Why is it your concern?"

She does a lot of funky things, but by all accounts of the professionals, she is sound and pain free, just quirky and strong willed perhaps.
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    02-08-2012, 11:38 PM
Green Broke
I never considered high tail carriage to be a bad thing. But I did notice your girl is a QH, correct? So it's not that common for the breed.

But in a lot of other breeds it is normal and even desirable.
    02-08-2012, 11:40 PM
Picture? I'm going to see if I can snoop and find something in your barn or profile.

My horse carries his tail high. He's a Dutch Warmblood/Paint cross. He only does it when he's happy though, when he's not doing so great he clamps it down.

You mean like this?

That doesn't look to have anything wrong with it, she's just letting it hang instead of clamping it down on her hind.
    02-08-2012, 11:41 PM
Even in QH's, depending on their breeding, it's not exactly uncommon either. I'm training a filly right now (3 year old) that carries her tail straight up in the air until she's warmed up a bit. Even when she's tired, she doesn't carry it flat, but she's bred to be rather high-strung as well. That's the horse's I see it in most commonly.
    02-08-2012, 11:43 PM
That's kind of what worried me in the first place, trailhorse. It's definitely not a normal QH thing, and she is pure QH through and through - not an Arab in sight in her ped!

I don't have pics of her doing it, although I can try to get some tomorrow.
    02-08-2012, 11:47 PM
Oh no, she carries it higher under saddle. And I did have her tail pulled at one point, and it's still growing out underneath, so I feel like it looks higher than it is to others because of that. Actually, I looked at your horse's pictures, and she carries it much the same.

My trainer seems to think she's grouchy under saddle, but I actually think her grouchiness is not due to anything I'm doing or her having to work, but because she doesn't like riding in the arena with other horses. She doesn't do the grouchy faces when no other horses are out.
    02-08-2012, 11:50 PM
Originally Posted by DressageIsToDance    
Actually, I looked at your horse's pictures, and she carries it much the same.

My trainer seems to think she's grouchy under saddle, but I actually think her grouchiness is not due to anything I'm doing or her having to work, but because she doesn't like riding in the arena with other horses. She doesn't do the grouchy faces when no other horses are out.
If she's swishing it and pinning her ears, then yes grouchy. Otherwise.. nope that's just her being her happy self, IME.
    02-08-2012, 11:53 PM
Super Moderator
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    02-08-2012, 11:54 PM
My quarter horse/thoroughbred/mutt carries his tail a little high.
Not animated like an arab, but still high.

Just the way he is. I was told it is a "relaxed position" by our trainer.
    02-08-2012, 11:56 PM
Super Moderator
Lacey carries her tail super high all the time (but she is an Arab). Higher when she's pleased/excited but when she's moving, it's up (unless it's raining in which case she clamps it to her patootie, she hates the rain).

I wouldn't worry too much about it. I would think it probably just means she's feeling comfortable and relaxed. :)

This is pretty average tail height for Lacey (sorry for the giant picture...I tried to make it smaller but it's refusing to obey...) :


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