Tail swishing - reason? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-13-2011, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Tail swishing - reason?

Hi! New to the forum and relatively new (2 years) to horses!

I'm buying an 11 y/o TBx that is a really sweet boy with overall excellent ground manners and a gentleman under saddle. I thought it was my imagination, but the barn manager also commented today that he swishes his tail more than most while working around him in the stall and seems to have a real knack for hitting you right in the face! He does this while happily munching on hay and does not seem to be agitated otherwise. He loves attention, snuggles, and scratches - overall a really people horse. He practically puts the bridal on himself and seems to love working. I had him vetted today and the vet did not find anything that would cause this. Even when sedated for xrays, his tail was pretty active. He's a thin-skinned chestnut and lived outside for ~6 months prior to me buying him. Could it possibly be that this is just a habit or reflex? Or do you think he is doing it as a mild display of agitation?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-13-2011, 09:29 PM
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He could be irritated that you are in his space.

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post #3 of 9 Old 09-13-2011, 09:36 PM
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He is swishing at imaginary flies. My diagnosis. I will send you a bill.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-13-2011, 09:44 PM
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If he's hypersensitive to flies, he might just be feeling like something's on him even if it isn't. Unless his ears are pinned while he's swishing, it's not likely a bad attitude.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-13-2011, 11:29 PM
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"chestnut" and "TB" are two key clues.

It's very likely that he has very sensitive skin, and that the tail switching is a habit. If he shows no other signs of either pain or irritation, I would just assume that it is a habit.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-14-2011, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your thoughts! This makes me feel better that it is probably not intentional. The barn manager thought I should scold him for it, but I was hesitant - I'm glad I went with my gut instinct and have been just ignoring it.
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-14-2011, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by maura View Post
"chestnut" and "TB" are two key clues.

It's very likely that he has very sensitive skin, and that the tail switching is a habit. If he shows no other signs of either pain or irritation, I would just assume that it is a habit.
I have to agree with this.

In my opinion scolding him for it would only lead to frustration and confusion. How can you scold them for swishing at bugs?
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-14-2011, 06:56 AM
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Good choice in leaving him alone. As long as there is no ear pinning or irritation his his part with you in the stall, I don't think there is a real problem either. On the other hand, it could also have something to do with his being stalled. If he was out 24/7 before you got him, he may really prefer that over a stall and what he is showing is a mild form of anxiety.

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post #9 of 9 Old 09-14-2011, 09:50 PM
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One more thought... could he have an itchy tail? I know they usually rub if tere is lice, but maybe he tries to cope with tail swishing?
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