tail wagging - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-23-2009, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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tail wagging

I know horses wag tails to swat flies but recently i rode my friends horse who was very well behaved but i noticed he swished his tail what does it mean was he aggitated? happy? any opinions on this
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-23-2009, 08:18 PM
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Sometimes horses will swish their tails when agitated, tired or in pain. Mostly to get flies though.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-23-2009, 08:18 PM
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Usually it means they are agitated. I'm no expert, but I've noticed that excessive tail swishing seems to point to a sore back. I would check the saddle fit
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-23-2009, 08:32 PM
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My horse does it when he's throwing a tantrum.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-24-2009, 10:42 AM
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Horses swish their tail for numerous reasons. Sometimes its flies, sometimes it's pain, but it can also be a warning. I actually taught a pony to swish her tail. She was owned by a six year old that never planned on showing. The pony was out of shape and would buck when she was tired. I got her in better shape but I also taught her that swishing her tail a few times was a better way to say she needed a break. I figured that was far safer than bucking the kid off.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-24-2009, 11:03 AM
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That's a cool idea, Piper!

My very first lesson horse would carry his tail off center if the rider was off center. I remember my first riding instructor telling me to sit more to the right, since Max's tail was sticking out to the right. Not putting enough weight on the left got a leftward sticking tail.

Most showing disciplines will penalize a swishing tail, since it can indicate resistance to the rider's cues. Usually, though, the tail swishing isn't the only resistance the horse shows, it's only part of a picture that includes pinned ears, raised head carriage, gapping of the mouth, full body stiffness, etc. Since it sounds like your friend's horse was really well behaved, I'd chalk it up to flies.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-24-2009, 11:14 AM
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Yep, it usually means agitated. It can be from pain or it can be from leg cues if the horse has has spurs used excessively on him. That will create a tail swisher.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-24-2009, 12:02 PM
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Your horse might need a good massage. One of the common things I've noticed in horses with sore backs before I massage them is excessive tail swishing.

Not all who wander are lost - J.R.R. Tolkien
Colorado Equine Massage Therapy
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