tail wagging

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tail wagging

This is a discussion on tail wagging within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Foals wagging tail
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    06-23-2009, 08:15 PM
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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    06-23-2009, 08:18 PM
Sometimes horses will swish their tails when agitated, tired or in pain. Mostly to get flies though.
    06-23-2009, 08:18 PM
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
    06-23-2009, 08:32 PM
Green Broke
My horse does it when he's throwing a tantrum.
    06-24-2009, 10:42 AM
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.
    06-24-2009, 11:03 AM
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.
    06-24-2009, 11:14 AM
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.
    06-24-2009, 12:02 PM
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.

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