Docking Tails in Show Horses/Everyday Horses
To my knowledge, docking tails in horses is illegal in the UK so I guess they just show the horses naturally.
But in the States, or wherever else you're all from, what's the deal with docking? Do show horses HAVE to be docked? Can they enter a show with a full tail - both in-hand, driven and specialised draft horse shows?
Regarding working drafts, is it truly necessary to cut off their tail, or can the horse work and log with a full tail?
Do you dock your draft's tails?
We do Dock our horses tails. But you only should dock them if they are being required to shows. Do you have a draft horse? Why are you wanting to dock your horses tail. In Ontario we are aloud to dock our horses tails if needed.
Now when your going to shows....it depends on what breed you have, if the horse is a percheron or a Clyde, yes they should be docked for marks. If you don't have it docked, you don't get the points to get first place. Also it requires Hight, there is a sertain hight for Shows. And the shows may be in 1, 2, Unicorn, 6 or eight horse hitch, Showmanship etc.
I see some people don't dock their horses tales but, it depends on there breed, if they have the money, don't want to or just don't care about the points they get.
I don't own a draft, or have any intentions of doing so at the moment. I was just asking out of pure curiosity because I see show horses here with full tails, and a majority of show horses in the States are docked.
Can you give me anything specific on Clydesdales and Shires?
Also, what is the age that a horse can have his tail docked? Is it quite young like a dog? Or do they wait it out for a few months?
Some Do it a couple days after birth and some Dock them after a month. But yes, when they are young, they must have their tails docked.
We docked our horses a day after birth.
So are the rules the same for all other states? There's very little on Google on this topic, regarding other states.
Docking has been illegal in the UK since 1949 essentially because it was regarded as an unneccessary practice that was cruel as it deprived the horse of its natural fly protection
Horses have continued to be worked and shown there in harness with tails either shaved off or cut short and also tied up and decorated to protect from risks of damage in harness.
These horses were traditionally stabled during the day when not working when the flies were worse and turned out at night.
At least this way if they are ever retired to 24/7 turnout the tail could grow and be a use to them.
Photo of a UK show Draft
In the US, you do not have to dock a draft's tail to show them but depending upon the level you show at and/or who you are being judged by, you are at a disadvantage before you enter the ring if you don't. It's simply traditional for them to be done and most draft people can't wrap their heads around the fact that it doesn't change the comformation, quality, action or training if you leave it. I do not dock tails but when I show their tails are braided up so their back legs are completely visible.
In hitch and halter classes it's rare to see horses with long tails. Part of that is they are hitch horses. They need to look like the other 5 or 7 in the hitch. Unless you raise every horse in your hitch, it's unlikely you will come across that perfect horse for sale with a tail. If you are raising them, you dock the tail for the future owner who would otherwise pass on them because they have a tail and don't fit in their the hitch.
In farm classes (obstacle driving or races) and pulling classes about 50% will have tails. The biggest argument for docking tails is they get caught in the lines, pto or other farm equipment they are pulling. The irony is most of the horses that complete in farm classes also work for a living. They work the downtown malls, they do weddings, they cut and rake hay, they log, they plow... and their tails don't pose a problem. The hitch horses on the other hand are shod in shoes during the show season that don't allow them even turnout time much less slogging around in the mud.
Again in the US you are more apt to come across Clydes and Shires who have tails, Percherons and Belgians, less so. Brabants and American Creams never have their tails done.
Thank heaven that docking horses is illegal in the UK. It is seen an animal cruelty and anyone caught doing it unless for a medical reason, ends up in jail. There is no reason on earth for horses to be docked except to pander to man's vanity. Hopefully the rest of the world will come to its senses soon and horse docking will be relegated to the past.
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