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Fowl Play 11-29-2009 11:06 AM

What might cause a horses tail to change color so drastically?
 
On Wednesday my daughter had lessons. The instructor and I noticed that the 3 horses that were being used all had a significant difference in tail color from 2 weeks ago. My daughter's (lesson) horse is a red roan, however his roan is fading with his winter coat, but his tail has always been a red color. The other 2 are sorrel with tails that have been an exact match to their coat until recently. Now all three horses have dark brown tails. One of them is so dark it's almost a purple color.

These three horses are kept in a pasture with a shelter because they're all tough keepers in a barn. My daughter's (she's the only one that rides him now) horse can't eat enough hay and alfalfa to keep weight on him in the barn, and the other two are still young and eat about 3 times what the average barn horse eats. They're in the hay field after a 2nd cutting (they do their own hay at this barn) and it's been really wet here so the grass is nice and green.

The instructor says she's seen the roan fade during the winter often, but never the tail changing so much. Could the nutrients in the grass be doing causing the tail to change so much. The manes are not changing at all. No, I don't have pictures. The lighting was all wrong on Wednesday and I couldn't get the settings right on the camera to show color. All you can see is my daughter's horse's bald face glowing. (His white is almost opaque now!)

Spirithorse 11-29-2009 01:01 PM

I would be thinking that they are lacking in minerals....I'd be looking at copper. Could the horses possibly have ulcers?

G and K's Mom 11-30-2009 01:34 PM

Or it could be the water. Don't know about you guy's in WA but up here in BC it's been WET! Could be run-off into the water supply, especially if your on a well.

mls 11-30-2009 01:44 PM

For the tail to change color as you describe - it has to be external (laying in muck, etc). Tails grow the same way our hair does.

jimmy 11-30-2009 01:49 PM

but if it was water or pasture wouldent you expect their manes to change as well

Fowl Play 11-30-2009 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by G and K's Mom (Post 476470)
Or it could be the water. Don't know about you guy's in WA but up here in BC it's been WET! Could be run-off into the water supply, especially if your on a well.

Yes it has been very wet. They have a water trough, but it has been filled mostly by rain lately, and they have a pond that they drink out of sometimes (even if fresh water is available). They are on a well too. And yes, it's been nice and mucky. It sounds like there could be a lot of factors in it.

Alwaysbehind 11-30-2009 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mls (Post 476479)
For the tail to change color as you describe - it has to be external (laying in muck, etc). Tails grow the same way our hair does.

I have to agree!

Also, could some of the difference you are calling their tail changing color be more that their coat color has changed with their winter hair which makes their tail look a different color?

Fowl Play 11-30-2009 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind (Post 476570)
I have to agree!

Also, could some of the difference you are calling their tail changing color be more that their coat color has changed with their winter hair which makes their tail look a different color?

Quite possibly. This year the roan is very much less roan than he has been. Except for the belly, you can hardly see his white spots anymore.

starlinestables 12-01-2009 12:38 PM

Hmm... I think its an external factor because if it were nutritional it would effect the mane, tail and hooves at the very least. My guess would be poop (man poop can REALLY get engrained in there and only a long soaking of purple shampoo could get it out or even bleach, purple shampoo that hasn't been washed out very well, or perhaps they are scratching on something?

Darkening of the tail in winter months isn't uncommon though... I want to see pictures!!!

Have you tried washing the tail out realllly well?


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