Tack n' Talk

Online Equestrian Resource

Q & A: Crooked Tail


My horse holds his tail to one side, does this mean that something is wrong?  – Barbara,  Vancouver BC


Holding the tail to one side, either to the left or to the right, can be a habit.  However, there is also a possibility that it may be a sign of pain or an indicator of an asymmetry of muscle tone, either in the muscles controlling the movement of the tail or in the back.  The time to consider calling in your vet, is when your horse who previously held his tail straight, start to carry it consistently to one side.

The underlying cause may be as simple as muscle pain, which a qualified equine massage therapist, chiropractor or equine physiotherapist should be able to identify and treat.  However, if the problem is recurring, then there is an unidentified issue that has resulted in secondary muscle tension and soreness such as your saddle no longer fitting.

While your vet needs to try to identify a lame limb(s), he must also look for more subtle alterations in gait, change in balance, loss of fluidity of movement or an intermittently slightly irregular rhythm.  It is also important to evaluate the rider because some problems are created by the rider themselves.


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