My horse's tail looks like the end of it has gone through a wood chipper.  Any ideas?



These police pony tails are all banged. 


There are plenty of reasons why tails can look chopped up and untidy....luckily it's a very easy fix! They can get stepped on, chewed on, caught on fences, or just plain grow out weird.  Banging your horse's tail is one way to create a nice line.  This is appropriate for most disciplines, but some disciplines, like the hunters, prefer a natural tail.  The line created by a banged tail serves to tidy the tail and highlight the action of the hind legs.  It also will make a thinner tail look fuller at the bottom. 



What a lovely banged tail! 


Banging your horse's tail is easy!  The theory is to cut the bottom of the tail straight across so that it hangs evenly and crisply.  The length will be determined by a few factors, such as how short you cut it, how much tail your horse can grow, and what his discipline is.  For most show horses, a tail that falls between the fetlock and hock is pretty standard.  Tails that fall below the fetlocks can often be stepped on.



 You can prop the tail out a bit to mimic your horse's tail in action!


Start with a clean, dry, and combed out tail.  You want to bang the tail according to how your horse carries it when he works.   Many horses hold their tail out a little bit as they work, plan for this as you bang the tail.  The easiest way to do this is with a whip or polo wrap under the tail bone so that it pokes out just a bit, or a lot, as if he was working.  If your horse is afraid of whips, please find something else to use.  Like another person!



Why can I easily bang a horse's tail - but trimming my own bangs results in six months of ball caps?


Then you simply need to gather the tail in one hand and slide your hand down the length of the tail.  Try and stay as vertical as possible.  Stop with your hand at about the desired length or longer.  Then you can stand up, keeping a tight grip on the tail end.  No need to do your cutting or clipping with your face about a foot from the hind legs..  Then you just use your super sharp scissors to cut straight across!  For thicker tails, use well oiled and clean clippers, otherwise you are sawing with the scissors.  Ta-dah!



This is Cadence, my friend Bev's dog.  His tail is banged, too!  


You may want to also how to groom the top of the tail, either by clipping, pulling, or scissors. (Refer to the article here for pulling a tail or this article for tidying up the tail top with scissors here!)