View Full Version : Horse's tail fell OFF???

Sep. 24, 2009, 01:08 AM
One of the horses at the barn was at a show and had some sort of freak accident in her stall over night in which something was caught/wrapped around the lower part of her tailbone. I guess there was baling twine caught around her tail about five inches from the bottom of the bone (Rumor has it that the people in the barn next to ours threw a bunch of TRASH over the top of the stall like plastic shavings bag, baling twine, garbage INTO our horse's stall, thinking there was no horse in there or something) The twine was cut off from around the tail and her tail had a cut in it but it was still attached.

Fast forward to 24 hours later and her tail FELL OFF from the last 5 inches down, the ENTIRE thing, like a lizard's would :eek:

She had a TDF tail that was hands down the thickest, longest, prettiest tail I had EVER SEEN on a horse and now there is only the sides of it left. At least the sides of it are still thick and long so she had a thin tail now but it is not 100% gone like if she had had an "average" tail to start with.

How in the heck does this happen? I had no idea their tail circulation could be compromised that badly just overnight.....I assumed to have the tail lose that much blood flow, it would have to have been for closer to a week, not just a day???

Anyone hear of this happening or experienced it with a horse before??

Sep. 24, 2009, 10:02 AM
I've heard of people putting a tail wrap on too tightly before trailering to a show, and having the whole tail come off when they unwrapped, so I'm sure it's possible.

Just hope the damage wasn't permanent and it will regrow.

M. Owen
Sep. 24, 2009, 10:28 AM
I knew a horse that had the same thing happen due to a tail wrap- he lost about the last 4 inches. I heard it had occurred during an 8 hour trailer ride.

Sep. 24, 2009, 10:35 AM
I had a horse sit/lean on the rear trailer door for balance during a 7 hour ride and a patch about 4 inches square in the middle of the tail fell off within a few days. The area developed a scab/loose skin and the hair came right off with the patch of skin. :eek: Scared me that it wouldn't grow back or would come in white, but it started growing back right away in the normal color.

Sep. 24, 2009, 10:35 AM
i know someone who tied the tail bag to close to the end of the tail bone and then put electrical tape around the top of the bag to keep it on. she must have run that over the very end of the tail bone b/c when she took the bag off 2 weeks later the very end of the tail and all the hair attatched came off to.
and no the bone isn't going to come back and you better hope the new end of the tail bone doesn't scar to bad so hair will grow back.

Sep. 24, 2009, 11:20 AM
If twine was wrapped tightly around the tail it sounds to me more of an "on purpose" thing than like someone just throwing some twine in a stall and the horse getting it wrapped around her tail.

Sep. 24, 2009, 11:56 AM
There was a well known case, many decades ago, in which all or most of the Polish team lost their tails due to too-tight tail bandages on a (train) trip to a show.

Sep. 24, 2009, 01:03 PM
Ouch! The bone can't grow back, obviously, but the side hair will grow longer and look better in time.

Watermark Farm
Sep. 24, 2009, 02:42 PM
A friend shipped her horse from CA to New Mexico for an event, and foolishly put a neoprene tail wrap on him for the 18 hours trip. When he arrived, all the hair fell out of his tail, leaving a bald stick tail. The vet said she was lucky that's all that happened. The tail eventually grew back to some degree, but it was never quite the same.

I'm sorry about the mare. How terrifying for her to feel that pain and be so helpless.

Sep. 24, 2009, 03:32 PM
Good reason to have a night check when everybody has gone home or to bed.

Sep. 24, 2009, 05:27 PM
If twine was wrapped tightly around the tail it sounds to me more of an "on purpose" thing than like someone just throwing some twine in a stall and the horse getting it wrapped around her tail.

I was thinking the same thing!!!!

Poor mare, that is so lousy....hopefully the hair will eventually grow back but I guess it all depends :(

Sep. 24, 2009, 05:47 PM
We had a LOVELY conformation hunter lose his tail after colic surgery. The tail bandage was too tight during the operation and when it was removed, he lost his whole tail.... Nothing left but a stump. Sounds like this mare was fortunate that it was at the bottom of the tail rather than the top. It will not grow back.

Very sad and unfortunate. I doubt the twine could have gotten around her tail on accident....

Sep. 24, 2009, 06:06 PM
I was not at the show, this is the story I was told regarding the twine. That is beyond my realms of thinking if someone did that to her on purpose.

She is only a 3 year old too......GORGEOUS well bred Oldenburg filly that also does the conformation hunters :(

So it will never grow back? (The hair, not the bone)

It looks like a hot dog at the end of her tail right now.....really:( really sad

Her owner still has "the tail." It is creepy, it has the five inches of bone/cartilage still attached. She is thinking about having it made into a fake tail for shows after the filly's remaining tail heals. Would she just be better off buying a brand new fake tail than having the one that came off made into one?

Sep. 24, 2009, 06:07 PM
We had to dock our TB's tail last year because of melanomas. Our vet used a large rubber band type material (I googled - an "elastrator band") and had to use a machine to wrap it on tight enough to cut the circulation off. Even with that, it took a good two weeks for the band to cut into the tail enough to dock it completely.

Re: pain - my vet assured me that it was a pretty painless procedure, all in all. The first hour or so is the worst, but once the circulation is cut off there's no real feeling. Like if you wrap a rubber band around your finger, it's irritating and such at first, but eventually it just goes numb. I'm not the horse, however, so I don't know firsthand how it feels, but Rocky didn't require any pain management.

I guess, knowing what we had to go through with Rocky - I can't imagine a piece of twine being able to "accidently" wrap itself around the tail tight enough to dock it in 24 hours. I would think it had been there longer and was applied on purpose. Of course, I am skeptical about many of the "I heards" etc ... but I guess it can happen. Just knowing it took a good two weeks for a very, very tightly applied piece of elastic to cut through the tail I don't know how a tail wrap could do it in a few hours. So who knows!

Long Spot
Sep. 24, 2009, 06:30 PM
So it will never grow back? (The hair, not the bone)

Depends on the amount of damage and scarring. Sounds like most of the necrotic stuff fell off already.

But I would say it's pretty safe to say that the amount of lost tissue that had hair follicles lost will make the amount of tail hair she ha previously much less now.

Sep. 24, 2009, 07:09 PM
When I bought my first horse 34 years ago her big 3 yr. old son was pastured with her and I noticed he a really short, wispy tail. I asked the owner why he was docked, and she told me he'd gotten hung up in wire as a baby. The vet who treated him wrapped the tail too tight and the bottom part 2/3rd of the tail just fell off.

Accidentally docked, poor guy...:lol:

Sep. 24, 2009, 07:21 PM
:eek: How scary! That poor mare!
I wrap my mare's tail with a fleece wrap for long trailer rides. Only tight enough for it to stay on, which isn't very tight.
I'm going to be extra paranoid about it now, we'll be moving hopefully up to WA next spring. Maybe I'll not wrap this time.

Sep. 25, 2009, 01:13 AM
Wow after reading all of this I don't know that I'll ever use a tail wrap ever!

For hope take a look at Shine Hill Peanut. It been awhile since I've seen his owner post but I remember thinking he was docked early (he's a Percheron stallion) but now she rides him in dressage and he has a gorgeous tail. You can't tell it's been docked at all.

Sep. 25, 2009, 03:34 AM
If it were me and I still had the end of the tail, I would definitely save it and have it turned into a fake tail, assuming this horse is a show hunter or something like that.

If you talk to a braider they can likely take the skin off the tail dead tail (so gross, I know) with the hair still attached and turn it into a fake tail that can be wrapped around. It's pretty natural looking once on.

Much less gross, I suppose, considering it's your own horses tail and not some random tail off a dead horse. :no:

Off of customtails.com:

What are rendered tails?
Rendered tails are horse tails still on the hide. They come in varying colors, lengths and weights. Rendered tails can work well for horses that have lost most of their tail hair due to tail damage or whose tails have been severely chewed. Rendered tails are shaped to form around the horse's tail bone, covering up and taking the place of the existing tail. Rendered tails can also work well as a tail extension - another way to add fullness and length to your horse's own tail. Rendered tails are braided in high on the tail bone. They are more time consuming to put in, and it is a two person job to braid in a rendered tail - patience and practice help! However, when there is not enough tail hair to attach a regular tail extension, a rendered tail may be the answer. See the Braiding Instructions and Tail Care page for further information on attaching a rendered tail.

Rendered tails do a nice job of taking the place of the tail hair that used to be there. In some cases, both with the tube end attachment tail extension and the rendered tail, small tail plugs are braided in to fill in where the extension/rendered tail and the horse's own tail hair meet, to help blend all the tail hair.

Sep. 25, 2009, 03:39 AM
Don't give up on her - she will still be quite useful and with a little work to learn to compensate for her missing 'balanc bar' she could well return to her pre-accident form. I raced a mare that lost her tail at some point - rumour had it she was wrapped for the haul from Ohio, and the tail wrap slipped. She raced just fine, was odd to harness because she barely had enough tail to put the crupper under, but she was one tough mare.

To give you hope, look closely at Bigtime Ball in the photo accompanying this article from a month ago: http://standardbredcanada.ca/news/8-13-09/bigtime-ball-rolling-strong-five.html Never did find out what happened but lacking a tail didn't slow him down one bit.

Sep. 25, 2009, 09:49 AM
It really doesn't take much to kill off the tail. They don't have a lot of blood flow to the dock anyway,any constriction can do it.

In a case where the vet is docking on purpose, it will take longer because they are doing it as pain free as possible. trauma is another story. REmember, the vets use an elastic band, baling twine has no give. However,I really am hesitant to say this was an accident... stranger things have happened, but...

The hair will likely grow back in that area, but she'll never grow a full thick tail like before. Her dock is shorter, so her tail will follow suit. I'd definitely save the hair and have a fake made, as even if the hair does grow back, its going to take a few years.

My mare had a tail injury last summer and while we were able to save the dock, we had to shave a lot of the hair off to keep the wound clean. It healed nicely and the hair started growing back immediately, but a year later she only has about 6 inches of growth.

Sep. 25, 2009, 10:58 AM
I find this so strange, the fact that the tail fell off so quickly. I mean, in my experience this takes a while. Many farmers, even though I personally hate the practice, dock the tails on their cows to stop from getting pissy tails across the face while milking etc. I have had more than one tail come off in my hand while inseminating cows and it isn't a real good feeling. So we always made sure to keep track of when the farmer had banded them just so I"d know when to start being aware. It is much better when you know there is a possibility of the tail coming off in your hand, than having it be a total surprise. I must say when the docking practice became the fad, it really took me a bit to get accustomed to tails just falling away while I was holding them. And it was always just about one week. EVen with lambs tails it used to take our about 5 days. A horses tail is just so much thicker than a cows, I can't get how it could happen in a few hours at all.

Sep. 25, 2009, 01:21 PM
Stubbs (unfortunate nickname he got after losing his tail) lost his tail within 24 hours. It was bandaged too tight for a colic surgery and he lost the tail right at the base of the dock within 24 hours.

Sounds like this girl was fortunate in that she has a bit more tail bone left but definitely use her own tail to have an extension made! You may also want to consider getting an every-day synthetic extension that she can wear to swat flies....

Sep. 27, 2009, 08:34 PM
My little filly was born with only 3 vertebrae in her tail! Hopefully the hair will grow at least to her hocks. Its a very busy tail, and of course is black with silver stripes down the side, just like I ordered. But I said silver tail, not sliver of a tail! Oh well, I think I would rather have this than her lose it in an accident!

Sep. 27, 2009, 10:57 PM
sk pacer
i dont think that horse is missing his tail... hes just wearing a tail tie with some extra tape around the tail bone, which is very common.

the top of the tail is wrapped in electrical tape and a rope braided in and taped on, then the rope/tail is tied to the race bike. its to keep them straight or stop tail swishing or kicking.

i new a mare who hooked her tail on a nail and it rotted and fell off (YUCK). poor thing was left with only a tiny stump and a little hair. i knew her years after it happened and it never grew much at all. they raced her with a stud support to keep the crupper and hobble hangers in place.

i also knew i little filly who was born with no tail bone! she had a fluff of tail hair over her bum but no bone! made it pretty much impossible to break her to harness as she could wear a crupper. unfortunately her owners were not too impressed when they found out (after a year of owning her, how do you NOT notice your horse has no tail bone since it was born?!?!) that she couldnt keep a proper harness on. and poor little 'rusty no tail' did not have a happy ending.

Sep. 28, 2009, 12:39 AM
The hair may or may not grow back. I knew of a horse who lost its tail because of a too tight tail wrap, and was left with only a little nub. The hair never grew more than a few inches. Just a little poof of hair at the top.

I'd guess that since only the end of the tail was lost, the hair probably should grow back well.