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Tails....to pull, or not to pull? That is the question!

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  • Tails....to pull, or not to pull? That is the question!

    What's the trend these days? Is a pulled tail still the standard, even at low level unrecognized events, or a holdover from days gone by? How often do you see a braided tail in competition? What advantages are there to a pulled tail in terms of care or disadvantages? I am very very suspect when it comes to pulling tails....I have horses who hate it so I don't do too much of it but I want them to look good.

    My concerns are: time taken to do it right to start with and maintenance. Will it work on the very thin tailed horse. Is it fashionable. Can I get away with not doing it for lower levels.
    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

  • #2
    Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
    What's the trend these days? Is a pulled tail still the standard, even at low level unrecognized events, or a holdover from days gone by? How often do you see a braided tail in competition?

    I don't know about what's in fashion or the standard, but I will NEVER pull a tail on one of my horses. Personally I think they look hideous 95% of the time and even moreso when they're not kept up with assiduously. Which most of them are not.

    Braided tails are rare, IME, but my trainer braided my horse's tail for the final jog at the N3D last weekend and we won "best turnout". He looked awesome, and has a glorious, full, beautiful tail that would be a crime to butcher with that icky pulled look.
    Click here before you buy.

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    • #3
      I never pull a tail and don't see it at all often at the lower levels (and less and less at the upper levels)
      OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

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      • #4
        I made the mistake of doing it with clippers... NOT a good look.

        Never again.
        Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

        Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010

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        • #5
          I clip mine. Done right, it is hard to tell unless you are right up next to them. I HATE HATE HATE pulling tails and will not do it if I can avoid it.

          If I had more time/patience and felt more capable, I would braid tails. I LOVE the look. I was envying all the lovely braided tails at Upperville yesterday. So pretty!
          Amanda

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          • #6
            I personally pull all my horses tails. My older guy was going training and about to bump to prelim when he was injured and is currently on rest. Young horse does novice and happily rocks a pulled tail. I personally pull them over the horrid clipped tail, which never looks right. I also bang their tails mid cannon bone.

            At the lower levels I honestly see many natural tails and some even at the upper levels. Trainers 2* horse rocks the natural look as pulling his tail or his mane is a lesson in dodging hooves. he just gets a tail wrap before dressage to neaten the look.

            I would rather see a natural tail over a badly pulled, cut, clipped, or braided tail. So distracting if not done right for me, but really it is the other competitor that you are doing it for as I personally have never heard a judge comment on it when scribing. You do really have to keep up the upkeep on the tail or it looks ratty. For me its five minutes a week and a easy show prep with an ace bandage. personally I've been pulling tails so long it isn't a big deal, but if you don't want the commitment then pass on a pulled tail.
            I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.

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            • #7
              I clip as well. My friend, who is/was a groom to some professional dressage riders, always clips and showed me how. No one can tell the difference.

              Now, what I REALLY think is ugly is the extent of how much the Brits pull/shave the tails. I think neatening the top makes it look fuller and shows off the hindquarters better than leaving it full and frizzy.
              "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

              So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

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              • #8
                I used to pull, but I clip my own horse's because he doesn't have much and it looks stupid if I pull it. I think I do a pretty mean clip job if I do say so myself. I also bang the bottom a bit so it's flat. It looks so much better.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by eventer_mi View Post
                  Now, what I REALLY think is ugly is the extent of how much the Brits pull/shave the tails. I think neatening the top makes it look fuller and shows off the hindquarters better than leaving it full and frizzy.
                  I pull all our tails. It's the done thing in show hunter classes here and most eventers here would have pulled tails too, certainly as you go up the levels. I think there is nothing nicer than a well pulled and banged tail to show off the hindquarters. NEVER clip... that's a cardinal sin amongst us traditionalists.

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                  • #10
                    Count me in the group that HATES pulled tails. I do not find it aesthetically pleasing, nor do I think it's necessary to put the horse through.

                    I think a natural tail looks absolutely fine. If anything, maybe a well done braid for dressage. But even to see that is rare, as I think it is still much more of a hunter thing.

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                    • #11
                      I clipped my older guy's (and still do, even now that he's semi-retired-- it was taking FOREVER to grow out and looked mullet-y). But I think most of them are natural these days, especially at the unrecognized/ low level events-- I'm in the same part of Area II as you. My younger horses are going to stay natural until they hit the FEI levels at least

                      BUT, with a horse that has a thin tail I might be more inclined to do it since I think it can take them from wimpy to elegant.

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                      • #12
                        I used to pull my old Advanced horses tail. It looks better than a clipped tail. However, my mare will kick my head in if I pull her tail. So hers is clipped. It can be done well.

                        I have seen bad clip and bad pulling jobs. As a former professional groom there are a couple things that annoy me. A badly pulled or clipped tail is worse than not doing it at all and a badly braided mane is worse than not braiding at all.

                        To each his own with the clipping/pulling, but I think it makes a horses hindquarters look prettier.

                        And yes I do it on my BN horses as well as my upper level horses.

                        And no it isn't dwindling. I am not sure there was a single horse at Rolex that didn't have a pulled tail.

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                        • #13
                          I clip tails, and have for 25 years. They get clipped before their first recognized event, so yes at the lower levels.

                          I do have one mare who I didn't clip until her second season of eventing, as she could kick in a crowd and I braided the tail so I could easily attach a red ribbon. When she got over it , she got clipped. I also will sometimes wait to clip a sale horse if I'm not sure it will end up an eventer.

                          Out here I see natural tails very rarely. It's split pretty evenly between clip, pull, and braid.
                          Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
                          Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
                          www.phoenixsporthorses.com
                          Check out my new blog: http://califcountrymom.blogspot.com

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                          • #14
                            I do what suits the horse.

                            My older fellow has a gorgeous flaxen tail that is very light underneath. It is also very thin, though, so it wouldn't stand up to pulling well. I always braided it for upper level competition & it would look amazing. The benefits are that there is almost no maintenance between shows save for banging it & making sure it is as clean and white as possible. The downside is that a rushed tail brand looks absolutely awful, so it doesn't always get done since I rather spend 15 minutes warming up than 15 minutes braiding a tail.

                            My young horse, though, has a dark brown, very thick tail. His pulled tail looks clean, sharp, & very British. It does take weekly attention & it took a while until he was comfortable with it being pulled, but there is so little that goes into at the show that it makes it super easy. Just pull the tail wrap & go.
                            Pacific Coast Eventing
                            Standing Yeager GF

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                            • #15
                              I'm in the don't like it group. The look doesn't appeal to me, but I do bang everyone's tail. Even my retired broodmare
                              "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by anonmoos81 View Post
                                I am not sure there was a single horse at Rolex that didn't have a pulled tail.
                                Kendal Lehari always braids her horses tails. Ed was braided at Rolex. He looked fabulous.

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                                • #17
                                  I confess I love the traditional look, and thus I pull and bang tails...but only once they are going Preliminary. At Training and below, the horse might still end up with a career doing something else, and if there's any chance it might end up in the hunter ring, a pulled tail will be a major check against it. But once the horse is going Preliminary, I pull - NEVER clip - the tails and bang to a length where it hits mid-cannon while horse is trotting (depending on how the horse carries its tail, it may be closer to fetlocks when standing still).

                                  If you're going to braid the tail, please please please learn how to braid it properly. A braid that's too short, or is loose or bulgy looks so much worse than a loose tail; contrariwise, a gorgeous hunter tail is stunning. I rarely seen clipping done well, as it almost always looks a little brushy on top. Whatever you do, most important is that the tail is spotlessly clean and well conditioned.

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                                  • #18
                                    I don't really clipper the tail but it is definitely maintained. She has a thick tail so I take the sides of the tailbone down to about 3 inches and blend. I also take off some thickness on the front of the tailbone. It ends up looking the way many tails look naturally. If we were actively competing I would take the sides closer and bang the tail to mid canon instead of fetlock.

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                                    • #19
                                      I love the look of a properly pulled and banged tail, but I don't like getting kicked and also don't like keeping them up, so I don't pull tails anymore.

                                      Clipped tails look awful in my opinion...never seen one that looked right in comparison to a well-pulled one.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                        I don't know about what's in fashion or the standard, but I will NEVER pull a tail on one of my horses. Personally I think they look hideous 95% of the time and even moreso when they're not kept up with assiduously. Which most of them are not.

                                        Braided tails are rare, IME, but my trainer braided my horse's tail for the final jog at the N3D last weekend and we won "best turnout". He looked awesome, and has a glorious, full, beautiful tail that would be a crime to butcher with that icky pulled look.
                                        I agree. I loathe the look of the pulled tails. Many moons ago, I used to event at the novice level and always braided Knowzy's tail. The dressage judges frequently commented on our nice turnout and his gorgeous tail.
                                        Libby

                                        There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness". - Dave Barry

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