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Broken Tail

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  • Broken Tail

    Can a horse with a broken and healed crooked tailbone be started under saddle? Any personal experience with this?

  • #2
    No experience with specifically starting a horse under saddle after such injury, but I had a gelding under my care who worked for a mounted patrol unit. He did break his tail during a pasture scuffle and lost complete control of it. It did heal, straight, and he never regained any use of it. It was eventually amputated as it was better for him (hygene wise, plus the skin was highly sensitive to infection). I rehabbed him for 6 months and he went back to work the following summer. He continued his career for another six years before he was eventually retired due to EPM.

    Other than bringing him very slowly, we had no issues with him. What does your vet think? Any muscle or nerve damage?
    Gone gaited....


    • Original Poster

      Horse was seen by a vet/chiropractor who says it was broken and set crooked. Tried to send the horse out to be broken and it bucked hard with the trainer who sent it to the vet. No xrays were taken.

      Horse was a bully on the ground for awhile and very hard to teach to lunge (would charge) so I wondered if the problems under saddle were due to it being in pain or just a bear.


      • #4
        I know of a horse who broke his tail as a yearling. He went on to be broken, into race training, proved to be slow and did not race, so went to a H/J barn, that wasn't his thing, so he went back to the track, raced and earned money, though he hasn't won yet.

        So yes, horses with broken tails CAN do just fine.
        It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati


        • #5
          My morgan has a slightly crooked tail, if you palpate there is a portion near the dock that makes a subtle yet quick turn. My horse is a career bucker and has spend the majority of his life being completely and utterly unrideable. Also a monster on the longe, but to complicate things his previous owners were spectacularly poor horse handlers. So training or pain has been the chronic debate on him everytime he acts up.

          We've come a long, long way together but I'm sensing resistance purely from back pain at this point. Vet is coming out in a few weeks to do a lameness on him and we're going to go looking for kissing spines, hock problems, and I'm going to ask her to xray the tail too.

          I'd read a submitted story in one of the big horsey mags 2 or 3 years ago about a saddlebred (iirc) that was sweet as pie but bucked a blue streak anytime it was ridden. Owner loved the horse, spent years trying to figure it out, custom saddles, etc. Finally, savvy vet said lets look in the tail, found a bone cyst between the vertebras, they removed it and horse was right as rain from then on.

          makes perfect sense to me that tail problems could affect comfort when being ridden.
          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


          • #6
            When I was 8 I leased a mare who had a previously broken tail. They said she'd been kicked in the pasture. Her tail was in more of a C shape then straight like normal, but it never bothered her at all or effected her performance.
            Rebel Without Cash!


            • #7
              I rode a horse who had his tail broken and it had healed somewhat crooked (it wasn't visibly crooked but you could feel that it was) and he was unable to swish his tail properly so fly spray was very important for him as were other forms of fly protection (sheets, masks etc.) We actually kept his tail braided most of the time as otherwise it seemed to annyo him.

              So, I would think so given my experience as the horse I rode was definitely trained (finished Tevis last year but not with me thank goodness), but if in doubt perhaps check with a vet?
              My blog:



              • #8
                I don't know that much about saddlebreds, but aren't alot of their tails broken to get the high tailset? I know thats surgery, but still


                • #9
                  Yes...it depends on the extent & location of the fracture. The nerve of the tail is a bundle of strands rather than the cord found more proximal to the head. In this location, it is more difficult to entrap the nerve as they float bathed in cerebrospinal fluid in the canal. Bone chips and other conditions may cause pressure on the nerve.. If that were true; you would see a reaction: swishing or thrashing clamping the tail etc. .
                  Tradition of "Grande" Sporthorse Champions
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Just Another Poster View Post
                    I don't know that much about saddlebreds, but aren't alot of their tails broken to get the high tailset? I know thats surgery, but still
                    No, they are never broken when their tails are set. Two muscles are nicked (the deperssor muscles on each side of the underside of the tail, less than 1/4" of an inch inscisions) and gradually over time the tail's soft tissue is stretched and retrained to get the tail set.