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Wry Tail/Tail goes to one side?

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    Wry Tail/Tail goes to one side?

    One of my horses holds her tail very far left. Mostly when she lands from a jump on the left but gets worse when she's agitated/fresh. Her left is usually her better side otherwise and she has a perfect change. The right can be sticky and she's stiffer that way as well so I'm not sure what that means.

    In the last video she's almost 6 and it doesn't seem as bad. Other videos she's 9. No injuries or anything and she's always been sound. Any idea if this seems like just her way of going or if it could hint at an underlying issue?

    Sorry for the choppy clips. They're where she's most active with her tail without showing the scoreboard with names for privacy purposes.

    Last edited by SwitchingDisciplines; May. 3, 2020, 07:03 AM.

    Is it like that when she's relaxed? There's a genetic thing called Wry Tail where the tail is crooked.


      I would ask your vet. I’ve always heard it usually is caused by discomfort.


        I wouldn't say the tail being held to one side is an automatic sign of issues, but it is certainly something to look at as part of the bigger picture. The muscles that lift the tail and bring it to the side are an extension of the deep muscle group that lays on the rest of the spine.

        In your case, because you say the right lead is the sticky one I would be looking at issues which might be restricting her from bending right. Or, put another way, something that is stopping the left side from relaxing enough to allow right bend.


          It is frequently an indication of lameness. Time for a veterinarian to be called.
          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


            On the other hand, my 23 year old gelding, who competed from age 3 to 21 in hunters and jumpers,holds his tail to the left and was sound as a button all that time. It was something I noticed on his sales video 13 years ago and that was noted on his PPE, and all his vets along his career noticed it, but there was never any reason to pursue a lameness that could possibly be related to it-- he had a hind foot abscess twice, his only lame issue I dealt with. Certainly get a vet out for an examination, but there's always the possibility it is your horse's version of normal.
            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


              Original Poster

              Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
              Is it like that when she's relaxed? There's a genetic thing called Wry Tail where the tail is crooked.
              No, she holds it straight when relaxed or on the right lead. She's a warmblood and I think wry tail was mostly found in hot breeds and present at a younger age?

              The thing is she's not lame and sees a chiro/massage routinely and they mentioned some tightness maybe scar tissue on the right hind but never anything on the left. She's done this with her tail for years at least but it seemed less obvious in 2016.
              Many vets have seen her and never said anything about it, she vetted perfectly a couple years ago and has always been sound. I've had coaches comment on it multiple times though and am just curious. Based on my terrible research it seems if she's holding it left the problem and tension should be on the same side. But she's great on the left.

              I'll ask my vet about it next time for sure but not really a priority right now since she's perfectly sound.

              Is this a common thing that other people have seen in their own horses?
              Last edited by SwitchingDisciplines; May. 3, 2020, 07:14 PM.


                I have an Arabian mare who tends to hold her tail to the left at times. She is sound but I plan to have a chiropractor check her out. The massage therapist has never found anything unusual with muscle tightness in her back. I also suspect saddle fit issues since she is very wide and it has been hard finding a saddle that is wide enough.


                  The tail whipping upon landing makes me think back issues. I would get a vet to look. Could be something as simple as saddle fit, could be something worse.


                    To me, it looks either like a habit, or a horse who at one point had it's tail "killed" or deadened. Once the nerves start growing back, it can manifest like this, with one side more "alive" than the other.


                      Original Poster

                      Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post
                      To me, it looks either like a habit, or a horse who at one point had it's tail "killed" or deadened. Once the nerves start growing back, it can manifest like this, with one side more "alive" than the other.
                      Can't imagine why they'd do that to a jumper, we only just started trying the hunters :? She was imported not sure what happened before that.