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Sad tale of a horse's tail

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  • Sad tale of a horse's tail

    OK, so what are your thoughts? Love to hear from both trainers and horse owners who have share boarders or share board their horses. I have a very small training operation. One owner is share boarding her mare with another owner who had to retire her mare. It has been working out fine until the share boarder decided to bang off the mare's tail. Yup, you got it, the horse she is share boarding. She does not own it. Now I am not a fan of the banged tail, but if the owner wants to do it fine. Problem is, she cut it just below the horse's hocks. This mare has a high set tail, so when she is ridden it is way above her hocks. She looks kind of silly now, poor thing. She is a cute QH dressage mare too. Now when I told this woman she shouldn't have done that she got defensive and pissy with me. Ever have this happen? What would you do? Don't you think, at the very least she should have asked the owner if she wanted her mare to look like a tiny Budweiser horse? (It is really short)
    This woman actually said to me, "deal with it"
    I guess I thought I was dealing with it by talking to her, but I don't think that was what she meant.
    Oh and yes, the owner is upset, but kind of needs the financial assist on the board. Its not cheap in our part of the state.

    Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare

  • #2
    I let a client (child) take a horse of mine to a show. I was laid up with a broken leg. They were long time clients. Their horse was lame but they had used my mare before. They have a good show and a few weeks later I'm back at the barn teaching. My mare looked a little funny and then as I'm standing with the mother and daughter as the horse is being tacked up I realize they chopped her forelock. Now this mare had a beautiful forelock; long down almost to her muzzle. They cut about 6 inches off.

    I stammered out the question and the mom said "yes, we cut it; it will grow back." I was dumstruck. What I wanted to say was 'let me take your daughter to the stylist and cut off 6 inches off her hair'.

    I didn't though because I needed the money they brought in as clients. I did tell them to never cut anything on my horses ever again.

    Your story sucks but if the owner doesn't want to address it there is nothing you can do. Maybe the other barn people will tell her how bad it looks and she won't ever do it again.


    • #3
      Originally posted by high hat View Post
      Your story sucks but if the owner doesn't want to address it there is nothing you can do. Maybe the other barn people will tell her how bad it looks and she won't ever do it again.
      Because I am passive aggressive and sneaky, if I were another boarder of yours I would absolutely volunteer to wait until Miss Scissorhands was grooming poor pony, casually stroll into the barn, dramatically gasp, and shriek "What happened to Dobbin's tail?!?!?!?!?"

      You hear stories like this all the time. It's remarkable what people think is acceptable treatment of animals they don't own. I even put a clause in my pony's free lease contract that stated something along the lines of "no major alterations shall be made to pony's appearance without prior discussion with owner"....just because I didn't want to come down to visit him one day and find his tail half gone!


      • #4
        feel for the owner of the horse...for shared boarder to say "deal with it" as an answer to me seems like she did it to cause trouble or has some issues with other person,and decided to do something very immature.
        cuz as horse people we all know a tail can take forever to grow back.
        personally even though horses owner has some financial setback,i would be letting this person go as far as shared expenses go.

        sorry but that would burst my bubble a bit if someone just out of the blue just cut my horses mane or tail without my permission,especially like OP explained very badly short.

        high hat- loved the comment"let me take you daughter to the stylist and cut 6-8 inches off their hair" lol


        • #5
          I don't get all bonkers about hair, so the fact that the tail got cut doesn't seem like the end of the world to me.

          On the other hand, the lessee's attitude about it would get them kicked to the curb if they were leasing my horse.

          I realize she didn't say "Deal with it" directly to the owner, but the total lack of respect she shows with that statement, and her total lack of concern about the owner's preferences, is completely unacceptable. And I would worry that if she is this cavalier over a cosmetic issue, she might also take liberties with care/vet/etc issues also. That could have lasting consequences.

          If it were me, she wouldn't be leasing my horse any more. Not because she cut the tail, but because of her reaction after the fact. I would find some other way to sort out the finances.


          • #6
            Wow, your share boarder is a wee bit on the defensive side, hmm? I'm guessing that some other folks had mentioned that "Equine Makeover Specialist" was not her calling. And clearly it's not.

            A couple of thoughts to keep this sort of thing from happening again...

            Offer "sample" share board agreements for your clients to use, and specify in them expectations for care and grooming responsibilities, and how those are to be carried out.

            Have some sort of "Breed Standard" or "Show Grooming" posters or books or reference materials around, so people don't decide to see what might be fun to try since they have no idea what they're doing. "I thought it was right" goes away when you have resources for them to use.

            I love the banged tail, which is the breed standard for my Hanoverian. I cut it up to his fetlocks, and not a nanometer further. Poor mare! If you really want to make the share boarder feel guilty, point out to no one in particular, in a sad, listless voice,"Oh, that's so sad! (Cute QH Mare) can't whisk off flies with her tail cut like that... poor thing..."

            That will defintely keep her from doig it again!
            Love chosen Two of Hearts intertwined
            Separate, couplet, rondeau,
            Always given with Oneness never lost Unconditionally


            • #7
              Yup - I would be pissed. However, It could be worse - it could be her forelock. Banged forelocks are a big pet peeve of mine, the girl who bought my last horse did it immediately upon arrival home, I could have killed her (It was an appy with fabulous hair, shame to ruin it)


              • #8
                Having had recent experience with the Scissorhands giving my horse a 4 inch bridle path less than 3 weeks before her breed evaluation, I understand the pain. However, banging a tail far too short isn't just a fashion statement, it creates issues for the horse's ability to swish flies, which is the purpose of the tail to begin with. I agree that hair grows back eventually, but a tail takes time.

                If I were the owner, I definitely would say something to my share boarder about grooming does not include cutting the mane or tail with scissors. Place some boundaries or else have more bad grooming decisions on the future. In my case, the Scissorhands are banned from grooming my horses. If they ever want to borrow one again, I'll groom the horse for them and that will be the only grooming provided.
                Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                • #9
                  I knew someone who was leasing out one of his horses. The lady leasing the horse had started playing with his other horses, braiding their manes, giving them bathes exc. All well and good until the horse with the braids in, rubbed them all out, yes ALL of his hair was gone and this horse had had a show stopping long mane! Needless to say he broke the lease with her after that.


                  • #10
                    I agree that the shared boarder should have asked the owners of the horse permission and probably waited till they were all out together and agreed upon just how much tail to bang.

                    I'm down to just one retired horse of my own so I offer free board for another retiree. They pay vet, farrier and any major medications. I do provide fly spray and ointment for scrapes etc. I always tell them BEFORE they agree to bring their horse that manes will be roached because of dealing with 'mudlocks' come spring and fall and any other time it's muddy. I also bang tails a bit shorter in the winter because they don't need it for flies but I also don't like to see ice balls on the ends.

                    One woman was concerned about the mane being roached and I simply said, "Then there is no point bringing him over, I'll find another horse." Funny how quick she changed her mind!

                    I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                    • #11
                      I know that the boarder who snarked at you is just sharing another boarder's horse but in no way should she have talked to you, the B0, that way. This would be a HUGE red flag for me because even though this is not hour horse (or hers either ) you are the person in charge and if this rude attitude arises from this situation, I can only imagine what will come up when you do have to talk to her about something more serious. I would write her a disciplinary note regarding her attitude, not the banging, and tell her that her deal with it attitude won't be tolerated.
                      You personally can't or shouldn't address the tail banging incident because the shared horse is not yours. I may have said something myself because that advice is hard to do. However I may have said, "wow. Look at that tail. Did horse's real owner say you could do that?" And of course, she would have said no. And I would have just shook my head and walked away. Then she would have been left feeling guilty and remorseful.
                      The attitude you can address now but the actual banging should be left to the owner. This share boarder is going to be trouble eventually. I know she pays 1.5x's board but in the long run that attitude us bit going to be worth the drama.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by onelove View Post
                        I know that the boarder who snarked at you is just sharing another boarder's horse but in no way should she have talked to you, the B0, that way. This would be a HUGE red flag for me
                        Thank you, onelove. As a former BO (as well as someone who has boarded and rented space in larger barns), I would be appalled. When a client once spoke to me and some other boarders with that level of disrespect, my response was quick and clear: "You are in, essentially my back yard. While you are in my back yard, you will speak to me and to your fellow clients with respect. If this is a problem, I will print out your 30-day notice now."
                        Equinox Equine Massage

                        In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                        -Albert Camus


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks everyone for you support. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has had to deal with this. It's kind of like the warnings on electrical appliances; don't use in bath tub. I just wouldn't think I would have to specifically tell someone to not take a scissors to a horse that is not theirs. Oh well live and learn.
                          I did feel it was my place to say something as I am the BO and the mare and her owner's trainer.
                          I'll let you know what happens. Hopefully she has had time to think it over and realize she crossed the line. I will keep you posted.

                          Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare


                          • #14
                            I would be careful, if she did this I would be afraid that she may do something worse. While if the tail is at the hocks it does not seem that bad to me, but I do hogg manes (including forelock) and like a banged tail on my guys. However someone doing this to my horses without permission would be very upsetting. I would understand more if they were a child or well meaning, but her reaction is scary. Please be careful, perhaps it is time to move. If her tail is too short take bailing twine and tie it in (10 to 20 pieces). It will make it so she can get flies off like a normal tail!


                            • #15
                              I agree with several of the above that said that attitude toward the BO is a red flag. I had a similar situation when one of the 'free board' owners, who was using my farrier decided she wanted her own to come when spring came and her horse was ouchy/lame. Mind you the horse had navicular and the worse part is her farrier is pretty much considered a joke in the area. So the next spring when the horse was again ouchy/lame, with her farrier doing the trimming, I made a comment that it was same as last spring. She immediately said "Oh no, he was foot sore last spring when your farrier did him!" I knew she was full of crap but let it go. Funny how about a month or so later she admitted he got sore EVERY spring. She did the same with the vets. She was willing to use my vet but complained because when we did a follow-up on a selenium test and the value wasn't any higher than it had been 3 months earlier and during that 3 months she had started to use an organic selenium supplement. She felt the vet screwed up and I told her that even if she had her vet take the blood sample, both practices sent the blood to Cornell as they didn't do that test in house. Funny how her vet practice is now rumored to be bankrupt.

                              She's no longer with me.

                              I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                              • #16
                                You should hear the reactions I get when I cut 3" off the bottom of my AndyX tail every fall... . It grows THAT fast it'll be back by summer, and cutting it keeps it out of the snow.

                                Personally I think those cute jumper brooms are very stylish, but I appreciate that isn't the look a dressage queen is going for.

                                It will grow back, get them to talk so everyone is happy for next time.
                                "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
                                Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
                                Need You Now Equine


                                • #17
                                  I do believe that as the BO and owner's trainer you had an absolute right to mention the "bad haircut" to the share boarder who did that. I also think her pissy attitude does not bode well for the future- she sounds unrepentant and could decide to take scissors in hand again.

                                  I once had a flat shod walking horse lose her tail - to another boarder's horse the week before a big show. Boy was I ticked off at that. We boarded our horse at our trainer's as whas his requirement. He got a new client in whose horse managed to eat our horse's tail off up to right above her hocks.

                                  During the night, the new horse managed to kick a board off between the stalls, and then somehow managed to get hold of my mare's tail and just chewed it right off. The next morning, when our trainer saw what had happened, he called to tell us. Long flowing manes and tails are VERY important if you are showing your TWH, and at that time the flat shod horses were not allowed to have any tail switches, etc. The may now since the shoes the now wear asr so much heavier than the ones in the "old days." With her new short tail- chewed straight off just like it had been "banged," our mare was not fit to show that weekend, or many weekends right in the middle of show season.

                                  Anyway, we asked really firmly that the horse that had chewed her tail be moved away from our mare. When that horse's owners saw us at the barn, they actually came over to tell us it was our mare's fault she lost her tail because she "let" their horse chew it off. They also told us they wanted their horse moved back to the original stall because they liked that side of the barn better.

                                  Our poor BO/ trainer was caught in the middle. We had one flat shod horse in training, and had been with him for two years. The "new" people had two built-up chained BL horses they wanted him to train. In the end, he chose them and decided to move our mare using the excuse that it would be easier for both their horses to be stalled together on the same side of the barn and so our horse had to move from the stall she was used to having.

                                  Imagine our pleasure when the tail eating horse kicked out a board again, and promptly ate off their other horse's tail once she was moved into our horse's old stall. They were busy complainging loudly to the BO about it, when my husband just couldn't resist walking up and telling them that it was their horse's own fault for letting their other horse eat her tail off.

                                  We started looking for another trainer, and moved to a new trainer after giving 30 day's notice. We found one who trained ONLY flat shod horses. This was at a time when it was very hard to find ANY trainer willing to train flat shod TWHs, much less train ONLY flat shod walkers. So all was well that ended well. Although it was a pain in the tail while our horse was re-growing hers.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post
                                    Because I am passive aggressive and sneaky, if I were another boarder of yours I would absolutely volunteer to wait until Miss Scissorhands was grooming poor pony, casually stroll into the barn, dramatically gasp, and shriek "What happened to Dobbin's tail?!?!?!?!?"

                                    You hear stories like this all the time. It's remarkable what people think is acceptable treatment of animals they don't own. I even put a clause in my pony's free lease contract that stated something along the lines of "no major alterations shall be made to pony's appearance without prior discussion with owner"....just because I didn't want to come down to visit him one day and find his tail half gone!
                                    We must be twins!~ I would do exactlythe same thing... its just sooooooooooooo much fun and Does get the point across appropriately!
                                    >>oh, and I have put in my leases exact words pertaining to> clipping, cutting, roaching, trimming, plus !!! what it costs if someone thinks Im not serious!
                                    Its not in someone elses backyard anymore....... your Pres brought it home.
                                    Racing>Business As Usual @PN