I know I am opening a huge can of worms here….but lets talk about horses using their tails. I am talking about tail swishing, tail wringing, etc.
Here are some questions for you…(my answer follows the question.)
Do horses ever use their tails because of the rider? Yes
Do horses ever use their tails because of discomfort? Yes
Do horse ever use their tails because of pleasure? Yes
Do horses ever use their tails because of excitement or exertion? Yes
How about these horses playing in the mud…and wringing their tails? Yes
Do horses ever use their tails to complain about the work they are being asked to do….not because the work is unreasonable, but just because they would rather not?
If we can allow for the idea that horses, like humans, have opinions on work…then lets look at humans for a minute. How many of us are ‘happy’ with our work.
“…nearly two-thirds of respondents, said they were not happy at work.” -ManpowerGroup
“Just 30 percent of employees are engaged and inspired at work…”, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report.
So, according to this survey two-thirds of us are ‘wringing our tails’ at work. Only with humans it is generally our tongues that we are ‘wringing.’ For more on horses as employees, click here.
Dressage horse freestyle, watch for when the horse does-or does not- use her tail.
All I’m suggesting is the idea that the tail swishing isn’t as simple as it seems on the surface.
This subject leads into another subject… people ‘doing’ or ‘fixing’ horses tails…meaning they inject or otherwise physically stop them from moving their tail by a medical procedure. Personally, when they use their tails, I am thankful that the rider/owner chose not to medically alter their horse.
In some disciplines, like Western Pleasure and Reining, the judges do mark down or penalize a horse if it uses its tail excessively…..which inadvertently encourages more medical procedures (I’m against this but I think open discussion about it is better than denial).