Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow…

I’d heard of horses manes and tails being stolen for rocking horse manufacture, and felt a little sceptical until I learned about the booming market for hair extensions for horses themselves. In the US in particular there’s a growing trend* for some show horses to have tails of My Little Pony proportions that drag behind them on the ground. It’s always looked hideous to me – horses need to be able to swish their tails, not have them bagged up for cleanliness. A horse should be a horse, not a WAG.

This Texas news report on stolen horse hair is slightly hilarious, but it’s no fun for the horses that had their tails chopped. As for the comment of one owner, that “There is a big market for horse hair abroad,” well, lady, we have horses “abroad” too! Lots of them! Shadowy foreign types that we are, we don’t really need to go all the way to Texas to find a horse’s tail.

* trend or revival?

Published by Susanna Forrest

Writer Amazons of Paris, The Age of the Horse and If Wishes Were Horses.

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  1. I find this article to be completely offensive for show horse owners and trainers. I don’t find the Texas News Report linked on here to be hilarious in any way shape or form. Training and maintaining show horses is very time consuming and requires a great deal of work and skill. Having a show horse’s tail cut off is heart wrenching as they take years to grow. Having them braided and in bags does not make them “WAGs” as you refer either. It’s simply a humane form of tail maintenance. Show horses that have their tails kept up are kept in well managed facilities where they are given fly spray and other repellents to detract the insects. I feel as well as hundreds upon hundreds of other show horse owners feel that their is nothing more beautiful than seeing a well trained horse enter the show ring moving brilliantly with a long flowing mane and tail.

  2. Hi Matt. It’s the blaming of “shadowy foreign types” that I find hilarious, especially given that the main market for horse tail extensions appears to be the USA. Of course it’s terrible if your horse is mutilated, but if a show scene creates and encourages a market for artficial “falls” and tail extensions, it will also create and encourage the theft of horse hair.
    As far as I’m aware, tail extensions aren’t legal in UK showing: the horse has to be a natural beauty. And I do hate tails that drag on the ground. They’re no more natural than the falls and extensions. If you could ask a horse if it wanted to live 95% of its life with its tail in a bag, I’m pretty sure it would say no.

    1. Actually If you were more informed you would find that multiple horse breed organizations in the United States prohibit the use of false tails and extensions. Including the Arabians which I participate in competitions with. Therefore since it is illegal under the breeds governing bodies to show with artificial enhancements, one must maintain their tail in a fashion that prohibits them from stepping on it and ripping hairs out. Obviously,from the comments you have made you have never been around show horses and can’t appreciate the beauty and finesse that they have to offer. My horse has nevery shown any dismay for having his tail wrapped up as he lives a far more quality life than some horses that are turned out in a field and left “natural” as you would consider.

  3. Sorry Matt. I’m a huge Arab fan, but I prefer them as I see them in the UK show ring – no shaved mane, their whiskers untrimmed, no black smears round their eyes and muzzle and not all stretched out like a whippet. And the happiest horses I’ve met lived out with other horses.

    1. To the contrary……this is an ideal of mine….quite a big difference….Oh my and he has a long tail!

  4. I agree with you Susanna!

    The way Americans show their Arabs is ugly. I prefer the UK look. I recommend you check out this gentleman; he is advocating for breeding standards to be changed within the Arabian showing community. He really knows his horses. He too, wants a more natural look, too many ‘show Arabs’ these days are just pretty hollow moulds, that are no good for anything other than putting a show bridle on and looking pretty in the show ring.

    Anyone that thinks a ridiculously long mane and tail on a horse is beautiful is a bit of a muppet. It looks stupid. Also the Texas news article is hilarious, as it was only hair that was cut, not sure if Matt is aware, but hair grows back. If the horse has been hurt obviously Susanne’s post would have had a different tone. It’s bloody hair mate, take a chill pill…sheesh.

    I can almost hear the high pitched screams all the way from the US…eeek how DARE she, it’s NOT only hair, blah blah…CLEARLY you are misinformed…blah blah blah…you know NOTHING about horses…blah blah blah.

    Have a nice day Matt ;o)

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