Tail Blocking’s Effects on Horse Communication

If a horse’s tail has been blocked or nerved, is he at a social disadvantage when turned out with others? An equine behaviorist weighs in.
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horse communication
While tail and ear positions are the elements of social signaling that humans tend to report and rely upon when working around horses, there are likely many other components of equine social communication. | Photo: iStock

Q.If a horse’s tail has been nerved, is he at a disadvantage socially when turned out with others, as far as body language being hampered?

—Sheryl, via e-mail

A.What a great question! I am not aware of any reports of scientific study of the effects of tail blocking or nerving on horse-to-horse communication

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Written by:

Sue M. McDonnell, PhD, is a certified applied animal behaviorist and the founding head of the equine behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the author of numerous books and articles about horse behavior and management.

One Response

  1. Mrs McDonnell, can you please explain why a horse has it’s tail blocked. Knowledge is, as you know, important. Your reply raised quite a few questions. Why? How? Because? And end result.
    And why is this an effective treatment? Long and short term effects.

    Thank you.

    Kind regards
    Cecilie Rodsjo

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