Cowgirl - Tail
Cowgirl - TailPC: Kate Sumbler

There’s nothing more unattractive than a horse that has rubbed his tail practically off! Not to mention the discomfort he is probably feeling. The best way to end this awful condition is getting to the root of the problem. Once you find out why he is rubbing, work to eliminate the cause and set him on the path to healing.

Causes of Tail Rubbing

  • Pinworms: Particularly common in young horses, but all horses are susceptible, the female lays eggs around the horse’s anus. The eggs cause an intense itch. Seek out your veterinarian for assistance in finding out if your horse is infested. Deworming products intended for pinworms are your best bet. Make sure the entire barn is on a deworming schedule.
  • Dry Skin: Dry, sweaty, or dirty skin around the dock or underneath the tail can be the culprit of rubbing. Certain shampoos can even dry out the skin. Use a soothing ointment to promote healing and routinely check for dandruff.
  • Bugs: Certain insects, such as gnat or midges, are known for causing a lot of irritation to the dock area. The bites can cause an allergic reaction known as Sweet Itch. You can keep your horse stabled during dawn and dusk when the bugs are most active. A sheet can also help.
  • Sunburn: Light-colored horses are at risk for getting  sunburn on their upper tail area. This can cause flaking and increased irritation. Apply a sunblock to help!
  • Habit: Constant stall confinement, lack of companionship, and boredom can cause your horse to develop a vice such as tail rubbing. Try to get him outside more often to avoid this.

The good news is that tail rubbing can more than likely be eliminated with easy fixes. If you’re unable to get to the root of the problem, speak with your veterinarian so that they can offer assistance. Obsessive rubbing can become a habit, so it’s important to try and solve the issue right away.