How to Keep Your Horse Calm While Grooming Its Tail

Brushing and maintaining your horse's tail is an important part of horse care. Unfortunately, not all horses are too thrilled to have a person standing behind them, doing who-knows-what. Well, you can't just neglect your horse's tail because you don't want to get your teeth kicked out. Instead, you should do your best to keep the horse calm and get it used to having its tail handled.


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    Form a bond with your horse. Earn his trust. You will both be better off if you get along. And your horse will be a lot more accepting of you messing around behind him if he knows you will never hurt him. But, that isn't always enough for some horses. So, keep reading.
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    Pat your horse's head, then slowly move down his neck and sides. Watch his ears the whole time -- if they flatten, step away in case he kicks.
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    Talk softly to your horse as you get closer to his rear. That way, he will know where you are and he will also know (by your tone of voice) that you mean no harm.
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    Stand to the horse's side and touch his dock (the base of his tail) with one hand. Step away if he kicks. Once he seems comfortable with your presence, gently pick up his tail and begin grooming. Again, watch out for flying hooves!
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    When you are finished grooming, give your horse a gentle pat on his rump and tell him how good he was. Then, if you wish, feed him a treat. Then, continue with the grooming.


  • Make sure to use a calm tone of voice. The horse won't be nervous unless you make it sound like he should be.
  • Always stand to the side of the horse when grooming his tail. If he kicks, he will (hopefully) miss.
  • If, for some reason, you have to go around the horse's behind, keep one hand on his rump, and walk close to him, so close that your side almost touches him. That way, a kick will only hit your ankle, and not your head.
  • Watch the horse's body language. If he puts his ears back, swishes his tail, or stamps his foot, you may want to be careful!
  • Horses that have problems with having their tails brushed may also have problems with other parts of grooming. You may want to get him trained out of the behavior, or, if you are experienced, you can train him yourself.
  • Take all necessary safety precautions when you are around these dangerous animals!
  • Although this is a bit drastic, you can consider hobbling your horse. But ask an experienced rider about this option first.
  • Before trying this for the first time, make sure your horse is tied up in a place where he is less likely to be spooked or bothered by other horses, vehicles or anything that may distract or spook the horse.


  • Under no circumstances should you try this with a stallion unless you are very experienced.
  • If the horse is truly crazy, get an experienced rider/professional to groom your horse's tail (or at least control him while you do it). No sense in putting your life in danger just to get some tangles out.
  • If you talk in a scared, hurried, harmful, or nervous voice it may scare your horse, and it may kick or bolt.
  • It is best not to try this with a horse you just bought. As mentioned before, it is best to get to know the horse first.

Things You'll Need

  • A helmet (just in case the horses kicks)
  • Depending on what part of the horse you are grooming you will need different brushes, such as, if you are brushing the facial area or the legs then you will want to use a soft brush, if you are brushing the body or the neck then you will probably want to use a hard brush or if if you are grooming the mane or the tail then you can also use the hard brush (a comb is optional)

Article Info

Categories: Horse Grooming