Not to long ago I uploaded a video to Youtube of photographs I took of a group of guys plowing a field in the spring. It has had 114,000 views and many comments. But one comment really got me thinking. Someone asked "Why do they cut off their tails?"
Well there is a reason why they amputate (better known as docking) their tails and it was because back in the early farming days the rein would sometimes get caught under the horse's tail and they would then tuck the tail close to their body and it is very hard to get the reins out. Also under a horses tail it is very sensitive, so to avoid nerve damage it is best to keep the rein away from this area. If the farmer was using other types of equipment the long tail could also get caught or tangled in the equipment. I suppose back in the early days when farming with horses was all they had, they decided that maybe if they had their tails docked it would illuminate these problems.
Apparently it must have worked because over the years everyone docked the Belgian draft horse's tail along with many other breeds like carriage horse. It then became the norm. People grew use to seeing them that way. Another example would be how many crop the ears of a Doberman Pincher or dock the tails of the Boxer. At first it seems strange, but over time you get use to seeing the cropped ears or docked tails on these breeds of dogs.
Recently Belgium has passed a law that no horses can have their tails docked anymore. So the horses that are younger than 4 years old will all have long tails. They have made the same rule for the cropping of dogs ears or docking tails.
I have my opinion on the subject but will keep it to myself.....well maybe not. I agree with this ruling now. We do not use horses for work and mostly for hobby so why should we take away what is natural to them. The tail is used primarily for insect control but is also a communication tool for the horse when around other horses along with being an extension of their spine. So since it was mostly used for the safety of the farmer and we do not use horses for farming anymore it is only natural to let them have their tails, at least this is how I see it.
I notice some have no problem with plowing with a horse with a long tail, and others have cut them shorter or braided them up. I did not see the man in this photo have any problems with his horse's tail.
Yet still others are finding a way around the law and are cutting the tails off because the horse can bring more money without their tails is some countries. The older guys are used to working horses with docked tails and so they want to continue in tradition, but the future of doing away with docking and cropping to animals is becoming law in many places.
We all have our opinions and reasons, and I would love to hear from you if you agree or not with the stopping of docking the tails of horses.
As long as they don't make a law that photographers can not "crop" their photos I guess I will be alright.