How to Bang a Horse Tail

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What sets apart the pros from the amateurs? Often it’s the little details. Learning how to properly trim and bang a horse’s tail can give you that polished edge you desire in the show-ring. Banged tails are a popular “hairstyle” in dressage and eventing, and are becoming more common in many western events. The length can vary from the fetlock joint to the bottom of the hock, depending on the natural length you have to start with. In western classes, it is common to see longer squared-off tails, a couple of inches above the ground. A trimmed dock is seen almost exclusively in eventing and dressage. Here are some step-by-step tips to show you how to trim and bang a tail yourself: 

Bang a Horse Tail Step 1
1. To bang the tail, have an assistant hold the tail up to where the horse would carry it in motion.

Bang a Horse Tail Step 2
2. Hold the hair together and run the clippers across the bottom to square the end off.

Bang a Horse Tail Step 3
3.  To shorten the dock hair, blend carefully, clipping in the direction of hair growth. It helps to steady the clippers against the horse’s hindquarters.

Bang a Horse Tail Step 4
4.  You may also choose to edge the long hairs on top a bit. Keep blending for a smooth transition.

Bang a Horse Tail Step 5
5.  The hair has been shortened in a small crescent along the side of the dock, down to the natural breakover point where the horse carries his tail.

Bang a Horse Tail Step 6
6.  The finished tail: banged and trimmed.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. The info. was useful. I only wish my Appy had enough tail to try them out on!!! LOL!
    I’d like to see info. about roaching his pathetic & uneven mane, please.

  2. also if you don’t have a buddy handy to hold the tail in working position, you can use one of those smb tendon boots under the tail. I do that with mine and he seems to hold it there while I bang the tail with clippers.

  3. Where did the word “bang” come from? I had always heard “trim”. When I got the email annoucing the article I thought someone typed in the word bang when they meant “bag a tail”. I have never heard the word bang used before to trim a tail. I have been showing horses for over 20 years. Maybe it is a regional term?

  4. i think its ugly people bang tail there tails.it should be left normal.they ought to put it up in a tail bag or bandage that dose not pull on there tail.

  5. I don’t care what show Im going too, I would never bang my horses tail. I won’t do something for the show if I can’t stand to look at it for long term. You can’t beat the look of a natural tail- uneaven, wavy and perfect.

  6. Trimming and banging horses tails are not just for looks – they have a purpose! The tails are trimmed around the dock to show off the horse’s hind quarters and tails are banged or “trimmed” to keep them from stepping on them while performing high collection movements such as piaffe and canter pirouettes. This REALLY is what separates the amateurs from the professionals!

  7. banging a horses tail makes it look neater and fuller….I don;t have a fancy trail horse but when you leave the ends natural it looks ratty, just like if we never got hair cuts

  8. I’ll have to try this, but I don’t have clippers. Do you need them? I don’t own a fancy horse either, but that sounds good.

  9. the term bang comes from the old fasioned method of useing a wooden block and knife/ ax like thing whare the tail was held against the blade then the block was “banged” aginst the tail giving a strait edge …nowa days we have clipers XD

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