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Will a Horses’ Tail Grow Back? 5 Simple Tips

Last updated: August 2, 2023

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

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My neighbor and I were at the fence. His horse ran up to us. We petted it and noticed that its tail was missing. It was either pulled out by an animal or yanked off after getting caught in something. If the horse’s tail will grow back, I don’t know yet.

In general, a horse’s tail will grow back but not always. Its ability to regrow depends on a variety of factors, including the reason for its loss and whether or not it was docked in addition to other causes.

Most people don’t think about their horse losing its tail until it happens, and when a horse loses its tail, it can take a long time before the hair regrows – if ever at all.

Picture of horses' tails.

What happens if you cut a horse’s tail off?

I am sure you have heard someone say that a horses’ tail will grow back. But is this actually true? Well, it’s not as simple of an answer as you might think. The truth about horses’ tails is that they can grow tail hair back if it’s cut off, but if the bone in the horse’s tail is cut off or injured, this will not grow back because bones cannot regenerate themselves.

Tail hair, even though it grows back, takes a long time and may never look like the original tail again! The hair will often grow back in patches that are not the same length or color.

Reasons horses lose their tail hair.

In general, horses have long, thick tails. They may thin some during certain times of the year, but generally, they should remain looking vibrant and healthy. If you notice that your horse is losing more hair than usual, there may be an underlying health issue present.
Possible causes for excessive shedding include:

  • Excessive itching
  • Poor nutrition
  • Infections or bacterial skin diseases (such as rain rot) – Parasites (such as mites)
  • Stress from changes in management practices or environment.
  • Fighting or being bullied by other horses or animals.

Itching tails and rumps

Horses get itchy in some parts of their body, just like people, and when horses get an itchy butt, they can’t use their hoofs to scratch. So they might try to scratch their butt by rubbing themselves on objects. And that leads them to lose hair because it often gets stuck to things like fence posts!

Poor nutrition leads to hair loss.

There are so many factors that can cause horses to have problem hair. Some are naturally brittle and weak, while others don’t get enough vitamins and minerals in their food.

Ensure your horse is on a healthy diet with the essential nutrients it needs to grow its tail. If you are not sure about what your horse should be eating, consult an expert or veterinarian for help!

Skin infections can cause hair loss.

Some skin infections can affect your horse’s hair and lead to patchy baldness. The primary skin irritations that cause hair loss in horses are rain rot, mange, ringworm, and other fungal and pest infestations, all of which seem to affect the tail area more than other parts of a horse’s body.

If you notice this happening on your horse, get them checked out by a vet immediately!

Disease and illness can cause your horse to lose tail hair.

A horse’s mane and tail can be a window to the body. Hair loss is common in horses with skin cancer, as well as auto-immune diseases like equine herpesvirus and West Nile Virus. Horses also lose their hair from stress or fever associated with many illnesses – not just infectious diseases!

How do I get my horse’s tail to grow back?

Many of us have a horse that is missing some hair on its tail. It can be upsetting to see your favorite horse with no tail, but there are ways to get it back. Horse owners often invest a lot of time and effort into keeping their horse’s tail healthy, but it can be tough to know where to start.

Here are some quick tips for grooming your long-tailed friend, as the professionals do!

1. Feed your horse correctly.

A healthy coat and tail begin with a proper diet that includes the right amounts of protein, amino acids, and vitamins from quality forage or feed. If your horse needs an extra boost, you can supplement their diet with flax seed or a commercial supplement like Nu Image.

Picture of a woman grooming a horses' tail.

2. Groom your horse’s tail.

In order to maintain your equine’s tail, brush the dock of its tail and remove debris daily but don’t go for a complete brushing each day. Over-brushing will damage their hair and make it thin out.

3. Wash and treat your horses tail

When horses have a dry or scaly tail dock, try spraying it with a solution that will soften up those scales so that you can then peel off any loose portions. Give them a good wash using shampoo and rinse thoroughly afterward and condition the hair. I recommend leaving in the conditioner.

4. Trim your horses’ tail

Trimming the ends of a horse’s tail hairs is one way to keep it looking good. Just like a human haircut, tails need regular maintenance so as long as they get trimmed every few months then it won’t look too shaggy or unkempt.

You should also make sure to cut the mats off with scissors – this way, and you don’t accidentally cut off more than you intended!

How long does it take for a horse’s tail to grow out?

Different things change how a horse’s hair grows. For example, what the horse eats and the season. The type of breed will also affect it. Horses with naturally short and sparse tails may take a long time to grow their tail hair back, but you can do something about it if you want to.

If you want to see your horse’s tail grow, feed them well and keep them in a suitable environment. One study has shown that domestic horses tail grows about a 1/4 inch in 13 days in very harsh living conditions!

The basics of a horse’s tail.

The horse’s tail is an important part of the animal’s body. You may have seen a horse’s tail swishing in the wind and wondered what it is for. The tail moves with an intricate pattern of muscles that control its movement.

A horse can use its tail to express emotions such as anger, excitement, or submission. It can also serve as a form of protection from flies and other insects during hot weather by waving away the pests while cooling off the horse at the same time.

Some horses are born with long flowing tails, while others have short stubby ones. Some breeds also have different types of hair than others which makes their tails more unique.

Horses have a tail bone made up of 18 vertebrae-fewer or more depending on each horse’s individual anatomy; these bones make it possible for horses to wag and swing their tails side-to-side when they walk or brush away flies.

The horse’s hair does not grow straight off their rear end and instead grows out from this center structure, which can be up to about one foot long. The hair on the tail is different from its coat and is thicker and the hair that comprises its coat.

It is made of a hard protein called keratin and has three layers; the inside part medulla, the middle cortex, which is made up of long twisted protein strands; and then there is a thin outside layer cuticle, which has overlapping horny scales on it.

horse running with its tail up.

The practical purposes of a horse’s tail.

The horse’s tail may be used to keep flies away or as an indicator of their mood. Additionally, the tail can help the horse communicate with other horses by using subtle movements and gestures.

Horses use their tails to communicate

Horses can talk to each other through their body. They use their tail to tell other horses what kind of mood they are in and if they are comfortable. The movements of a horse’s tail is also how riders know the horse’s attitude and how happy it is.

When they are sad, it hangs down, and when they are happy, their tails go up. The horse is a herd animal. It needs other horses to make it survive. The horse developed a system of tail signals that they use to talk about important things with their group.

A herd needs to have babies to grow and survive, and some tail movements are used just for communicating about reproduction. When a female horse wants to mate with a male horse, they lift their tail up and move it from side to side–sort of like saying “come here” when they are ready.

If a mare is already pregnant and a stallion comes near her, she will swing her tail side to side, which means “go away.”

Horses use their tails to battle pests.

Horseflies are more than just a bother; they can carry harmful diseases and some that might even be deadly. They’re also known to cause skin irritation and spread bacteria from one area of the environment to another.

To battle, these pests’ horses use their tails as weapons. If a fly or mosquito bothers one horse too much, another nearby will likely help out. They use a flick of their tail to swat at flies, mosquitoes, and other pesky biting insects that could cause them harm.

The position of a horses tail is an indicator of its mood.

A horse’s tail position can provide insight into its mood and state of mind. Horses have a lot of different moods and feelings, but the position of their tail can tell you a lot about their current emotional state.

The tail of a horse can tell you what he feels. If it is swishing back and forth, it means that the horse has a problem. The cause might be physical or psychological.

If a horse tightens its tail down, they are about to buck or kick, so be wary. When a horse’s tail is held high, it means the animal feels dominant and powerful. When a horse’s tail hangs low, it often means that the animal feels insecure or scared.


Do horses’ tails stop growing?

Horse’s tail hair generally doesn’t stop growing; it grows in cycles just like ours. And, as horses get older, they lose more hair than they grow. So you might notice that an older horse will have a thinner tail than a younger horse.

Should I trim my horses’ tail?

Most horses need their tail to be trimmed, which is called being banged. You cut it straight across at the bottom, so it falls above the fetlock joint. Tails that are too long might get in the way of your horse’s hoofs when it’s running or walking around.


In short, horses can grow their tail back. The growth of a horse’s tail is dependent on genetics, age, environment, and nutrition. If the hair loss is caused by injury to the tailbone then the type and severity of the injury, as well as other factors, influence hair regrowth chances.