Culture Shock Part VII: Tails

Kyle Carter bangs a tail. Photo by Lauren Romanelli.

I thought my transition to “full-blown eventer” was complete when full-seat breeches and a flipped brim on a skull cap started to look normal. Soon after, I recognized myself as still somewhat of an outsider due to my penchant for hundreds of tiny little braids instead of big ol’ buttons. While I may have figured out how to braid a mane acceptably, I’m still utter garbage when it comes to tails. Hunter tail braids are on a completely other level that I’m sure I’ll figure out after another 20 years of sporadic and disappointing practice.

However, there comes a point where you go all in. I can feel myself tip toeing toward another thin line between recovering hunter/jumper princess and eventer, and I may be ready to step across it.  With one last event this season, I think I’m ready to pull and bang my mare’s tail. Well, not pull; I’ll probably clip it because I lack the patience to pull, and I still have occasional bouts of guilt when it comes to pulling a mane.

I’m not going to lie. I’m pretty apprehensive. My mother will probably disown me, as it’s critical in her book for any horse to have a nice full tail. Before I ended up with my mare, Jing, I was shopping around. My mom and I would send ads back and forth. When I found a gelding that might have been worth a peek, she started her list of reasons why I shouldn’t even bother looking at him the following: “His tail is wimpy. He would need at least two fakes to make it passable.”

I pointed out that from the video, his jump was a 10. Her retort: “Jump’s a ten, but tail is a ZERO. Keep looking.” I went and looked anyway; turned out he was a cribber on top of the pitiful tail, so I passed. Additionally, I do occasionally go to Morgan shows where big ol’ dragging-on-the-ground tails are the thing. Granted, you don’t see those sorts of tails in the few over fences classes, but you do see the same braided tails that I’m accustomed to from hunter/jumper land.

I know I can get away with a pulled tail in theory, but I’m always wary of style choices that make me stand out as an outsider. (With the exception of rust breeches. I will wear them whenever and wherever I can.) Still, I can see in my mind’s eye what should come off of Jing’s dock, and I think I’m ready to take the plunge. I figure that if I do it now as winter approaches, I’ll have a few months to either let my eyes adjust to it or to let it grow back out. Just don’t tell my mom, okay?

 Go Team DF. Go Pulled Tails. Go Eventing.

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