Vet holding horse tail alteration

NRHA Rule Proposal to Stop Horse Tail Alteration Vanishes

A rule proposal was written addressing the vile cruelty and treatment of horse tail alteration of reining horses, but it fails to make the rule book.

It is reported that this proposed rule change was filed timely for a 2020 rule book inclusion, but it has not been included in the 2020 rule book.

Following the NRHA Board of Directors Spring Meeting (2019) to review proposed rule changes, NRHA President Mike Hancock said “I think the overall direction of NRHA is exemplified by the relatively small number of rule changes that were submitted for 2020,” “This shows we’re moving in the right direction.”

We would disagree Mr. Hancock.

What is Horse Tail Alteration

Tail cutting, blocking or numbing, is ingrained in showing reining horses so they have ‘the look’ of a quiet tail. We would say this reported proposed rule change did not go far enough and any alteration of the tail, whether permanent or temporary, should be banned.

Notably, the document states the only reason to nerve a tail is to make a horse look better. Not quite right! It is well known and written about by NRHA members as a way of disguising heavy spurring and sour minded horses. It can also disguise soreness in horses for some ailments. The excessive tail movement has an indirect 5 point penalty – that can stop someone from winning money. The penalty of excessive spurring is often applied with the signs made by the tail. They can also get a minus 1/2 point on the score of each maneuver for the tail wringing. That is the real reason it is done, as reining horses are valued by their prize money earnings.

Some members and reining horse owners report that most tail blocks (injections for numbing) are done by trainers and barn staff. Some without the owner’s permission.


The side effects of tail blocking, nerving is well documented and even the veterinarians are in breach of their code to carry out such procedures. Horses can and do, suffer lifelong pain and injury and owners take the risk just to win money.

Read what Veterinarians say about tail nerving, blocking, and injecting. It’s not as safe as many attempts to make out. 

Sign the petition to stop this cruelty. Now Closed

© 2019 All Rights Reserved.


13 replies
  1. Jordan B
    Jordan B says:

    I can only imagine how quick this got tossed in the bin – how about removing the 5 point penalty and take away the reason these savages do this to horses

  2. Kristen M
    Kristen M says:

    Now a million reasons to not change the rules – this sports needs independent rulemaking and management. You can’t leave the drunks running a saloon.

  3. Crystal Holloway
    Crystal Holloway says:

    People who do this to horses are like pedophiles – constantly interfering and abusing innocent animals. I hate all animal cruelty and this is vile, disgusting, abhorrent, sickening to think that they cannot rise up and take a stance in their own rule book. Sack the board and directors.

  4. Kelly R
    Kelly R says:

    Any horse that wins a title or is submitted to random drug testing should have their tails checked as well. I know of someone who won a lot of money this year and got a lot of notoriety who definitely has tails done at their ranch. I know because I’ve been there when it was done and was asked to stay at the house. I’ve seen horses get an infection in the nerve and lose all the tissue down the backs of their legs and be in such pain and suffering that they were put down. It’s not acceptable in any discipline or association.

  5. Gary Marshall
    Gary Marshall says:

    Don’t worry – NRHA is spending megabucks on their promotion of the horse welfare first. That will solve the problem! Absolute Grubs it should have been the first rule added – and many years ago

    • Rochelle M
      Rochelle M says:

      It is all smoke and mirrors with them. Like the drug testing – they should drug test all horses – we pay enough money as competitors for drugs, videos ……… Talk big – walk small. The article says they can test tails and it should be compulsory too. Why don’t they – there would be a hardly horse that could pass either the drug or tail tests.

  6. Laurie Higgins
    Laurie Higgins says:

    The headline for this article that shows up in the link uses the nonsense word, “rampid”. The word you want is “rampant”.

  7. Jane Forsyth
    Jane Forsyth says:

    These are the characters on the NRHA website that make the big decisions. Wonder where their welfare compass is pointed.
    Mike Hancock – President
    Rick Clark – Vice President
    Shane Brown – Director-At-Large
    Tom McCutcheon – Director-At-Large
    Rosanne Sternberg Director-At-Large

  8. Michelle George
    Michelle George says:

    It amazes me what people will do to win a scrap of ribbon. What people will allow a trainer to do to win that ribbon. I have walls full of ribbons and trophies. I guarantee you, when time passes, it is nice to remember the “good times”, but, the importance fades. These people are right up there with the Tennessee Walking Horse people, the Western Pleasure people etc. You ought to go to the Dressage Finals. At the end of a test each horse is checked. There better not be a speck of anything out of line. They even check the length of the whip.

  9. Leslie White
    Leslie White says:

    Reining should have been excluded from the Olympics for so many reasons. But this is simply cruelty. PETA should be on this issue.


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  1. The Quiet Tail Look Is Nonetheless Occurring in 2020 - FAVOR JUNGLE says:

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