Horse tail rubbing can be the result of many different kinds of horse tail irritations. A horse can't scratch and itch, so when their tails itch they usually find a stall wall or tree to rub against. Unfortunately this rubbing breaks tail hairs off and can create unsightly bare patches on a horses tail. This article provides several different explanations why your horse may be rubbing their tail.
Fungus or a Skin Irritation can cause tail rubbing. Horses can develop a fungus on their tails, but even simple skin irritations like dry skin can be the root of a tail rubbing problem. Part the hair on the horse's tailbone and examine the skin. Is it bumpy? flaky? scabby? If the skin is dry and flake you may want to start adding oil or flax to your horses diet. If the horse tail's skin is bumpy or scabby you need to keep the tail clean and begin treatments with an anti-fungal treatment such as Muck Itch. Muck Itch sooths skin, relieves itching, and will treat minor fungal and bacterial infections.
Tail Rubbing Due to a Dirty Sheath or Teats - Some horses, more frequently geldings but sometimes mares, rub their tails because of dirt built up on their genitals. Geldings should be cleaned once or twice a year and can be done yourself or by a vet for a nominal fee. Tail rubbing due to a dirty sheath usually stops after the sheath has been cleaned.
An allergy called Sweet Itch can also be the culprit in tail rubbing. Sweet Itch is an allergy to gnat bites. Your vet can diagnose tail rubbing from sweet itch but if you've exhausted other alternatives an allergy is probably the cause. Unfortunately, once a horse develops Sweet Itch it's difficult or impossible to cure- as it only takes one tiny bite to restart the cycle of tail rubbing. The best way to treat tail rubbing from sweet itch is, if possible, to move the horse to a living situation away from damp or swampy areas. If a move isn't possible, insect control in your horse's living area is a must, and to keep tail rubbing to a minimum you may want to use a fly sheet with a flap that covers the top of the tail.
These three reasons are usually the cause for a horse to rub their tail. If you take proper care of your horses skin and tail, and minimize insects around your horses you should notice an improvement in your horse's tail rubbing. To help rubbed tail hair grow back faster use Muck Itch several times a week and make sure your horses is on a healthy diet, preferably with enough fats and biotin to produce healthy skin, hair, and tails.
You may want to apply a topical spray to the horses tail to keep it from itching. One well reviewed remedy and treatment for horses rubbing itchy tails is a product called Muck Itch. Muck Itch was designed for horses who have rubbed their tail on fences and posts due to fungal or skin irritations.