Tools for tail docking

While it is now forbidden to dock the tail of an animal for non-medical purposes, until recently horses had to frequently endure this ablation in order to make human use more convenient. Dangers included the tail of hauling horses being caught in the heavy cables pulling vessels or the tails of shaft horses getting tangled in the breeching. In general, all light draft horses were amputated so that the animal would not hinder the driver's action by blocking the leads with their tail. Even horses used for luxury teams and riding were not exempt from this amputation: their tail was cut off and the depressor muscles of the stumps were severed, so they carried the tail higher, as was valued at the time.

Until recently horses had to frequently endure the ablation of the tail in order to make human use more convenient.

In the 18th century, the tail was placed in a rigid support and brutally sliced by a blade. However, the most common instrument used was the tail docker, a sort of large pliers with a rounded blade at the end locking into a frame forming a slot. The stump was then cauterised using through a hot docking iron, a ring-shaped cautery outfitted with a central cavity for sparing the vertebra made visible. Once the animal recovered, the hairs were cut in different ways in a quest for a certain aesthetic quality. These cuts include we distinguish the brush, the fan, the whistle, the crew and the ponytail.

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