I just read an article on theHorse.com ( http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=12310 ) about a horse who nearly died and was horrifically scarred after an infection ravaged his body. This would be sad in any case, but in this case, it is infuriating, as the cause of this infection was totally preventable, not to mention stupid and just flat out WRONG. The infection was a result of a tail-blocking injection -- a procedure done for the sole purpose of making a horse unable to move its tail so that it looks "quiet and obedient" in the show ring. AAARRRGH!!!
First off, a horse NEEDS to be able to move its tail to protect itself from flies. Secondly, if the horse is wringing or swishing its tail when you ride it -- maybe you need to look at what you are doing that is causing the horse to wring or swish its tail! The horse could be telling you that the saddle hurts, its back hurts, or that you just suck as a horse trainer! But no -- people want a quick fix, no matter if it is cheating (which tail blocking is), or if it harms the horse (e.g. tail blocking, soring gaited horses, etc.).
The owners in this case claim ignorance -- she didn't know this could happen, and she didn't know it was illegal in terms of show rules. I'm sorry -- not good enough. It should be obvious to ANYONE that tail blocking is at best unnatural, clearly a "cheat" in trying to make a horse appear to be something it isn't by artificial means, and potentially harmful. Injecting a caustic substance into an animal to "temporarily" paralyze the nerves? The "Gee, we were just doing what our trainer told us to do" excuse simply doesn't cut it.
I'm glad that the kid whose horse this was has lost interest in horses. These people do not deserve to own a horse.