NRHA Rule Proposal to Stop Tail Alteration Vanishes

A rule proposal was written addressing the vile cruelty and treatment of reining horses but 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.

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. Tail movement has a 5 point penalty – that can stop someone winning money. 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 safe as many attempts to make out. 

Sign the petition to stop this cruelty.

4 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.


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