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Guide to Horse Tail Ribbon Colors

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Anyone who has been around horses for any length of time should soon learn that a red ribbon in a horse’s tail means the horse is a kicker. But what about other colors? How can you signal other things too riders based on the color of the ribbon in your horses tail?

In the horse world, various colors of ribbon can represent different things. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Red Ribbon

A red ribbon is a universal signal that the horse is a kicker. Caution should be used when riding with this horse and care should be taken not to approach it at all from behind and, distance should be kept when approaching or passing from the side.

A horse with a red ribbon in it’s tail should be given as wide a berth as possible.

Green Ribbon

A green ribbon in a horse’s tail signifies that the horse is young or green. Typically a horse wearing a green ribbon in it’s tail does not have much experience being out.

Out of courtesy to the rider, you should avoid passing too quickly or performing maneuvers that might upset or worry the novice horse.

Blue Ribbon 

Blue Ribbon for Stallions

A blue ribbon typically indicates that the horse is a stallion. How much impact this has depends on whether or not you are riding a mare.

If you are on a gelding, there shouldn’t be too much concern. If you are on a mare, however, you may want to keep a wider berth for both your safety and your mare’s safety.

Plenty of stallions can ride with mares and geldings and behave just fine but you also don’t want to unnecessarily tease or upset a stallion on the trail.

White Ribbon

A white ribbon in a horse’s tail typically indicates that it is for sale. If you like what you see strike up a conversation with the rider and maybe you’ll find yourself as this horse’s next owner. 

If you are the one selling the horse, consider using glitter or horse safe paint on your horses hindquarters to paint the price on your horses rear so that people don’t have to worry about whether the horse is in their price range. 

Another great idea is to have a set of business cards made with your horses sale price and your contact info. This is a quick and easy way to keep something in your pocket without taking up too much room.

Pink Ribbon

Pink ribbons can be used to signify a mare that is in heat. It can also be used for mares that are just moody in general but, depending on how your particular mare makes her displeasure known, a red ribbon may be better. 

Letting others know that your horse is a mare in heat will help them be more aware especially if they are riding a stallion or a particularly friendly gelding.

While riders shouldn’t be riding especially close, the pink ribbon reminds them to keep a bit of a distance.

When to Add A Ribbon to Your Horse’s Tail

Tail ribbons can be used any time you like however, their purpose is to alert other riders. As such, they are great for use at shows and on trail rides where you may encounter other riders who do not know you or your horse.

How to Add A Red Ribbon to A Horse’s Tail

Adding a ribbon to your horse’s tail is a relatively easy process. The big thing you want to remember is that you do not want to wrap a ribbon around the entire tail bone.

The ribbon should only be attached to the tail hairs and should not constrict the tail bone or muscle in any way.

  1. Braid a section of hair towards the top of your horses tail. Depending on the length of tail hairs you may be able to do a French braid. 
  2. Using a piece of ribbon at least 12 – 18 inches in length weave the ribbon through the braid and secure with a pretty bow.

Alternatively, you could make or purchase a red ribbon barrette and clip it into the braid. In either case you do want to have a braid to keep the ribbon in place.

I personally prefer to braid a ribbon in as barrettes can come undone or slip.

Related Questions

White vs. Blue Ribbons for Stallions? In the UK, most stallions show with a white disc in their bridle.  I have found conflicting information as to whether blue or white is used as a tail ribbon color for stallions in the UK. Most people seem to think it is white but, unless specific to your particular region, blue is a safe bet for a stallion’s tail.

Green Ribbons for Stallions? In Australia, green is actually the color used for stallions. As of 2018, all stallions competing in Equestrian Australia (EA) events use wear green bridle number holders or green saddle cloth discs. They are required to have this on each side but NOT on the tail or breastplate. 

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April Lee

I've owned horses for 25 years and have a particular love for gentling wild horses. I write these articles to help others learn more about horses. If you enjoyed the article please take a moment to pin it to Pinterest or share on social media. It really does help! Check out my about page for more detailed information.