Horse Tail Ribbon Color Meanings

Have you ever been to a barn or a horse show and noticed a ribbon tied in any of the horses’ tails? You might have thought that this ribbon was a fancy decoration, but the reality is that horse rail ribbon colors have very specific (and important!) meanings. Read on to learn about the different tail ribbon colors and what they symbolize.

Why Do People Put Ribbons in their Horse’s Tail?

As I hinted at above, horse tail ribbons have a very specific purpose. They are there to advise others about particular behaviors or characteristics that the horse might exhibit. When you are at a horse show, think of how many people and horses might also be attending that show. A tail ribbon gives a visual cue to riders that that horse might have a vice or certain attribute that others should be aware of.

For example, if you are in a flat class with 15 other horses, wouldn’t it be helpful to know which horses have a bad habit of kicking other horses? A quick glance at the tail in front of you can signify any number of behaviors. Let’s explore the different colors and their meanings!

Colors Can Vary By Country

One quick note: the colors below are specifically for the United States. Other countries use similar colors, but you will find that there is some variation.

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Red ribbon in a horse’s tail

A red ribbon in a horse’s tail is a warning that this horse is a kicker. You will want to steer clear of this horse’s legs, in particular the back legs. The horse is known to kick without warning. If you find yourself in the ring with a red ribbon horse, STEER CLEAR. Do not get to close and give that horse wide berth so he doesn’t kick you or your horse.

Green ribbon in a horse’s tail

A green ribbon in a horse’s tail means that this horse is “green” or in other words, inexperienced. These horses are typically new to the show ring and could be more prone to misbehaving, spooking, etc. Give them some space in the ring as well and be alert in case they act up.

Yellow ribbon in a horse’s tail

A yellow ribbon in a horse’s tail means that the horse is a stallion. Known for being on the more aggressive side, you will want to steer clear. This is especially true if you have a mare (even more so if she is in heat). Several sources on the web point to blue ribbons also being used for stallions.

White ribbon in a horse’s tail

A white ribbon in a horse’s tail is to let others know that this horse is for sale. As your horse competes at the show, placing a white ribbon in her tail is an easy way to share that she is for sale. This gives potential buyers to see the horse in action in case they are interested.

Pink ribbon in a horse’s tail

The final tail ribbon color is pink. A pink ribbon in a horse’s tail warns of a moody mare. She might be in heat and might be extra crabby. Use caution around her in case she tries to bite or kick.

What kind of ribbons show I use?

The type of ribbons that you use is entirely up to you! A simple piece of ribbon or yarn is adequate, just make sure they are visible.

If you prefer, you can also buy tail ribbons that are made specifically for this purpose!

I hope this article helps you understand more about using tail ribbons on your horses! Let us know if you have used tail ribbons in the past or if you have any tips on which types work the best.


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