Two separate incidents at the Southern Illinois Equestrian Center in Marion have robbed six horses of their tails and possibly well-being.
The first incident happened Jan. 2 and the second incident happened Jan. 7. Jeff Jenkins, the center‘s owner, said shortening horses’ tails can negatively affect their health, especially in the summer season, when flies and other parasites bother them.
“This is so wrong,” Jenkins said. “We didn’t know what to do.”
Jenkins said he suspects people cut the tails to get an extra buck. People can sell the tails for as much as $80 each in places such as hair salons where horse hair is often used for high-end hair extensions, he said.
According to the website Horse Tails R Us, an online horse tail retailer, a tail can go for $125 to use as an extension for show horses.
“It has a horrible effect on the horses,” Jenkins said. “It takes a month for one inch to grow back so it’s going to take a couple of years for them to get their tails back.”
According to news station KOAA, horse tail thievery is nothing new. The trend started in Wyoming but has also been an issue in Colorado stables.
However, Jenkins said he was surprised to see the trend move to the Midwest.
“This problem has to be stopped,” Jenkins said.
Michelle Cornman, who keeps her horses at the center, said she hopes the person or persons responsible are caught quickly.
“I am really upset at whoever did this and (I) feel betrayed,” Cornman said. “I couldn’t imagine who would want to hurt them.”
Cornman said the police have found no leads, but she has tried to spread the word about the crime so the violators can be caught.
“They violated the trust of the community,” she said.
Cornman said a communal trust was breached when this happened since the horse stables are a local center.
“They are incredibly kind, loving animals,” she said. “The fact someone would take advantage of them is outrageous.”
Cornman said Jenkins has taken care of her horses, and they always
have enough room and hay. Gina Hill, Autumn Ridge
Acres owner, said while a similar experience has not happened to her establishment, she is concerned that people would commit such an act and hopes whoever cut the tails is found.
Hill said she thinks a similar issue has not happened in Carbondale partly because Autumn Ridge Acres has video surveillance and a manager on duty at all times.
“It is a good idea to have surveillance so we can prevent these types of things from happening,” she said.
Jenkins said he has placed a camera at his center to hopefully avoid any future incidents.