CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Horses have been losing their tails to thieves in a bizarre crime in Castle Rock.
“During the mating seasons they move the tail in certain ways, they do swing the tails when they are nervous about something,” said Umberto Orazi, who owns the Willow Creek Ranch with his wife.
It’s also used for maintaining life outdoors.
“They use it specifically to remove bugs from their bodies,” Orazi said.
Orazi’s horses will now have to do without.
“They are just totally limited now,” he said.
It was around Christmas, Orazi said, when he noticed Dice, his spotted Tennessee Walker show horse, missing a huge chuck of its tail.
“She’s been hacked, only a few strands left,” he said.
When he checked on his other three horses, he realized a knife or scissors was taken to each one.
“I was absolutely speechless, sickened, astonished,” he said. “The best to approach is this one and the only one who was cut. The other two are kind or skittish and more aggressive, I guess that's why they couldn’t get them."
Hazelnut, the friendliest of the bunch, got it the worst. Nearly all of her ground-length was removed.
“The tail will take probably seven to 10 years to regrow,” said Orazi.
It’s likely the thieves' main target was Midnight, a white Arabian who doesn't trust people.
“They use horse hair for many different crafts and things and they are pretty expensive,” Orazi said.
A pound of horse hair can fetch hundreds of dollars. Six feet of white horse hair can sell for thousands. For the Orazis, its value isn’t worth the health of their horses.
“It's theft and it shouldn’t be happening. We think we are protected here but I guess somebody sneaked in and managed to do that,” he said.
Orazi believes the crime involved at least two people, one distracting the horse while the other took a whack at the tail.
“Not just a violation for the property, but the animals' welfare as they will not have a tail for the next eight years,” he said.
Horse hair is used for artwork, crafts, tack, even as extensions for show horses. There have been reports of this happening in Aurora, Nebraska and Wyoming.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.