It seems like a tale about tails out of a western movie, but horse owners in Colorado will tell you that it is no story, but real life these days. Thieves are allegedly cutting off horses tails in what is thought to be a new black market trade since the closing of U.S. horse slaughterhouses in 2007. Colorado is one of those states that have seen an increase in horse tail theft these days.

A horse tail, thought to net sellers roughly $500 per tail, is used in many different settings that make this type of theft lucrative. Horse tail is used for making bows for musical instruments such as violins and cellos, incorporated into belts and other western apparel, as well as used in Native American headdresses. While most horse hair for these products tends to come from China these days, some speculate that the black market has erupted for smaller crafts such as pottery and the headdresses where commercially bought horse hair would not make sense for the artist to purchase.

Many may not think that cutting off a horse's tail would be a big deal for the horse, but in reality it has quite the effect on them. One owner says that his once very friendly horse now no longer trusts anyone approaching her, even the owner. These horses also use their tail for swatting away flies and other biting bugs. Owners who have had their horse's tail cut off have been instructed to weave a tail extension for the horse. The irony there is that horse tail weaves come from other horses and they may be commercially imported or from the black market responsible for those owners needing the weave in the first place.

If you are an individual who is associated with the black market and have been apprehended or charged with any crimes related to horse tail theft or any other kind of theft, you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney. This should be done prior to making any kind of statement so that your interests and rights may be protected to the fullest extent that the law allows.

Source: KUTV, "Thieves Cut Off Horse's Tail," Ladd Egan, Mar. 8, 2013