What Does It Mean When A Horse Lips You? (TOP 5 Tips)

The lip curl (Flehmen response) is a natural gesture when a horse is presented with a new smell, and is common in breeding stallions around mares. I wrote another record dedicated to the lip curl. Some horses flap their lips loudly when they are nervous or anxious, or anticipating an undesirable event.

  • Lipping is a show of dominance, similar to licking in dogs. When the horse lips you, he’s establishing his alpha role. So, it is extremely vital to correct the behavior, and re-position yourself as alpha.

Why do horses put their lips on you?

Horses use their lips the way people use their hands—to touch, explore, and sense the world around them. A horse who puts his nose in your face may be trying to use his mouth to gently touch you, the way he might greet another horse.

What does a horse lipping mean?

Horses Groom their friends (horse or human) with loose lips and a relaxed muzzle. They use their lips to ask other horses if Grooming can continue before they engage their teeth in a harder scratching motion (fig. 2.21.

How do you know if a horse likes you?

If a horse likes you, they will often come up to greet you when they hear you coming. They may run up to the pasture fence or be eagerly waiting for you at their stall door. If a horse is eager to greet you, that is their way of showing they like you.

Why does my horse nibble me with his lips?

Usually, it’s a natural part of horse behavior. Horses have various ways of communicating, and biting each other is a big part of that – from friendly “nips” to show love, to more insistent bites to get another horse to move, to actual biting in an aggressive way.

Why does my horse head but me?

A horse that headbutts is often simply trying to connect with a human, but the action can also signal the horse’s desire for control of a situation. Though headbutting can be harmless, horses are large and strong and headbutting can endanger human safety if carried too far.

How do horses greet humans?

Nickering is a soft sound made when horses greet one another. They make it by keeping their lips pressed together while simultaneously using their vocal chords. It’s a sound that means, “Hello! Nickering horses sometimes touch noses and share breath, breathing into each other’s nostrils.

Do horses like to be hugged?

Sharing body contact is one of the main ways horses share affection. Since horses don’t have hands to hold or arms to give hugs, gentle leans and even “neck hugs” express their love.

How do you say hello to a horse?

1 Use a Knuckle Touch (your hand in a soft fist, knuckles up) to the horse’s Greeting Button to say, “Hello,” followed by an obvious turn to one side. Do this to see if the horse will copy your movement (an offer to follow you).

How do horses show affection to humans?

Horses will often show affection to humans as they would to other horses. Horses show their affection through grooming, nuzzling, rubbing, resting their heads on you, and even licking. Learning their body language will help you understand when they are showing affection.

How do you tell if a horse doesn’t like you?

Common Displayed Behaviors:

  1. dragging you to a patch of grass in order to graze.
  2. refusing to walk any faster when being led.
  3. jerking their head up when you ask them to lower it.
  4. not picking up their feet when asked.
  5. refusing to go forward.
  6. pulling back on the lead rope when tied.
  7. refusing to move over as you groom them.

Why does my horse bite me when I groom him?

Horses can only communicate with body language. If your normally easy-going horse starts biting when you groom, saddle, or try to ride him, there is a good chance something hurts. He is attempting to tell you in the only way he can. An ill fitting saddle can pinch his shoulders or dig into his back.

What Does It Mean When A Horse Lips You?

The vast majority of horse riders and aficionados will agree that horses can make some really amusing faces from time to time. They will sneeze, curve their lips, and nuzzle the persons who are most important to them. But what does it imply when a horse gives you a kiss on the lips? Horses will flap their lips in response to humans for a variety of reasons, and this adorable habit may be entertaining to observe. However, we must learn to recognize and interpret the facial expressions of horses, as well as the messages they convey.

Beginners Guide To How To Read A Horse’s Face

Horses and humans are fundamentally different species since horses are prey animals and we are predators. Since a result, their facial expressions are considerably different from ours, as they are always on the alert for potential threats. People and horses are entirely different creatures, and the way we express ourselves is also vastly different between the two. It has been discovered that horses’ facial expressions are extremely sophisticated, and some experts feel that they are almost as expressive as human face expressions.

Here is only a small example of the various ways horses communicate with their facial expressions.


It is one of the first things that young would-be horse riders are taught is that they should never approach a horse who has its ears back! In order to communicate that they are intimidated or uncomfortable, a horse will lay its ears back against its head. This is a warning indication that you should back away from the horse. Having its ears perked forward indicates that the horse is on high alert, most likely listening to something in the distance. This is how horses can recognize predators even when they are a considerable distance away.


It is common to characterize the eyes of a calm, relaxed horse as having “soft eyes,” which indicates that the muscles surrounding the eyes are relaxed. Because of the tightness in his facial muscles, a nervous or terrified horse may display the whites of his eyes and seem wide-eyed.


Horses use their muzzles to indicate closeness; for example, they may use their lips to nuzzle or groom another horse, or they may nuzzle or groom themselves. Generally speaking, a horse with loose lips and a relaxed muzzle is calm and content. A horse’s mouth might look smaller if it is tense or concerned, but it will appear larger if it is relaxed or relaxed. In order to demonstrate their subordination to a more dominant adult horse, a young horse may chew and lick their lips to demonstrate that they are not a threat.

Understanding Horse Facial Expressions And What They Mean

It is critical that we understand what horses are saying with their facial expressions so that we can respond appropriately when they do so.

Knowing when a horse is afraid or frightened, as well as when they are enjoying a new experience, is critical to our success. Some popular horse face expressions include the following:

  • Horse with relaxed eyes and ears: The eyes will be soft and relaxed, and the ears will be in a semi-alert position when the horse is calm. If a horse is calm, its lower lip will be drooping and it may look to be almost sleeping. Inquisitive Horse: A curious horse will extend his head down and towards the object he is exploring, and his nostrils will be expanded to aid his sense of smell in his investigation. In addition, his ears will be pointing forward, and his gaze will be calm yet concentrated. When a horse is anxious, the muzzle will be tight and wrinkled, and the lips will be firmly clenched. Nervous Horse In order to find an escape route, the eyes will be wide open and may flicker back and forth back and forth. The ears may also accomplish the same thing, or they may be positioned backward to warn of an imminent danger.

VIA-CALM is a 5 pound product. PAIL 90452 is a number that may be found on a shipping container. PAIL 90452 is a number that may be found on a shipping container.

What Does It Mean When You See Horse Lips Flapping?

Flapping his lips can indicate a variety of various things depending on the horse. If a nervous horse is feeling anxious or uncertain, he or she may flap their bottom lip in response. This is a continuation of the usual behavior of foals, who will use their lips to express humility to adult horses when they are introduced to them. Flehmen is a phenomena that occurs in some horses, particularly stallions, in which the top lip curls up over the nostrils, causing them to breathe via their mouth.

  1. The ‘lick and chew’ action is another another movement that horses use with their mouths and lips to communicate with one another.
  2. Finally, the most crucial function of the horse’s muzzle – love and socializing – must be mentioned.
  3. Normally, this type of conduct indicates that they adore you and consider you to be a member of their group!
  4. It is typical for your horse to nuzzle your face or arms with their lips when they are showing their love and devotion for you – it is very wonderful!
  5. If this occurs, you should use your hand to push your horse’s muzzle away from you.
  6. Horse owners must use caution to ensure that any nuzzling or lipping behavior does not spiral out of control, since this might lead to nipping or play-fighting.


Consequently, as we’ve discovered, horses have some quite sophisticated face expressions! In order to show you that you are a cherished member of their herd, horses may flap their lips and nuzzle their owners as a symbol of affection. In the wild, horses will nuzzle and groom one another, and this is a continuation of that natural activity in captivity. We’d love to know about your horse’s interactions with you — does it routinely lick your lips? Or perhaps you have a query concerning the facial expressions of horses.

What Does it Mean When a Horse Lips You? Find Out

Lipping is a dominance display, comparable to the act of licking in dogs. When a horse kisses you, he is establishing himself as the alpha of the herd. As a result, it is critical that you alter your conduct and re-establish yourself as the alpha. What does it signify when a horse kisses you on the lips? Many individuals believe it is preferable to avoid the problem altogether and do not allow any hand feeding or contact at all, which is perfectly OK.

In other words, you may establish any restriction you want, and if you’re consistent, your horse will recognize it, and you won’t have to worry about encountering any difficulties. READ MORE:Is it possible to ride both English and Western horses at the same time?

How to Stop this Horse-Lipping Behavior?

Except for the fact that it is a display of dominance, Lipping is a game; and it is NOT appropriate unless you want to begin playing with him or her (which I assume you do not want because “horseplay” is often unpleasant). Any touch with the nose of a “lippy” horse is avoided at all costs. It serves as a “play” button for them, and it has the potential to make situations worse. Consequently, no touching or gripping their muzzles, no ‘bopping’ them on the nose when they engage in mischievous behavior, and so forth.

Method 1:

Previously, I would merely whack the bridge of my nose or put my elbow out until I discovered a better technique of expressing myself.

Method 2:

Depending on the horse, I’ll either push their head away at the cheek (if you’ve ever watched horses interact with one other, you’ll notice that the alpha will use these places as a “STOP THAT SHIT” zone), or if they’re stubborn enough, I’ll actually rap them with my knuckles in the same location. It is the “BACK OFF” target zone where the two “lines” connect if I draw a triangle from each corner of the eye. I keep going until the horse goes back AND away from me (or begins to move away from me, whichever comes first.

As long as I don’t miss my “target” or make a mistake with the timing, I won’t have to worry about creating a head shy horse.

Can It become Head shy from Doing This?

Are you concerned that you will make the horse’s head afraid to pop their face or their nose? Is it possible that certain horses’ heads would become shy if I apply the strategy described above? Only if you employ it in an inconsistent or excessive manner. Make sure you rub him all over his face, ears, and lips on a daily basis, as this will help to alleviate any shyness he may acquire. However, do not rub him immediately after giving him a pop. Only react, and then get back to what you were doing before you were interrupted.

  1. Method 3: I force them to work when they nip, as this is a common occurrence when they infringe on your personal space.
  2. In a rapid walk, I will begin popping the halter (a rope halter works better) until they are backing up quickly enough to stay ahead of you and out of your area.
  3. Follow them back to where you were and go about your business as usual once a few seconds have passed.
  4. What, in your opinion, does it indicate when a horse kisses you on the lips?

Equine Language: Facial, Vocal and Body

Horses are making noises. Horses frequently whinny in order to attract the attention of herd mates who are far away. Equines are constantly communicating with one another. They interact with one another continually by using facial, vocal, and physical signs that are exclusive to their species, and because these signals are the only language they know, they use the same language to communicate with people as well. When working with horses, it is critical to understand the foundations of equine communication so that you can effectively analyze what is going on with them and how they perceive you and their environment.

Equine language is strongly associated with the five senses: hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste (to name a few). Using their senses, horses then respond to what they have learned by moving their facial expressions, bodies and limbs, and vocalizing in response to their perceptions.

Facial feature language

You will be astonished at how much information a horse’s stance, motions, and facial expressions transmit, not just to other horses, but also to humans, if you pay close attention. The horse’s ears continuously provide information as to where the horse’s attention is concentrated and how the horse is perceiving what is going on. For example:

  • It is neutral and easygoing, and it is at ease with its surroundings. Pointing up and forward: interested in, alert to, and aware of what is going on in the foreground
  • Fear and uncertainty are represented by rigidity and a raised chin. It’s pinned back and either furious, aggressive, and menacing, or, if it’s more calm, it’s perhaps just listening to what’s going on behind it. Because of the overwhelming amount of sensory information, rotating: intrigued, apprehensive, and indecisive. Each ear was focused in a distinct direction, as if paying attention to two different things at the same time.
See also:  How Much Does Horse Insurance Cost? (Perfect answer)

The horse’s eyes are extremely expressive and may transmit a broad range of emotions. Horses may be anxious, interested, friendly, gentle, or scared depending on their mood. Some of the signs that may assist you in better understanding your horse are as follows:

  • Blinking indicates that you are processing information and thinking
  • The soft eye is gentle and relaxed
  • It is in the learning phase. Eye that is hard to look at: tight and unyielding. Fear and terror may be seen in the whites of the eyes. Worried and attempting to figure out what is going on, you get wrinkled. Half-closed: weary, relaxed, and sleeping
  • Half-opened: tired, relaxed, and sleeping

The horse’s muzzle, mouth, nostrils, and nose communicate emotions, requirements, and his or her current mental state. These signs of the horse’s state of mind as it takes in the events taking place around it are as follows:

  • Tight, firm lips and a tight, hard mouth indicate that you are worried, tense, afraid, or somewhat furious. A wrinkled snout indicates nervousness or worry. Teeth exposed indicate an aggressive and ready to bite attitude. Drooping lip and droopy mouth indicate that the person is calm, bored, or fatigued
  • When combined with flaring nostrils, it indicates suffering. Stress relief, digestion of thoughts, and observation are all achieved by licking and chewing. Pay attention if your nostrils are extended and your teeth are visible. a nose that is extended and wriggling indicates an eagerness to explore for pockets or participate in mutual grooming Wrinkling of the nose is an indication of displeasure or pain
  • Bending the ears back signals a slight threat. Nasal passages that are calm and a soft muzzle: neutral and relaxing
  • Flapping lower lip indicates that you are unfocused, sensitive, and anxious. In the case of foals, mouthing indicates submission.

Body language

In a variety of situations, the tail is employed as a visual cue, including:

  • Excited, pleased, playful, frightened, and other emotions are flagged. To attract a stallion, mares utilize high-tailing, which is then paired with a lower head carriage and drooping ears in order not to be misconstrued for a startled stance. Swishing and lashing the tail indicates displeasure, frustration, and conflict
  • Swatting the tail indicates flies
  • And lashing the tail signifies dissatisfaction and aggravation. Fear and submission are the motivations for flattening one’s tail. Concentration, normalcy
  • Neutral or level

When it comes to recognizing the attitude of your horse, the head and neck set are critical:

  • High: fearful, anxious, defiant, alert
  • Low: relaxed, accepting
  • Level: neutral, focused

The manner in which a horse uses its legs communicates a great lot about its inner state of mind. For example:

  • Dancing around, feeling anxious, thrilled, and scared
  • Relaxed hind hoof resting position
  • Lifting the hind leg indicates a warning or defense posture. pawing: a state of frustration Standing squarely means being alert
  • Stamping causes moderate discomfort and attracts flies. Striking implies being furious, threatening, or fighting.

Vocal signals

The verbal cues of horses are extensive, and they have exploited them to their benefit throughout history. Listed below are some of the most important voice cues used by horses:

  • Neighbor: a point of touch or recognition
  • Nickers vary depending on the relationship: a stallion’s wooing nicker
  • A mare’s maternal nicker to a foal
  • A human’s friendship nicker when given food
  • Etc. Squeal: intimate physical touch, especially sexual intercourse
  • Snort: a warning, a challenge, and enthusiasm. Screams and roars indicate a strong emotional state, such as fury or terror. In the event that the horse charges at you, get out of the way. It truly intends to cause you harm. (This is extremely unusual.) Grunts indicate exertion, battling, and jumping
  • They are not intended to be a signal in situations of discomfort or colic. High-pitched blowing noise emitted in the false nostril: a sign of joy, particularly when cantering
  • Blowing or cleaning one’s nose indicates that one is comfortable and content with one’s surroundings or job.

Use of smell

As well as providing an indicator of mood and attitude, the way a horse smells things may also serve as a tool of recognition for the horse itself. Horses greet one another by sniffing their noses, and they shake hands by sniffing their noses. horses smell people, objects, and food to judge if they are nice, friendly, or irritating in their behavior. They also inhale and smell items that make them feel uncomfortable.


Horses are also extremely sensitive to touch, and they are capable of sensing pleasure, pressure, pain, and temperature in the same way humans are. It is especially important to protect their faces and belly. In addition, after horses have been accustomed to being brushed, they gain a great deal of pleasure from the contact of brushes and hands throughout the process of grooming them.


Horses’ sense of taste is not as crucial as their other senses, but it is quite well developed. A variety of goodies may be used to elicit the desired actions during training, and they are generally well-liked by the dogs. You may be surprised at how effectively a piece of carrot or an apple works in obtaining your horse’s cooperation and cooperation. Because they enjoy the taste of grain and other feeds, it is important to monitor their intake to ensure that they do not become unwell as a result of overindulging when given the opportunity.

Consider this

Horses’ sense of taste is not as crucial as their other senses, but it is quite highly developed anyway. A variety of goodies may be employed to elicit the desired actions during training, and they are generally well-liked by the animals.

The effectiveness of a bit of carrot or apple in securing your horse’s cooperation may astound you at first. As much as they enjoy the taste of grain and other feeds, it is important to monitor them closely to ensure that they do not overindulge and become unwell when given the opportunity.

What Does ‘Licking and Chewing’ in Horses Mean? – The Horse

Q. What exactly does “licking and chewing” in horses imply in practice? Submission? Processing? Relaxing? —Lisa from the state of California A. The licking and chewing activity of horses is arguably one of the most misunderstood of all of their actions and reactions. It merely reflects a shift in the tone of the autonomic nervous system, which results in increased salivation, which encourages licking, chewing, and, occasionally, a large swallow. And that can occur in a variety of settings following the occurrence of a danger or disruption of some kind.

  1. When an animal or a human is attacked or extremely agitated, the nervous system, which includes the sympathetic nervous system, goes into alert or fight-or-flight mode.
  2. The sympathetic state is shut off when the situation that triggered it is resolved, and the nervous system’s control goes back to the more relaxed parasympathetic state.
  3. This cluster of licking, chewing, and occasionally swallowing that you have inquired about occurs just when the sympathetic nervous system switches back to parasympathetic following a period of sympathetic nervous system activity.
  4. It is normal for salivation to resume when a disturbance is resolved and calm is reestablished.
  5. Licking and chewing do, in a way, indicate relaxation, but only after a period of intense tension or discomfort has passed.
  6. Sympathetic attenuation is another word for this phenomenon in medicine.
  7. A combination of additional reactions, such as itching, sighing and, on rare occasions, yawning and stretching, are utilized to monitor what is happening in the neurological system in response to the restoration of salivation.

Perhaps you’ll notice a small itch on your scalp or neck and swallow, or you’ll take several deep breaths or sigh.

However, once you’ve gotten over the first shock, you’ll likely experience many of these outward signals of “relief” and go through this stage of resuming salivation, which is sometimes accompanied by a deep swallow and sigh.

If it is not immediately clear, it causes me to consider what may have triggered the sympathetic condition.

The pattern of its occurrence over time might aid in the identification of the region or system causing the discomfort.

It has been brought to my attention that the horse is now “chewing on a thought” by trainers.

Whether the horse is terrified, bewildered, or enthusiastic as a result of all the rushing about or trailer loading, he is in sympathetic mode at all times.

Sympathetic attenuation responses may be induced by drugs that influence the neurochemistry of the brain; therefore, in horses, I like to think of them as basic neurochemically mediated reactions that do not necessarily represent any thinking processes.

These sympathetic attenuation reactions are not always a submission gesture in and of themselves, but they might occur in the context of an engagement in which an animal exhibits submissive behavior.

During the course of the danger abating, the submissive one experiences this sensation of relief.

Because the fundamental behavior of submission in horses is to move away, if a horse is caught and unable to get away, it may make this “I’m a baby, I give up” gesture to indicate that it has given up.

Lip Quivering, Lip Flapping, Strange Movement of Lips

When it comes to horses, what exactly does “licking and chewing” mean? Submission? Processing? Relaxing? Lissa from California sent this message: A. It is likely that one of the most misunderstood horse activities is the licking and chewing activity of the horse. A shift in the tone of the autonomic nerve system, which leads in salivation, which encourages licking, chewing, and occasionally a large swallow is all that is required. And that can occur in a variety of settings following the occurrence of a danger or disruption.

  1. An animal or a person’s nervous system goes into alert or fight-or-flight mode when they are attacked or intensely agitated.
  2. The sympathetic nervous system can be activated by a variety of stimuli, including pain, fear, and perplexity.
  3. Observable behavioral evidence of this back-and-forth flipping can be seen in horses’ behavior.
  4. In fact, salivation is stopped and the mouth and lips are swiftly dried when sympathetic control is activated.
  5. This basic reflexive response to deal with the resumption of salivation after a time of dry mouth and lips is shown in the licking and chewing.
  6. This is referred to as “relief” by many people.
  7. The first time I came across a scholarly explanation of these behavioral markers of emotional states in animals and people was in graduate school animal laboratories studying neurophysiology and pharmacology.

One of the most classic examples of this “relief” response that people may connect to is when a police car with bright lights and sirens whizzes by without stopping you.

Driving on ice is a more dramatic scenario in which your pulse rate spikes, you break out in cold sweat, and you have to pull over and support your head until you can take control of the vehicle and steer it safely.

When I see a horse or a human in distress, this example always helps me sympathize with them.

If you keep an eye out for this type of behavior, you may frequently see horses in distress that would otherwise go unreported.

You inquired as to whether this licking or chewing may be indicative of a processing situation.

It is frequently used in the context of exercising a horse, such as chasing it about in a round pen or harassing it to load into a trailer, then stopping to take a breather and remarking, “He’s thinkin’ about it.” In sympathetic mode, the horse responds to any fear, confusion, or excitement caused by the rushing around or the trailer loading.

Sympathetic attenuation responses may be induced by drugs that influence the neurochemistry of the brain; thus, in horses, I like to think of them as basic neurochemically mediated reactions that do not necessarily represent any mental processes.

This type of sympathetic attenuation reaction is not a submission gesture in and of itself, but it might occur in the context of an engagement in which an animal exhibits submission behavior.

It is during this sense of relief that a submissive individual experiences when the threat is no longer there.

The fact that horses’ primary action of submission is to walk away means that, if a horse becomes confined and is unable to leave, it may make this “I’m a baby, I give up” gesture.


Some horses produce bizarre lip motions that appear to be done for amusement alone. Lip movements, on the other hand, can be suggestive of a wide range of emotional states and can even signify a medical issue. A number of different lip movements, such as the Flehmen Response, might be considered typical behavior or can be an indication of physical discomfort, anxiety, or aggravation. Lip curls are one type of lip movement. Lip twitching and shaking can occur in conjunction with or independent of eating.

  1. This horse’s ability to grip feed with his lips and transfer it back into his mouth may also be impaired in this situation.
  2. Because of the discomfort caused by foreign things in the mouth and dental difficulties, people may make odd lip motions.
  3. The lip curl (also known as the Flehmen response) is a natural response a horse makes when confronted with a novel scent.
  4. Another song dedicated to the lip curl was written by me.
  5. It is important to recognize that a range of lip movements might be deemed normal, but that they can also indicate worry or even a health condition.

Code Red

Even if it’s after business hours, call your veterinarian right away.

  • The findings of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) in the resting horse suggest that the horse has a fever (temp 101F/38.3C) or a heart rate more than 48 beats per minute (BPM). if the horse appears to be having difficulties eating, he will also display this symptom in addition to the others

Code Orange

Contact your veterinarian during their first available office hours.

  • If the conduct persists without an explanation, the situation is considered to be grave. If the horse’s appetite and attitude are normal, and there is nothing else wrong with him, he is considered healthy. If the findings of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) indicate that the animal is otherwise healthy, the horse is considered normal.

It’s possible that you’re also paying attention.

your role

Consider carefully observing the horse for a few minutes before making any judgments about what is going on with the animal. Are you trembling, smacking your lips, or anything else? Make a video and send it to your veterinarian. Take into consideration the surrounding circumstances. When exactly does this happen? Is it when under saddle, while being fed, or just when resting? It is possible that horses under saddle will twitch or flap their lips in response to stress. Consider the things that may be contributing to your feelings of anxiousness or anger, and alter your approach as necessary.

Using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), you can determine your horse’s overall health.

Examine the mouth (when wearing gloves), the inside and outside of the lips, and the inside and outside of the nostrils.

Feed and water should be provided, and it should be determined whether they are interested in the feed and are able to chew and swallow it. Tremors should be looked for elsewhere on the body with attention. Inform your veterinarian of your findings and any concerns you have.

Skills you may need

You may be required to conduct procedures on your horse at some point.

See also:  Where Is Link'S Horse Botw? (Question)

your vet’s role

Your veterinarian will evaluate the behavior to see whether it is typical for the horse in question. They will do a physical examination, paying close attention to the mouth and neurologic system. A doctor may wish to rule out any digestive diseases that might be contributing to the colic, depending on its specific features. Questions Your Veterinarian Might Ask You:

  • Other than that, does the horse appear normal
  • When do you notice the behavior being shown
  • Are you experiencing any additional symptoms of stomach discomfort (colic)
  • Has this been a long-standing pattern or is it anything new? Did you just provide an oral treatment or wormer to the horse
  • Does the horse appear to be having difficulties eating or losing feed
  • And so on. How frequently do you see the behavior
  • Does the horse’s conduct appear to be normal in any other respects
  • Do you notice any other behavioral changes in the animal
  • When was the horse’s last dental examination performed by a veterinarian or a dental technician working with a veterinarian
  • Any indicators of abdominal pain (colic) that you are aware of? What were the findings of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)
  • What were the findings of the dental exam
  • And what are the implications of these findings.

Diagnostics Your Vet May Perform

Identifying and addressing the root source of the problem. These are tests or procedures that your veterinarian will use to discover what is wrong with you.

Diagnoses Your Vet May Consider

The underlying source of the problem. This is a list of diseases or ailments that are causing the observations that you are making. Less Frequently Occurring

  • A foreign body in the mouth
  • A problem with the handler, trainer, or rider
  • Experiencing dental overgrowths and sharp enamel points
  • Ingesting a chemical, toxin, or caustic substance that causes irritation in the mouth, on the lips, or on the tongue
  • Fractured or broken first molar or Incisor (front tooth)
  • Vesicular Stomatitis, VS
  • Wound or Laceration to Mouth, LipsMuzzle
  • Wound or Laceration to Tongue
  • Equine Motor Neuron Disease, EMND
  • Wound or Laceration to LipsMuzzle
  • Equine Motor Neuron Disease,

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A method of resolving the issue or diagnosing the problem. Identifying and treating the underlying causes of disease or treating the symptoms of disease (symptomatic treatment) Doug Thal, DVM, Dipl. ABVP is the author of this article.

Equine body language (part 1): What is your horse telling you?

Horses are very gregarious creatures. To communicate with one another, herd members use a variety of methods including noises, body postures, motions, and odors to let herd mates know what they want and don’t want from one another. Horses, on the other hand, do not communicate verbally. They don’t even make much use of sound in their work. However, if you pay attention to how horses communicate with one another and with humans, you will find that their primary way of communication is through their body postures and movements.

  • Allowing the horse to run free, with no ropes or lines connected, allows the animal the opportunity to express himself and offers me the opportunity to read the horse and figure out what he is all about.
  • Is he outgoing and pleasant with others?
  • Is he frightened of others, or is he impolite and pushy?
  • You may argue that you are not training horses and that there is no reason for you to bother learning how to read horses, but the reality is that every time you are with a horse, whether it is your own or someone else’s, you are training the horse, for better or worse.
  • It is critical to recognize that the body and mind of a horse are hardwired.
  • Horses, in contrast to people, who may grin at you even if they don’t like you, do not tell lies.
  • What you perceive in the horse’s body language is an indication of how the horse is feeling at that particular time.

You can easily distinguish between a horse’s high-headed frame and a calm horse’s level or low top-line by looking at the difference in their frame heights.

Because movement comes from the horse’s rear end, we must interpret a horse’s body language from the back to the front.

Body language, on the other hand, is not a static phenomenon, and the signals can alter at any time.

A horse with its tail curled indicates that it is calm and comfortable.

In the case of an aggressive horse, the tail will be raised or twirled in response to the stimulus.

That may be seen a lot in horses that are full of life.

A horse’s tail curled tightly between its hindquarters indicates that it is fearful.

The question is whether it is cocked at me in a rude manner or if it is respectfully pulled away from me.

What do you think?

An animal showing contempt by turning his buttocks into the handler should be disciplined with a forceful shove, assuming that the disrespect was neither induced or allowed by the human.

To figure out what is going on in the mind of a horse, simply observe his head posture and the motions that emanate from it.

A twisting of the head indicates hostility.

If a horse yawns, it does not mean that he is sleepy or bored.

The great yawn signifies the release of tension.

Bows, on the other hand, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and not all of them are built on trust and respect.

Your horse’s acceptance of your leadership is based on trust and respect.

But if his head drops and stays down, with his eyes open and wide, his lips closed tightly, and his ears stiff, the horse is gloomy and pouty, and it has most certainly been pushed too far and too fast.

The condition of your horse’s ears may also be determined by its ears.

In addition to having superb hearing, horses’ ears are oriented in the direction of the horse’s attention.

Uncertainty is frequently indicated by the ears shifting back and forth.

Pinned ears (ears that are pressed flat on the neck) are a sign of rage or terror, which are closely associated emotions.

The dominant horse on the left is directing the attention of a lower-ranked horse to move out of his territory.

The horse on the right eventually moved away, but not before letting the dominating horse know that she didn’t agree with his request by swishing her tail at him.

There are times when horses are asked to perform tasks that they do not want to accomplish or that they find difficult to complete.

He might possibly be experiencing back pain, or he could be experiencing discomfort with his teeth.

Facial cues, on the other hand, are more delicate for us humans.

An open mouth with lips licking indicates that the horse is thinking, as well as calm and comfortable in its movements.

When you have a wrinkled nose, it implies irritation and distaste.

In contrast to “mouthing,” which is a submissive motion in foals, this is a commanding gesture.

When you discover the itching place, your face takes on the classic long nose, drawn-back lower lip, and stretched neck appearance. Mutual grooming is a way for two horses to express their appreciation for one another. Take note of the long nose and the bottom lip that is pulled back.

The lip curl: that one thing your horse does that looks funny but actually means something

In the flehmen reaction, your horse folds her top lip back, revealing her front teeth, inhales through her closed nostrils, and then tyically maintains this position for a period of time. The nostrils of your horse flare in order to pull more odors into the lengthy, cavernous nasal passages that are designed for sucking in vast volumes of air, allowing your horse to decipher all of the chemical instructions in the air that he is breathing. All of your horse’s olfactory (smelling) receptors may be found in the top region of the nasal cavity, on the mucous membranes of the nasal cavity.

Odor molecules in the air interact with tiny tufts of hair projecting from receptor cells when they make contact with the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth.

A total of two branches branch out from the olfactory cells: one branch spreads over the surface of the olfactory mucous membrane, while the other branch travels straight to the brain.

They are known as the olfactory bulbs, and they are placed at the very front of the cerebrum – one on each side – and are responsible for detecting smells.

Your horse has two olfactory systems

In your horse’s nasal cavity, a second set of olfactory organs may be found just below the bottom of its nasal cavity. The vomeronasal organs are what they are referred to as. The term vomeronasal refers to the organ’s proximity to the vomer bone in the nasal cavity, which gives it its name. The organs were initially described in 1813 by the Danish anatomist Ludvig Jacobson, and as a result, they are frequently referred to as Jacobson’s organs after him. A wide variety of animals, including all species of snakes and lizards, as well as many domesticated animals such as cats and dogs, horses and cattle and pigs have vomeronasal organs.

The flehmen reaction is widely shown by all animals that possess vomeronasal organs, and you may see your cat exhibiting it after smelling something intriguing that warrants additional investigation and investigation.

Despite the fact that they are around 12 cm (4,5 in) in length, they are neatly camouflaged, and it is not surprising that many anatomists before to Jacobson were completely unaware of their presence.

The nasopalatine duct connects them to the major nasal airways, which allows them to function properly (nasopalatine meaning to connect to the nose and the palate).

They have their own routes to the brain, which means that they may serve as separate sensory organs when necessary. This graphic is a rough approximation, but it will give you a general concept of what the nasal anatomy of your horse looks like.

Why does your horse need two systems to decode smells?

The vomeronasal organs provide a distinct function from the primary sensory system for scents, which performs a similar function. The primary function of the vomeronasal organs is the detection and analysis of pheromones. Pheromones are molecules that can mimic the effects of hormones when they are released outside of the body (of the individual secreting them). Their objective is to have an impact on the behavior of the persons who receive them, and they are intended to have an effect on members of the same species as those who receive them.

  • In this regard, the vomeronasal organ may be thought of as a sex organ, as it is meant to assist stallions in determining when a mare is in heat and ready for breeding.
  • He will also use it to predict when a competitor stallion is close and therefore likely to steal his mares away.
  • In humans, the endocrine system is made up of a group of glands that generate hormones that govern many functions such as metabolism, growth and development of the body’s tissues, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood.
  • Furthermore, the pheromones of male mice have been shown to accelerate the sexual development of young female mice, and in certain cases, to induce miscarriage (presumably as a form of genetic competitiveness with other breeding males).

The flehmen grimace

The word has its origins in German,flehmen, which means to bare one’s top teeth, and Upper Saxon Germanflemmen, which means to appear vengeful. Isn’t it interesting how your horse appears to be smiling at a really amusing joke? The majority of the time, when your horse wants to check something more carefully, she’ll sniff it thoroughly all over if she has the opportunity (or the courage) to come near to it. By raising the chin to the sky and curling the upper lip in a flehmen grimace, it is possible to gain a better understanding of particularly intriguing odors.

Following inhalation of the odor, your horse will curl the top lip and momentarily block the nasal passages in order to trap the smell particles within the body.

When a horse exhibits the flehmen reaction, you are witnessing an external representation of her vomeronasal organs being triggered by the stimulus.

Within 10 minutes of being in the company of a pregnant mare, a stallion can flehmen many times, as he goes about sniffing her back and flanks, as well as her urine and feces.

Geldings are the ones who tend to flehmen the least (although they do still do it). It has been hypothesized that the act of gelding impairs the male’s capacity to detect and analyze pheromones, so rendering him ineffectual sexually in more ways than one.

Pheromones are present in horses themselves, but also on their bodily fluids and their manure

The urine and droppings of horses are used to announce their sexual status to other horses, as well as to mark the boundaries of their sexual territories. A stallion will build a “stud pile” by passing dung on top of itself in repeated passes, meticulously piling it on top of itself to signal to other stallions in the area that he has claimed this territory. During their period of hormonal ovulation, mares will pee multiple times each hour because the powerful smell of their urine acts as a billboard ad for any sexually active stallions in the vicinity.

According to research, stallions are unable to determine whether or not a mare is ready to mate just based on her scent.

Stallions that are in the presence of mares that are already pregnant will flehmen significantly less.

Pheromones are unquestionably the most likely flehmen trigger, but they aren’t the only ones

Additionally, when your horse comes into touch with an especially weird or overwhelming smell, she will respond by curling her top lip upwards. Smoke from a fire, fresh paint, and essential oils may all easily cause your horse to flehmen, as can a change in temperature. There has been a great deal of investigation on the vomeronasal organ, but much of it has not been conducted on horses. Pheromones are secreted by animals and influence their behavior in a variety of ways, but we still don’t fully understand how they work.

Flehmen: The Horse with the Upturned Lip

The 23rd of September, 2008 and the 30th of December, 2017. Fluhmen is the name used to describe the movement of a horse wherein it extends its neck, elevates its head, inhales while rolling its top lip back, exposing its front teeth. Flehming or flehmening is a term used to describe this type of conduct. What causes horses to react in a flehmen-like manner? Dr. Sharon Crowell-Davis explains in an article published in Compendium Equine that horses exhibit the flehmen response in order to facilitate the transfer of inhaled scent molecules (pheromones and possibly other substances) into the vomeronasal organ (VNO), a specialized chemosensory structure found in many mammals, including humans.

  1. The VNO, formerly known as Jacobson’s organ, may be found in a variety of physical shapes and locations in different kinds of animals.
  2. When specific odors have an influence on the VNO, messages are sent from the VNO to centers in the brain’s accessory olfactory bulbs through the vomeronasal nerve.
  3. Is this a behavior that all horses exhibit?
  4. Stallions whose vision was restricted had a lower frequency of flehmen than stallions who were able to observe mares peeing, suggesting that visual signals play a role in the stallion’s reaction to the mares’ urine.
  5. What about mares and geldings, do you think?
  6. In many cases, the reaction is triggered by the smell of the newborn foal or the amniotic fluids involved with the delivery.
  7. Flehmen may be triggered by odors such as smoke or freshly painted walls.
See also:  What Does Ringworm Look Like On A Horsewhere Are The Horse Races Today? (Solution)

Horses will produce the reaction even when there is no external stimulation that their owners can notice.

Foals of both sexes respond to the flehmen call in the same way.

“Based on the evidence to date, it appears that exposure to urine may be critical for appropriate physical and sexual maturity in colts,” Crowell-Davis adds.

Is it possible to find flehmen in other mammals?

Flehmen is demonstrated by certain animals, such as dogs, after licking a surface or item rather than after inhaling an odor.

It is common for people to roll their upper lips back in disgust when confronted with unpleasant sights or smells (the linguistic roots of the word “disgusting” refer to something you wouldn’t want to consume), but because this action is not always accompanied by inhalation, it is possible that it is not related to the flehmen response in horses.

However, despite the fact that distinct remnants of this organ have been discovered in certain people, this organ does not appear to have a substantial function in mature humans.

When a horse is suffering low-level gastrointestinal distress, it is common to notice actions that are similar to flehmen (raised head, stretched neck, curled lip, or yawning motions) as colic pain develops.

If a horse begins to exhibit ANY symptoms that are out of the ordinary for that horse, owners should keep an eye on the animal and seek veterinary attention if there is any doubt about the horse’s health state, just to be cautious.

BEHAVIOR—How To Speak Horse: Reading Facial Expressions by Sharon Wilsie & Gretchen Vogel

Find out how to utilize your skills of observation to obtain an awareness of certain facial expressions, which is the first step toward learning to communicate effectively with horses in your everyday encounters at the barn or in the arena. I pay close attention to a horse’s facial expressions since every horse conveys a lot with his or her face. Humans have a tendency to look at each other’s faces. Horses feel the same way. It’s possible that we don’t even understand how much our horses communicate with their looks.

  1. The more you look at different elements of one horse’s face, the more you will discover about his inner world.
  2. When you understand how a horse uses all of the parts of his face to communicate with other horses and with you, the stories become even more intricate and intriguing to read.
  3. My goal is to analyze the gesture and nuance of the distinct sections of the horse’s face and identify what each portion represents individually.
  4. As you get more familiar with them, you will begin to notice how they work together to allow a horse to be more descriptive.
  5. The significance of some facial motions is so ephemeral that it took me years to capture them on film.
  6. Having a high head on a horse indicates that he is on high alert.
  7. A low head indicates that “everything is well,” and that the adrenaline level is low.


MUZZLEThe muzzle has the ability to convey a tremendous deal of closeness.

When they ask other horses if Grooming may continue, they use their lips to indicate that it can (figure 2.21).

This basically means that if your horse has slack lips and a relaxed muzzle when around you, he believes that you are his friend.

MAKE LICKS AND CHEWS Some transmissions are more noticeable than others because the horse maintains a longer expression.

I don’t believe this action just indicates that the horse agrees with you; rather, in my experience, it indicates that he is seriously considering what you’ve said.

By pretending to eat gum, you may mimic the Lick and Chew technique.

“”Yes, that is also my understanding,” says the author (fig.

2.3 The horse’s Lick-and-Chew motion indicates that it is deliberating about something.

For example, as we have already said, horses convey Go Away in a variety of less destructive ways: the ears may turn back, the tail may swish, or the body may slant in a certain direction.

When a horse attacks a person, it sends the same message as when a horse bites another horse, according to the ASPCA.

It’s possible that the horse feels the human isn’t paying attention to his or her more subtle requests.

When individuals pay closer attention to and comprehend a horse’s body language, the likelihood of experiencing a full-on bite is considerably reduced.

If you take a few moments to be interested and pay attention to what is going on in the present moment.

It is critical to simply note whether or not your lips are tight.

In addition, when a horse is focusing really hard, he may exhibit stiff jaw muscles, similar to those seen in humans who are concentrating when taking an exam [fig.

2.4 Dakota’s extreme concentration may be seen in her tight lips, focused ears, and arched poll.

The presence of strong scents such as coffee or cigarettes may cause horses to behave in this manner.

The same curling of the upper lip that indicates discomfort can also signify pain (fig.

The limbic system is pressured at a location between the center of the nostrils, which is located between the center of the nostrils.

Endorphins are released when endorphins are massaged into either spot, therefore when the horse is in pain, he is effectively self-medicating by curling his own lip.

It is common for a CHINA horse that is really anxious or afraid to pucker up his chin in addition to his lips tightening.

NOSTRILSThe form and size of the horse’s nostrils fluctuate as the animal employs different Breath Messages.


To soften the edges of the nostrils, you may also softly touch them with your index finger.

THE HORSE’S JAWThe horse’s jaw is positioned right beneath the eye, and its round form may clearly be distinguished.

We spoke about how the yawn can be used as a Breath Message as well as a stress reliever for horses—it is a technique for them to release and relax their jaw (fig.

2.7). 2.7 This yawn indicates a release of stress in the body. EYESEyes are a subtle way of communicating emotion. The following are some examples of how you can interpret them:

  • A Soft Eye is present in a calm horse because the muscles surrounding the eye are relaxed. Keep an eye out for any new dogs or cats that arrive at the stable. It is possible to perceive interest across your horse’s entire face (soft lips, ears forward, nostrils flared), yet the eye is calm (fig. 2.8)

2.8 If the horse has a low head, perky ears, is chewing, has open nostrils, and has reaching lips, it is begging to be brought closer.

  • If you notice wrinkles or puffiness around the horse’s eyes, this indicates that the horse is experiencing bodily or mental discomfort. The presence of wrinkled or tented upper eyelids indicates that a horse is getting severely upset
  • It indicates that the horse is terrified when the eyes are wide and exhibiting whites.
  • “I don’t like this,” says the person with tension around the eyes. When the doctor or farrier arrives, we frequently witness this: one horse will give the horse next to him what I call aHard Eye, which means “Move aside,” to the other horse. As humans, we make fun of giving someone the “stink eye,” which is a gaze akin to that of an old-fashioned gunslinger. It is the same concept as before. With only “eye pressure,” a horse may get enough space to move another horse to have some breathing room. I have noticed horses turning each other utilizing what I callLaser Beam Eye when one eye is not enough
  • He may also add an ear and arch his poll. It should be noted that the horse that arches his poll, no matter how softly, indicates that he is prepared to go to the next level of the Conversation. Then they stare each other straight in the eyes, each attempting to modify the other’s course of action, and this happens. Many horses have redirected the eye route of another horse, which in turn has redirected the direction in which that horse’s body travels. You have the option of mirroringLaser Beam Eye: Focus your attention on a horse’s eyes and envision a beam of light blasting out of your pupils, preventing him from moving forward.

EXAMPLE OF A LASER BEAM EYE IN ACTION At a clinic I was attending, I was charged by a seriously injured horse, which I managed to avoid. I was alone in the round pen, swinging my crop and trying to make my short body as enormous as I possibly could, but this horse kept rushing at me and I couldn’t get away. To do this, I stared him directly in the eyes and visualized a beam of light cutting across his route in order to shift his course. It was successful. The clinic attendees were perplexed as to how I had accomplished it.

  • The horse I was talking to was not making any progress, and I couldn’t make any progress with him because of all the drama going on next door.
  • The leader of the pack was easy to identify, and I focused my Laser Beam Eye on him, effectively cutting him off from the rest of his group, as shown below.
  • He was well aware that I was now in command.
  • When I am working with a horse in rehabilitation, I will sometimes bob my head and blink slowly while staring into his eyes.
  • I believe Blinking is a sign of contemplation (together with Lick and Chew), and it indicates to me that he is taking a time to consider his options.
  • Slow blinking can also elicit feelings of love.
  • Blinking at horses encourages them to relax in your presence (fig.
  • EARSWe tend to pay more attention to a horse’s ears than other face traits because the ears move and catch our attention.
  • “I’m paying attention to you,” says the rider or driver when one or both ears are turned backward toward him or her. “I’m also attending to the task at hand,” says the person who has one ear back and the other ear forward at the same time (fig. 2.10).

“I’m paying attention to you,” says one or both ears turned backward toward the rider or driver. “I’m also attending to the business at hand,” says the person who has one ear back and the other ear forward at the same time (see fig. 2.10;

  • Your horse has Curious Ears if the ears are mainly forward, but one is twitching forward and backward at the same time. Combined with other elements of a strange expression, such as the eyes outlined above, these ears create a weird expression. When a horse has Airplane Ears, it is comfortable and confident: this flat-sideways ear posture also attracts orbeckons another horse or human (fig. 2.11)
  • A inquisitive expression is similar to the face of a horse pleading for a treat.

2.11 Plane (or other conveyance) Ears, a low head, and a soft muzzle are all friendly characteristics.

  • There is a calmness in one’s disposition. Inward Ears are what I term ears that are gently pushed backward and a little downward (fig. 2.12). Because of its ears, the horse communicates that it is not really paying attention to much of anything going on -outside.” It is permissible for mares to maintain this Inward Ear posture when nursing. When you are walking next to your horse, look to see whether he has Inward Ears. A tranquility or a sense of well-being within, which is generally noticeable at moments of togetherness or camaraderie

2.12 The horse’s inward ears, together with Lick and Chew, indicate that he is quietly immersed in meditation.

  • When the Scouting Ears are held straight up, it is just for a few brief minutes at a time. When a threat is detected in a herd, the Sentry horse in charge of keeping an eye out for it will develop Scouting Ears. Scouting Ears are also a sign that the horse is prepared to go on the offensive. In order to indicate that he is a “large, dangerous horse,” a stallion challenging another must have Scouting Ears and a raised poll in comparison to his opponent. Scouting Ears, right before the ears are placed back into “attack” position in order to move the cattle. Horses working cattle display Additionally, you can frequently observe this ear move from “Scouting mode to -attack mode” just before a horse takes off over a jump (see Fig. 2.13)

2.13 Scouting ears with bulging eyes that are “tentted” show exceptional attention and vigilance.

  • Yawning and shaking their ears are two ways in which horses “let go” of tension and stress. A horse’s ears may be shaken in the same way that a dog shakes off water. FIGURE 2.14: A man shakes his head in dissatisfaction or after experiencing a displeasing incident

The way a dog washes off water, a horse could “shake away tension” by shaking his ears in a similar manner.

  • While playing and being foolish by themselves, I’ve witnessed horses’ ears “speak” to one another, which is rather amusing to witness. Take, for example, two horses who are eating hay out of each other’s mouths at the same time. Their ears will twitch and twist in response to this. This appears to be the equine equivalent of giggling to me (fig. 2.15)

2:15 When horses feed off of one other’s hay, their ears frequently twitch and spin, which is considered to be the equine equivalent of laughing.

  • No matter what emotion you perceive on your horse’s face, he will always want to return to a condition of calm and tranquillity as quickly as possible: Ears that are neutral (Fig. 2.16)

2.16 Here we observe calm, Neutral Ears in their natural state. LEARNING TO READ IS A CHALLENGE Now that you have the tools necessary to mimic a horse’s facial emotions, such as the height of the horse’s head, the snout, the chin, the nostrils, the jaw, the eyes, and the ears, you are ready to go on to the next phase in how to communicate with horses using Horse Speak (figs. 2.17 AB). The ability to see and interpret is already in place, and now we’ll look at how to respond in a way that the horse will understand.

2.17-A “I’m stressed and don’t know what to do,” the mare’s clenched mouth, focused ears, Hard Eye, and tight nose convey to the viewer.

“Horse Speak: The Equine-Human Translation Guide” is an excerpt from the book.

2016 Copyright & Intellectual Property Sharon WilsieGretchen Vogel are two of the most talented women in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.