Why Does My Horse Lick Me? (Question)

Horses primarily lick people because they like the salt they get from the surface of our skin. But some horses also lick people out of habit, to explore, to play, or because they are bored. When a horse licks its owner, most don’t give the reason for the lick a second thought.

What does it mean when a horse licks you?

  • While there are horses who seem to lick as a sign of affection, this is not the primary reason a horse will lick you. Your horse could be licking you because their sodium levels are low, indicating a potential health problem. It could also be a sign of boredom or a lack of mental stimulation.

Do horses lick to show affection?

Horse kisses are a sweet way your horse can show you affection. They may lick your hand or even your face as they show you their love.

Why is my horse licking me so much?

While there are horses who seem to lick as a sign of affection, this is not the primary reason a horse will lick you. Your horse could be licking you because their sodium levels are low, indicating a potential health problem. It could also be a sign of boredom or a lack of mental stimulation.

Why does my horse lick and nibble me?

Many horses will nibble at their owner’s skin or clothing. Horses are mutual groomers, and I have had many horses attempt to groom me back. This is friendly behavior, but it can graduate to biting. Most people also recommend discouraging licking (some horses will lick, but most will not).

What does licking mean in horses?

Horses sometimes lick and chew during training and this has often been interpreted as a sign that the horse is learning or showing ‘submission’ to the trainer. However, a new study suggests that this non-nutritive licking and chewing behaviour is a natural behaviour that is shown after a stressful situation.

How do you tell if your horse has bonded with you?

Here are 8 Signs a Horse Likes and Trusts You

  1. They Come Up to Greet You.
  2. They Nicker or Whinny For You.
  3. They Rest Their Head on You.
  4. They Nudge You.
  5. They Are Relaxed Around You.
  6. They Groom You Back.
  7. They Show You Respect.
  8. They Breathe on Your Face.

How do you tell if a horse trusts you?

When a horse trusts you, they should exhibit relaxed body language. Horses Trust You When They’re At Ease Around You

  1. Their bottom lip is tight.
  2. Their nostrils are tense.
  3. Their tail is moving quickly or not at all.
  4. Their ears are pinned back on their head, or alert and facing you.

Do horses like being 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.

Do horses lick their owners?

Horses primarily lick people because they like the salt they get from the surface of our skin. But some horses also lick people out of habit, to explore, to play, or because they are bored. When a horse licks its owner, most don’t give the reason for the lick a second thought.

Why does my horse nicker at me?

A horse nicker is like a call for attention. Nickering usually happens when a stallion is trying to get the attention of a mare when it is time to mate. Sometimes, stallions and mares will nicker at their humans if they have deeply bonded with 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.

Should you let your horse groom you?

After a few times, most horses understand that you don’t want to be groomed and they leave you alone.” Most horses truly enjoy the scratching and grooming by trainers, riders, and owners. Grooming your horse is a great way to help him relax with you, trust you and bond with you.

What is big lick?

Under normal circumstances, “big lick” action is created by horseshoes that have added pads and weight (sometimes called “stacks”), usually combined with additional weighted chains or rollers placed around the pasterns to create dramatic, high-stepping flashy action of the horse’s front legs, desired in the horse show

Why would a horse lick wood?

Unusual eating behaviours such as licking soil, chewing wood or eating faeces are often assumed by owners that their horses are lacking something within their diet. These feeding behaviours are known as forms of Pica, a desire to eat unusual substances.

Why Horses Lick: What You Need to Know

Posted at 14:31:31 GMT hinHealth,Horse Care,Horse Training Horses, like people, have distinct personalities, qualities, and behaviors that distinguish them from one another. They exhibit responses to stimuli and events that might lead us to doubt the significance of what they are saying. Identifying some of these habits, such as nudging or following you around, is pretty straightforward. Many equestrians and horse aficionados, on the other hand, are perplexed by licking. So, what is it about horses that makes them lick you?

It’s possible that your horse is licking you because their salt levels are low, which might indicate a potential health issue.

According to everything you’ve seen so far, the explanation behind your horses’ licking is pretty intricate.

Although you may not be able to understand this unusual behavior completely, the information presented in this piece should help you to acquire some understanding into it.

Understanding Why a Horse Licks Their Owner or Caretaker

When attempting to determine why a horse licks you or their surroundings, it is critical to consider the external elements that are present at the time of the normal licking. What phase of their everyday routine do you find yourself in? Do you have any questions? Is it possible that you’ve just ended a bike or training session? Is it possible that they are searching for a treat? Have you observed any other changes in their manner since you last saw them? This information, whether recorded mentally or physically, can aid you in narrowing down the explanation for your horses’ licking behavior.

Do Horses Lick to Show Affection?

Many people think that horses lick their owners, riders, or caretakers in order to express appreciation for them. Although this may appear to be adorable, it can really develop into a negative behavior in certain horses! Horses, like people, have distinct personalities that distinguish them from others. As a result, it is hard to state that horses do not enjoy showing affection, because certain horses do exhibit this characteristic. However, before you assume that your horse is simply displaying affection, examine the following possible explanations for why your horse may be licking you.

Horses May Lick to Find Treats

Do you notice that your horse licks your face frequently as soon as you welcome them? Perhaps they have a tendency to lick you as you are about to leave the barn for the night. The horses’ sneaky manner of hunting for delicacies hidden in your hands may be explained as follows: It is possible to reward them with a treat if you interpret their licking as a gesture of affection on your part. In either case, they receive the reward that they had their sights set on. Make sure you don’t confuse a disregard for your personal limits with affection!

I discovered that he began nuzzling me as soon as I began to open the gate on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, I immediately recognized that he was only being antsy and eager to go out into the field! Importantly, it is important to distinguish between loving actions and behaviors that are only masquerading as affectionate behaviors.

Horses Lick to Correct Diet Deficiencies

One of the most important reasons why horses lick is to compensate for nutritional inadequacies in their diet. When they lick the skin of their owner or rider, they are receiving salt and other minerals that they may not be getting enough of in their daily diets. If you notice that your horse is licking more than usual, check to be that their meal is nutritious and well-balanced before continuing. If a horse detects a nutritional shortfall in their diet, they may lick wood, dirt, or other surfaces to compensate.

Horses May Lick Out of Boredom

Because they are not receiving enough exercise or mental stimulation, or because they are locked in a regular routine, your horse may acquire a new habit of licking their lips. It’s possible that boredom is at blame if you notice your horse licking everything in its path, even you! Change up your horses’ daily routine and provide them with more diversity in their exercise by varying their daily routine. In addition, providing your horse with a wider cage, activity balls, and other toys are all excellent ideas to keep him entertained.

If you suspect your horse is suffering from boredom, please see my post on How to Tell If Your Horse Is Bored for more information.

Licking With No Explanation

The reason why your horse licks might be difficult to determine at times. Other horses lick. and some horses don’t! This has been proven to me throughout the course of my career as a horse enthusiast, rider, and owner. If your horses lick themselves, it is possible that you will not be able to pinpoint the reason for their behavior. Continue to pay attention to their routines, and perhaps one day you can figure out what they are thinking! It is true that horses are difficult beasts to understand.

Reasons Your Horse is Licking More Than Normal

As your horse grows older, their personalities begin to alter. However, significant changes in their routines or behavior might be indicative of a more serious problem. If your horse has begun to lick more frequently than usual, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Licking Due to Health Problems

As previously noted, licking might be your horses’ attempt to make up for any nutritional inadequacies they may be experiencing. However, it might also be an indication that they are attempting to increase their saliva production. This is most usually associated with the existence of gastric ulcers in the stomach. When a horse licks its lips, more saliva is created by nature. Considering that saliva is a natural antacid, it would be beneficial if stomach ulcers were to be at the base of the problem.

It’s possible that your horse is licking excessively as a result of his or her anxiousness.

This might be as a result of a divorce or other behavioral problems. Understanding the underlying causes of your horses’ anxiety can assist you in treating them in a constructive manner, whether through food supplements or other means.

Encouragement of the Behavior

Having your horse lick your face might appear to be an appealing expression of devotion on his part. In fact, you may choose to reward that gesture of affection with a tasty gift! This might be because you have been supporting your horse’s habit, resulting in his licking your face more frequently than usual

The Risks of Horses Licking Other Surfaces

It is possible that having a horse that licks you will not be a problem. Having a horse who licks their stall, other wood, or the soil, on the other hand, might result in major complications for them. The core cause of these bizarre habits is almost often due to a nutritional shortage. Finding the underlying reason and giving them with the necessary nutrients and minerals can help to resolve the licking problem before it becomes a serious problem. It is important to note that when your horse licks soil, the likelihood of their contracting sand colic is considerably enhanced.

Once you have confirmed that your horses’ licking is not caused by their nutrition, you should investigate the other factors that may be influencing this new behaviour, such as their habitat, their activity, and their mental stimulation.

They might be hunting for a tasty pleasure, or they could be looking for essential minerals that are lacking in their current diet.

The potential exists that your horse is licking you just to express their appreciation for you and has no other motivation for doing so, as well.

Related Questions

Since I’ve been riding for a long time, I’ve discovered that there are various methods to detect a horse that is exhibiting affection. When your horse begins to approach you on its own, without prodding, this is one of the most obvious signs that it is feeling compassion for you. The fact that your horse follows you about and regularly follows your directions is yet another apparent indication of devotion on their part. These are indications that they have formed a relationship with you and are placing their confidence in you to guide them.

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Why do horses touch noses?

Have you ever wondered why horses greet each other by touching their noses? This is practically the same as a handshake in appearance! Introducing oneself to one another and greeting each other with affection is their nice manner of introducing themselves to one another. Aside from that, it serves a utilitarian purpose. When horses rub noses together, they are able to detect whether the horse they are meeting has a fragrance that they are familiar with or one that they are unfamiliar with.

How can you play with your horse without riding?

When time constraints, weather conditions, or other circumstances prevent you from spending quality time with your horse, it might be good to spend leisure time with your horse that does not include riding. Groundwork exercises, combing and trimming their mane and tail, introducing them to new toys, working on behavior concerns, and teaching them to stretch are just a few of my favorite things to do with my horse. Incorporating these activities into your daily routine gives you and your horse with unique growth possibilities that are not available anywhere else.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! All of my most current horse-related articles may be found right here. Note from the author: If you found this post interesting or helpful, please spread the word about it by clicking on one of the icons below.

This Is What It Means When Your Horse Licks You

According to the particular horse, horses have vastly varying personalities. Some horses are more prone to licking their riders than others, and some horses are more aggressive than others. Because horses do not often lick people in the same manner that dogs do, the phrase “mouthy horse” can refer to a variety of different things. So, what exactly does it imply when your horse kisses you on the mouth? When it comes to horse licking, the most of the time it is a neutral activity that can be disregarded.

Horse licking activities can be triggered by a variety of factors, including:

  • Treatment for scavenger hunt anxiety, gastric ulcers, submission, quirk of personality, boredom, and a variety of other conditions

Knowing whether or not it is appropriate to allow your horse to lick you is mostly an issue of understanding your horse’s nature and the manner in which they communicate with you. Continue reading to learn more about horse licking and the reasons why it occurs.

Why Does My Horse Lick Me?

Horses lick for a variety of reasons, and some of them may lick people or things for no apparent purpose at all, such as when they are bored. The following are some of the observed causes of horse licking habits that have been observed:

  • Despite the fact that horses do not express affection with licking as frequently as dogs do, certain exceptionally friendly and dominating horses may develop the habit of licking their riders, particularly during grooming activities or while offering goodies. Because humans typically interpret horse licking in the same way they do dog licking (as affection), they reciprocate by showing affection to the horse, so rewarding the undesirable habit. Grooming: Horses engage in allogrooming, which is a grooming habit that serves as a bonding behavior between members in a hierarchical animal society. That implies that, in many circumstances, when a horse gently licks their owner, the horse is treating their owner as though they had a close-knit tie with their owner within the herd structure. In addition, many horses take pleasure in grooming activities conducted by people because they emulate the same licking actions. Deficiency in salt: One of the most important reasons that horses lick their riders is because they are drawn to the salt that is secreted from the surface of our skin. Ensure that your horse has enough salt licks and mineral supplements accessible to him if he is insistent on licking his skin, especially after hot, sweaty rides. A horse’s need to lick might be triggered by a lack of salt. Treat scavenger hunt: If you have gotten into the habit of bringing goodies to the pasture for your horse, you may find yourself with a horse that frisks you with its tongue every time you enter the barn. When done softly, this may be a lovely activity, but more dominant horses may take advantage of the opportunity, therefore it is a behavior that should be examined for symptoms of aggressiveness. In times of anxiety, equine behaviorists have observed that licking actions can serve as a relaxing response, which is analogous to the sigh of relief experienced by humans. After a horse has been frightened, bewildered, or aroused by kinetic action, licking or mouthing might be a symptom of a shift into a more relaxed mental state (such as being ridden or driven around a ring). When it comes to prey animals, these types of signs are widespread. Gingivitis (gastric ulcers): In some situations, horses may lick their lips in an attempt to create extra saliva, which can be a sign of stomach ulcers. The development of gastric ulcers in horses is widespread, particularly in racehorses and other horses who must perform at a high athletic level. In the event that a horse suddenly begins licking excessively, it may be a symptom that they require veterinarian treatment in order to rule out ulcers. Loicking in horses can be an indication of submissive behavior, especially if the horse is surrounded in a stable or other enclosed space from which it cannot get away. When used in conjunction with a bowed head, licking or mouthing movements might convey the message that the horse is attempting to assume an infantile posture in order to evoke compassion while also attempting to escape assault. One peculiarity of some horses is that they are naturally more chatty than others. These horses are known to use their mouths to communicate with their riders and owners, either to express affection, to act mischievously (such as stealing a carrot out of your pocket), or to show aggression by nipping. Horses who are naturally mouthy should be closely observed to ensure that licking does not progress into biting habits. The signs of boredom in horses include licking, particularly recurrent licking of corral walls and fence, which might be a symptom of boredom in horses. It is recommended that horses be supplied with enrichment items such as balls and other pasture toys in order to prevent boredom and offer them with alternative methods to excite themselves on a sensory level, rather than by licking objects (or humans) in their stall.

As you can see, there are a variety of messages that your horse may be attempting to communicate to you by licking you. The setting in which you’re being licked might make it difficult to determine what your horse is trying to communicate. Licking can lead to biting in some cases. When tolerating licking activities, it is important to remember that in certain horses, licking can be a precursor to a severe bite, which should be avoided at all costs. A horse’s owner may be able to foresee when this behavior is becoming excessively hostile and redirect the horse into another behavior, but someone who is unfamiliar with the horse may let this pushy behavior to continue until the horse nips them.

Horse bites seldom cause skin breakdown, but the deep-set bruises that result can cause discomfort for several weeks.

It is for this reason that licking activities in horses should generally be avoided in most circumstances.

How to Discourage Licking in Horses

There are a variety of techniques that you may employ to prevent your horse from licking you or other persons in the vicinity. Here are some suggestions for how you might prevent your horse from licking you:

  • Push them away. If your horse begins playfully licking or nibbling you, gently push their snout away until they stop. Only encourage non-mouthy behavior with attention and praise, ignore, or push away any mouthing behaviors
  • s Do not feed by hand. This will prevent your horse from getting into the habit of licking objects out of your hands, which can swiftly advance to nipping and biting actions in mouthy or dominating horses. Leave all goodies in the feed bucket
  • s Make sure they have salt licks and free grass available. To rule out a salt deficit, make sure that your horse has access tosalt licksand sufficient ofmineral supplementsin their normal diet. If your horse has plenty of salt and minerals as well as access to grass, your horse’s licking is more likely to be a personality quirk than a medical issue

You should discourage your horse from licking from an early age and create boundaries to ensure that your horse learns other, more suitable methods of expressing affection in the future.

Licking in Horses is Mostly Harmless

The majority of horses don’t lick much, and those that do aren’t particularly aggressive about doing it either. It’s still a good idea to steer your horse away from your hands and fingers because horses are such powerful creatures and are capable of striking with great force.

Your horse’s licking may be friendly or an indication that the horse is trying to push limits, depending on your connection with him or her and how well you understand his or her body language. Licking is typically not a cause for concern as long as medical reasons have been cleared out. Sources:

Why does my horse lick me?

A major part of the reason why horses lick us is because they appreciate the salt on our skin’s surface. Some horses, on the other hand, lick people out of habit, to investigate, to play, or simply to pass the time. Others lick people out of curiosity. Almost everyone doesn’t give a second thought to the purpose of a horse licking its owner when it happens. Horses may lick people for a variety of reasons, some of which are less obvious.

Why do horses lick?

As with people, horses have different personalities, characteristics, and habits. They display responses to stimuli and situations that cause us to question the significance of what they are saying. Certain behaviors, such as nudging or following you around, are quite easy to recognize and categorize. Licking, on the other hand, is something that many equestrians and horse aficionados are perplexed by. In any case, what exactly is the problem with horses kissing you? While some horses lick as a sign of affection, this is not the most common reason for a horse to lick someone else.

It might also be an indication of boredom or a lack of intellectual stimulation.

When it comes to determining the reason why your horse is licking you or others, you are the best judge possible.

Why Does a Horse Licks Their Owner?

It is not necessarily a bad thing when a horse kisses its owner on the mouth. There might be a variety of factors contributing to your horse’s inability to stop sucking the heck out of you. It is recommended that you check with your veterinarian if you have any substantial concerns.

A sign of affection

Horses, like people, have individual personalities that may be identified. They will lick the face of their owner or caregiver as a way of expressing their affection. As a result of this inclination, some horse breeds may acquire a bad habit, which is harmful to the horse. Your every licking movement must be closely monitored. It will assist in the elimination of some assumptions rather than the connection to a particular outcome. If you can comprehend your horse’s loving behavior, you will be better able to determine why he is licking so much.

Lack of mental stimulation

A horse that does not receive enough exercise or mental stimulation may develop the habit of licking anything, even its owner, if he or she is not given enough attention. The source of the problem is boredom. Changing your horse’s daily routine will aid in the long-term resolution of the problem behavior. If you want to get the most out of your horse no matter what breed it is, frequent exercise and inventive training methods are the greatest options available.

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Dietary issues

Another possible cause of horse licking is nutritional deficiency in the horse. In order to aid the horse in receiving salt and minerals that are not provided in their usual diet, they are licking the skin of the caregiver or rider. For your horse’s health, we recommend that you provide him a good, well-balanced diet to prevent him from licking excessively.

Besides that, a horse suffering from nutritional insufficiency may begin to lick the earth and other surfaces, which is an indication of dehydration. The purpose is to treat nutritional deficiency in the population.

Looking for treats

It is possible that the frequency with which a horse is treated will cause him to behave in an odd manner. Giving your horse treats on a frequent basis has the effect of increasing the frequency of the urge. It is as a result of this that your horse will develop the habit of licking your hands in order to discover its favorite treats. When it comes to distinguishing between love and other hidden activities, it would be ideal if you could. Before making any conclusions about your horse’s licking habit, take the time to learn more about it.

A nervous response to danger

Instead of licking you, your horse may be licking or biting the air or doing nothing at all, which might be an indicator of a fearful reaction to a passing threat, according to the American Horse Society. Consider how close you came to being involved in a car accident or being bucked off the street. That rush of adrenaline rushing through your veins, as well as the huge sigh you certainly let out, were all unmistakable signs of exhilaration. That’s exactly what your horse is doing at this moment.

Sue McDonnell goes into great detail about this topic.


A horse may lick the palm of your hand for no discernible reason. It is possible that this is due to their original drive, which has developed into a strong habit. Correcting a horse’s habitual licking tendency is a difficult endeavor to do. For the behavior to be stopped, a great amount of time and patience will be required.

Why Is My Horse Licking More Than Usual?

Horses are one-of-a-kind creatures due to the fact that their personalities change as they get older. Horses are naturally inclined to lick their owners as well as walls and other surfaces. Excessive licking, on the other hand, may be an indication of more serious disorders that require treatment. Following are few potential reasons why a horse may lick more frequently than usual:

Some problem

Because of gastrointestinal ulcers, the horse has a tendency to lick himself excessively. Licking stimulates the horse’s production of saliva, which has the effect of neutralizing acid in the stomach. It contributes to the alleviation of pain. Separation anxiety or other behavioral issues in a horse may also result in the animal licking more than normal at times. If the underlying cause of the problem is identified and addressed, the licking behavior will be minimized. We also urge that if the licking behavior becomes chronic and continuous, you consult your local veterinarian for further advice and treatment.

Mineral deficiency

Horses whose diets are low in vital minerals will develop an excessive licking habit as a result of this. Your horse will begin licking walls, floors, riders, and other surfaces in order to make up for the lack of food resources. It is advised that you give your horse mineral supplements. In addition, a well-balanced diet should be offered in order to treat the issue at hand.

Encouragement of the behavior

Consequently, many horse owners consider licking to be a sign of loyalty, and as a result, they reward their horses for exhibiting affection.

Because of this, the horse will mimic the action and begin licking more than usual in order to receive a reward for his efforts.

Why Does My Horse Lick and Chew?

Licking and chewing are enjoyed by all horse breeds. As a result, witnessing your horse lick and chew on his mane and tail is very normal. Some licking and chewing, on the other hand, may occur outside of the animal’s natural environment. Consider the following factors as possible reasons of your horse licking and chewing more than usual: 1. Here are a few examples of the reasons:

A Submission Indicator

It’s possible that your horse will show indications of learning or obedience when you’re teaching him. The behavior manifests itself most frequently in the form of constant licking and chewing. This is often the best time of year to teach your horse new skills and provide him with enough exercise to keep him from growing bored with his routine.

A tense situation

It is possible that non-nutritive chewing is a symptom of aggressiveness in the current tense environment. Your horse may approach another horse in a hostile manner, which may be quite dangerous for both of you. A change from a dry mouth associated with tension to salivation associated with relaxation, according to study, may be the source of the chewing.


Horses are well-known for their loving behavior toward their owners or riders, and this is no exception. The neural systems of the rider and the horse have a tendency to resonate with one another. The horse will transition into a relaxation reaction by licking and biting its lips in order to co-regulate or sync its system.

What Are the Potential Risks of Horse Licking Other Surfaces?

No issue if your horse has a proclivity to lick you on the mouth or face. If, on the other hand, the horse develops a proclivity to lick any surface, it becomes subject to a variety of risks. The habit is frequently formed as a result of a deficiency in nutrients in one’s daily diet. It is preferable to identify the underlying causes of the problem and treat them with mineral supplements. Those horses who lick the dirt are more likely to suffer from sand colic. As a result of the problem, your horse’s stomach will be upset on a frequent basis.

Horses kissing their owners might be a show of affection or a desire for their favorite foods, according to studies.

If you provide your horse with appropriate activity, the problem will be addressed quickly.

Finally, limit the amount of rewards that can be offered to the horse whenever it shows signs of affection.


If you ask your horse to lick you, it may appear to be a sweet expression of loyalty. In fact, you should provide a treat to someone who expresses affection in this manner! Perhaps you have been encouraging your horse’s propensity of licking you more frequently than normal.

How do horses show their affection?

If you ask your horse to lick you, it may appear to be a sweet show of affection.

Rather of punishing such displays of devotion, you should indulge them! If your horse begins to lick you more frequently than normal, it’s possible that you’ve been encouraging their tendency.

How do you tell if a horse likes you?

Listed here are eight signs that a horse likes and respects you.

  • As they approach you, they nicker or whine for you, they rest their head on your shoulders, they nudge you, they are at ease with you, they groom you back, they show you respect, and they breathe on your face.

Why does my horse kiss me?

Horses can give kisses in the same way that they can give hugs. If your horse begins kissing, licking, or blowing on you, don’t be afraid. This is normal behavior for horses. These are all frequent signs of affection in horses, and they may signal that you have successfully conquered your horse’s heart and mind.


As a result of its licking behavior, a horse may be showing signs of affection, boredom, a fearful response to danger, or a lack of mental stimulation, as well as signs of possible health problems such as pica or a lack of proper nourishment.

Why does my horse lick me?

I’m frequently seen out in the pasture with my horses, enjoying their company. Reno, one of the horses, will occasionally come up to me and lick my face. But why is this so? A horse that licks itself is displaying symptoms of affection, boredom, a fearful response to danger, or a lack of mental stimulation, as well as signs of probable health concerns such as pica or a nutritional deficiency. The purpose of a horse licking its owner or handler will be explained in this article. Along with this, you will learn about the reasons why your horse is licking more frequently than usual, as well as the possible risks linked with licking other surfaces.

Reasons Why a Horse Licks their Owners or Handlers

An owner’s horse kissing their horse isn’t always a terrible thing, but it may be. The reasons why your horse is sucking the crap out of you are as varied as they are many. Nonetheless, if you have any major problems, I strongly advise you to consult your veterinarian. An Expression of Feelings of Attachment Horses, like people, have their own distinct characteristics. They will lick the face of their owner or carer in order to express affection. Some horse breeds, on the other hand, may develop a negative association with the behavior.

  • Rather than being a source of affection, it will aid in the elimination of some preconceptions.
  • Insufficiency of Mental Stimulation A horse that does not receive enough exercise or mental stimulation may acquire the habit of licking any surface, including its owner, to keep himself entertained.
  • In the long term, changing your horse’s daily routine will aid in the resolution of his or her behavior problems.
  • Problems with Diet Another probable explanation of the horse licking behavior is a nutritional deficiency.
  • We propose that you feed your horse a nutritious and well-balanced food in order to avoid him from licking more frequently than is necessary.
  • The goal is to remedy any nutritional deficits.
  • Giving your horse goodies on a regular basis tends to increase the frequency with which he craves them.

It would be preferable if you were able to distinguish between tenderness and other deceptive acts.

A heightened state of alert in the presence of danger Even if your horse isn’t licking you, but is instead licking, chewing, or just sitting there doing nothing, this might be an indication of a worried response to a potential danger having passed.

Your adrenaline racing through your veins, and the large sigh you presumably let out, are all part of the experience.

In her article on thehorse.com, Dr.

Habit A horse may lick the palm of your hand without any provocation.

It is possible that this is due to their original purpose, which has developed into a serious habit. Correcting a horse’s persistent licking behavior can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor. It will take a great deal of time and patience to change the behavior.

Why Is My Horse Licking More Than Usual?

Horses are one-of-a-kind creatures in that their personalities tend to alter as they grow older. It is natural for horses to lick their owners, walls, and other surfaces. However, excessive licking might be a symptom of more serious problems that need to be handled as soon as possible. The following are some of the probable reasons why a horse may lick more than usual: Problems with one’s health As a result of stomach ulcers, the horse has a tendency to lick excessively. Licking stimulates the horse’s production of saliva, which has antiacid properties.

  1. Apart from this, a horse licking themselves more than usual might be the result of separation anxiety or other behavioral problems.
  2. In addition, if the licking tendency becomes persistent and constant, we urge that you contact with your local veterinarian.
  3. Deficiency in Minerals Horses who are deficient in essential minerals in their diet will develop an excessive licking behavior.
  4. It is recommended that you get mineral supplements for your horse.
  5. Encouraging the Adoption of the Behavior Licking is interpreted as an expression of affection by many horse owners who end up rewarding their horses for showing affection.

Why Does My Horse Lick and Chew?

All horse breeds have a proclivity for licking and chewing their manes. As a result, it is very natural to notice your horse licking and chewing. Some licking and chewing, on the other hand, may be outside of their normal environment. Here are some potential reasons why your horse is licking and chewing more than usual. These are some of the reasons: An Indication of Submission It’s possible that your horse will exhibit signs of learning or submission throughout training. Constant licking and chewing are prominent manifestations of this habit in dogs.

  • Anxiety-Inducing Situation As a result of the current tense scenario, non-nutritive chewing might be seen as an expression of hostility.
  • According to the findings of the research, the chewing might be attributed to a changeover from dry mouth induced by tension to salivation linked with relaxation.
  • The nerve systems of both the rider and the horse have a tendency to resonate with one another during the ride.
  • Mineral deficiency is a problem.
  • Horses suffering from severe nutritional inadequacies have a tendency to lick and chew the soil in order to replenish the beneficial microorganisms in their intestines.

These microorganisms are extremely valuable to horses because they aid in the resolution of stomach troubles caused by poor digestion. The horse’s consumption of sand during the procedure, on the other hand, might be dangerous.

How to Stop My Horse from Licking and Chewing Dirt

Equine licking and chewing dirt from various surfaces is a natural behaviour for them to keep themselves clean. However, the good news is that this is not something to be alarmed about. However, it is a solid indication that your horse is not getting enough minerals in his or her regular diet. As a result, sucking dirt and chewing will aid in the nutrition of your horse. Here are some of the various distractions that you may use to keep your horse from licking and eating dirt at an excessive rate.

  • The problem manifests itself in the form of licking dirt and even head bobbing.
  • If you just have a limited amount of time available, you may want to consider hiring a professional horse trainer.
  • Grazing conditions are favorable.
  • Putting your horse in a pasture with plenty of grass will assist to address the situation.
  • Aside from that, it is yet another means of keeping your horse’s mouth occupied.
  • Obtaining a Relationship of Companionship Horses, like other herd animals, require friendship, and the horse is no exception to this rule.
  • You can let your horse to graze in the field with other animals.
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Salt and mineral supplements should be provided.

Obtaining supplements that include salt and other minerals will aid in diverting your horse’s attention away from his licking tendency.

Take into consideration purchasing toys.

Fortunately, there is a large selection of horse toys available on the market.

The horse’s attention is diverted from licking mud by the toy’s motion and loud noise, which is sufficient.

Horses licking and eating dirt can sometimes be a sign of a health concern in the horse.

Aside from that, your horse’s excessive ingestion of sand might represent a major threat to its health. The veterinarian will inspect the problem and make a diagnosis in order to resolve any potentially life-threatening situations.

What Are the Potential Risks of Horse Licking Other Surfaces?

Unless your horse has a bad tendency of licking you, there is no concern. However, if the horse has the tendency of licking any surface, it is more likely to encounter some difficulties. The habit is more likely to emerge as a result of nutritional inadequacies. It is recommended that the underlying difficulties be identified and that mineral supplements be provided to treat them. Horses who have a proclivity to lick soil are more prone to get sand colic. Your horse will suffer from regular stomach distress as a result of the condition.

According to research, a horse licking the owner’s hand might be a gesture of affection or a hint that the horse is yearning for their favorite foods.

Putting your horse through adequate exercise will help to correct the problem.

Finally, restrict the quantity of prizes given to the horse whenever it displays affection.

Related Questions

Q. How Do Horses Express Their Feelings of Love? In most cases, a horse leaning towards its owner or rider is an indication of affection. The horse will also show devotion to its handler by licking the palm of their hand. Some horses will follow you about and obey all of your commands, but others will ignore them. These indications are sufficient to demonstrate a close link between the horse’s owner and the horse. Q. Do horses lick themselves when they are happy? A: In a word, yes. Horses have a natural tendency to groom themselves.

  1. Aggressive licking, on the other hand, might result in your horse developing skin patches all over his body.
  2. Q.
  3. Frustrations and boredom can be alleviated by horse chewing, according to the author.
  4. Why do horses lick their lips?
  5. What does it mean when horses lick their lips?
  6. However, this is not a sign that your horse has fallen in love with you.
  7. Q.
  8. A: Without a doubt.
  9. The circumstance, on the other hand, might make their owners feel uneasy.


Horses lick the skin of their owners to show affection and also to obtain salt from the skin of their owners. It is possible that their conduct is caused by a deficiency in sodium and other minerals in their body. It is recommended that you get mineral supplements in order to increase salt levels in your horse’s body. This is in the case of a horse who licks more than normal for any reason. We also urge that you check with your horse’s veterinarian to assist investigate and diagnose the behavior that your horse is exhibiting.

It is possible that the habit is caused by medical health issues in some cases. In the meanwhile, horse toys, grazing areas, and having a partner for your horse may quickly divert your horse’s attention away from his licking tendency.

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.

Licking and chewing: submission or stress?

Horses lick and chew sometimes during training, and this has been taken as a sign that the horse is learning or that the animal is demonstrating’submission’ to the trainer. However, according to a recent research, this non-nutritive licking and chewing behavior is a normal response to a stressful scenario that occurs after the event has occurred.

Licking and chewing – submission or stress?

When studying the social behavior of feral horses in the wild, a team of equine scientists from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences examined their licking and non-nutritive chewing behavior to acquire insight into the purpose of licking and non-nutritive chewing behavior in horses. During their 80-hour observation period in Ecuador of wild horse herds, M.Sc. Margrete Lie and Prof. Ruth Newberry gathered data on 202 sequences of behavior that happened when licking and chewing behavior was seen.

Horses doing non-nutritive chewing to express submission to another horse were the focus of the team’s investigation.

In order to determine if non-nutritive chewing was undertaken to communicate surrender, the researchers investigated the hypothesis that when one horse (the aggressor) approached another horse (the receiver) in a threatening manner, the recipient would execute the behavior but not the aggressor.

  1. The findings were fascinating: the scientists discovered that the chewing behavior was shown by both the approaching and the receiving horses, which was surprising.
  2. They also wanted to see if there was any difference in non-nutritive chewing between stressful and relaxed settings.
  3. Horses engaged in chewing behavior as they changed their state of tension to that of repose or relaxation.
  4. The findings of this study reveal that horses did not employ non-nutritive chewing as a submissive signal in the circumstances examined; nevertheless, it did occur following a tense scenario, maybe as a response to a dry mouth.
  5. Although the findings of this study are preliminary, they do indicate that licking and chewing are likely to occur after a stressful scenario and that this behavior may be used to determine if the preceding circumstance was considered as unpleasant by the horse.

According to researcher Margrete Lie, “We looked at wild horses who were allowed to live in their natural environment with as little human interference as possible to observe how they acted in their natural environment.” In order to examine entirely natural behavior, we needed to view horses who were free to go about without being confined.

There had been no culling of stallions from the population, as is common in the case of domestic horses.” “It was interesting to see how frequently the horses engaged in the chewing behavior, as well as how clear it was that all individuals chewed – not just’submissive’ individuals,” says the researcher.

“I believe that a more controlled study with stress measurements is required in order to examine this issue more thoroughly.” More information may be found at: Keep up with all of the latest news from the conference on social media by following the accounts listed below.

The theme of “Bringing science to the stable” will explore our relationship with horses through the past, present and future.

If you are a current ISES member, you can also request to join the discussions on the closed Facebook group, ISES Members Forum.

Lie1,2* and R.C.

Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O.

Hesteglede, Ås, Norway Email Margret Lie:*[email protected] International Society for Equitation Science Conference Proceedings can be downloaded from this page For more information contact: ISES Hon.

The theme of “Bringing science to the stable” will explore our relationship with horses through the past, present and future. Check the website for conference updates Back

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