My 11 year old Oldenburg mare has always had an odd barn habit of licking the metal pipe coral while she's eating. She'll take a bite of food, chew and swallow and then lick the metal bar a couple times. Any thoughts?
Mine do it too... particularly after given a treat.
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and is sometimes thought to indicate a mineral deficiency.
It's my belief that they like the taste and thus lick.
But you could try giving a mineral supplement with copper in it and see if that stops the behavior, in theory the copper is what the horse is seeking.
Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
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Well, one of mine does it and I'm really not sure how she could have a mineral deficiency given the excellent diet plus vitamin/mineral supplement she's been on forever. I use feedxl and hay analysis. According to my analysis, she is well over 100% on everything, and her copper is 148% of recommended daily intake.
She also has free access to loose minerals and loose salt. She licks those ocassionally but not that often.
She only licks the metal pipe panel gate after she eats - never at any other time.
My two older horses do that, and they didn't start until they got older, and it appears that they are trying to get the food that is stuck in their teeth/cheeks out that way - since at their ages, they have some spaces in their back teeth that cannot be corrected anymore by the equine dentist.
They lick the wall in their stalls, so it is part metal, part wood, and sometimes they do it on the backside of their feed tubs instead of the wall. I have also seen them lick the metal mesh stall door. And only when they eat or have been given a treat.
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I know quite a few horses that will do that. My mare usually NEEDS to lick SOMETHING after she's had a tasty snack. Either she'll lick the side of her little feed pan, or if I just handfed her a treat, she'll lick my palm with this glazed over look on her face like, "Awwww yeahhh."
I wouldn't worry about it. Horses are weird sometimes.
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