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Do horses lick to express affection?

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  • #41
    My horse definitely does in the mutual grooming sense mentioned.


    However, when he is mutually grooming with another horse he adds in random bites, seemingly just for the reaction though I don't know the actual reason. Therefore he doesn't get to "groom" me as he pleases.
    Originally posted by Silverbridge
    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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    • #42
      Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
      No.

      To me, it is a taste test,nd a potential predecessor to biting. Yes, I am sure those have horses that lick and never have been bit. It's personal space, to me. But I'm a grinch and don't give hand treats and if they get them, only in the buckets.

      The Grinch.

      I am not making judgements, but to those letting horses lick your face/lips etc. Please be careful. My roommante in college literally got 1/2 her nose ripped off and reconstructive surgery for years by her horse who "would never bite me, it's affection".

      Unlike dogs, licking is not a characterized submissive behavior in horses. I don't think I have ever observed my horses licking each other in a field, perhaps others have. Who knows how/why it develops in some horses. Yes, it is prob very adorable but please be careful. It gave me chills reading some of your posts. *not in a snarky way*

      This. I was thinking the same thing as PB as I was reading the different posts.
      NOT smart to have a horses mouth in your face no matter how sweet and gentle the horse is.
      You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

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      • #43
        Originally posted by Seal Harbor View Post
        Tasting you before they bite.
        This is true of my horse, he used to lick my hands, neck and insides of my elbows, now he nips me instead!

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        • #44
          Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post
          Curious-- for the licker-owners out there, where would you say your horse ranks in the herd? Wondering if it's a trait of more submissive horse personalities, or not correlated to that at all
          My Mare is the boss mare in her herd and loves to lick my hands, clothes etc.

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          • #45
            There was a horse a horse at a fair once that was really busy with his mouth. He'd make faces, stick his tongue out and lick whichever body part was at hand. Back then I thought it was cute but now i don't think I'd let him get this close to my face. He started licking my ear and, before I noticed it, he swallowed one of my earings. Good thing he didn't decide to grab a chunk of my ear instead.
            Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

            Originally posted by DottieHQ
            You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.

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            • #46
              My dear departed Arab gelding would "groom" me after I had groomed him. I discovered this by mistake one day. I'd finished grooming Guy and had my back turned to him, talking to another boarder when I felt his lips gently "massaging" my shoulders.

              My current gelding, a big puppy dog of a horse, likes to lick my hands, especially if I have been away for a few days. In both cases, I think this is affection.

              I knew a Hanoverian gelding years ago who liked to "hold hands" with people he liked. He was very gentlemanly about it. He'd hold the person's hand softly in his mouth. I could not get over the idea of the damage he might do if he ever did bite down, so can't say I enjoyed "holding hands" with him more than once.

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              • #47
                Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post
                Curious-- for the licker-owners out there, where would you say your horse ranks in the herd? Wondering if it's a trait of more submissive horse personalities, or not correlated to that at all
                All of my horses have been Alphas... Wonder what that says about me....

                Smeone mentioned that their horse also nickers when they come to the barn. Mine scream! Both mine and my mother's horse will whiny as loud as possible, like I've been missing for years and finally come back. My horse even does it if I've been in the tackroom too long. (Assuming he hasn't houdini-ed the latch and come looking for me.) I even have my own special whiny he only uses for me. Much higher pitched and and with more tremble to it. They do it outside too, and will come running. Sometimes I feel like I'm being stalked. LOL

                He is exactly the horses I wanted to have when I was a kid. That fantasy of the horse whinnying only and always to you. Comes running whenever you show up, gives you hugs and kisses... and lets you wrap your arms around his head and cuddle. However my first horse was the tempermental mare, that didn't like to be cuddled or have her face petted. She usually walked to the far side of the paddock when I showed up, and only nickered to me a handful of times. LOL Talk about a reality check... (But she loved me, and she made sure everyone knew it, in her own special way.)

                Sorry for the complete tangent...
                Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
                Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
                "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
                I love my Dublin-ator

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                • #48
                  Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post
                  Curious-- for the licker-owners out there, where would you say your horse ranks in the herd? Wondering if it's a trait of more submissive horse personalities, or not correlated to that at all
                  I vote for not correlated - at least, I've not seen any amongst the variously ranked lickers I have encountered.

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