How can you tell if your horse loves you? - Page 2
 
 

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How can you tell if your horse loves you?

This is a discussion on How can you tell if your horse loves you? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Is a horse licking you a sign of affection
  • Foal licking walls behavior

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    03-23-2013, 08:10 PM
  #11
Started
I don't think licking you like a dog is a sign of love or affection. Licking is often used interchangably with moving a horses mouth, like a lot of foals do. Which some evidence suggest is a sign of submission, a foal does it to say "I am a baby don't hurt me". Its thought that when working some horses will do this behavior, termed "licking and chewing" to express that submission. Licking you like a dog is usually a sign that you have something sticky on your hands and the horse is comfortable putting its mouth near you.

I agree with dancing arabians about how a horse expresses trust. I took my nervous nelly boy out on a solo trail ride. I somehow decided that it was a good idea to ride him over a bunch of rotten slash. So, he was sinking through this rotten wood as I tried to navigate him out of it while trying to avoid what I thought was really bad section of it. I could feel him tense and wanting to rush willy nilly back to the barn but he listened to me and my cues. We got out of the slash and went on a little trip farther away from the barn. That was when I realized that he trusted me a little bit.

To me, you don't know a horse trusts you until the horse is in a situation in which it has to trust you. A challenge is presented and the horse can either leave and say screw you or it can say I am not comfortable but I am doing this with you. Walking around the barn does not in my opinion meet this criteria. Trusting me to feed you is not a big deal ( I do that everyday) trusting and listening in a new situation where the horse is not comfortable means more.
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    03-23-2013, 08:13 PM
  #12
Started
In addition, even in dogs licking is a sign of submission. Watch a group of dogs interact and they will all go up and lick the lower jaw of the more dominant member. This is because as young puppies they stimulate the mother or father to regurgitate food by licking the jaw and mouth. This behavior as adults or puppy means"don't hurt me I am a baby who relies on you for food". The most extreme form of submission in dogs is of course a roll over with urination. That just says " I am so low here is all my vulnerable bits and if you choose to attack me I will not defend myself."
     
    03-23-2013, 08:52 PM
  #13
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by daystar88    
I'm not trying to be rude but where did you get that info from?! Because when a horse licks you that means that they trust you.
Where did you get your info...?
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    03-23-2013, 09:04 PM
  #14
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by daystar88    
I'm not trying to be rude but where did you get that info from?! Because when a horse licks you that means that they trust you.
My friends horse licks everything, including people, to get the taste of things. She licks skin for the salty taste, licks walls after she eats grain to be able to lick it later for the taste. One day, those licks could turn into innocent little nips. And those nips go into biting
     
    03-23-2013, 10:57 PM
  #15
Green Broke
I know horses can and do love their humans, not the way we love them but they do show affection to their people. "My" horse friends always greet me at the fence with a hello winny, Tequila follows me around step for step, Cheyenne lets me hug her and will actually hug me back, and Bonnie is always the first to nicker to me. I've also had horses that loved to lick my hands like a dog and never had any behavior issues with them.
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    03-23-2013, 11:14 PM
  #16
Weanling
My horse licks my hands... I think I am a human salt lick! My daughters trainer believes that a horse licking you is the same as horses 'grooming' each other, and is kind of a mutual affection. Not love by any means, but the same affection they feel for a pasture mate.
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    03-23-2013, 11:32 PM
  #17
Yearling
Welcome to the forum and my horse will see me and stop what he is doing to come over to me, he is out with other horses so to me that is love
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    03-24-2013, 09:51 AM
  #18
Foal
Yesterday when I was singing to my horse for 1 hour she was falling asleep with her head in my hands. About 4 hours later I started to whistle the same tune and she came running to me. I don't know what you all would call that but to me that is a bond that is truly growing! And to answer some questions I got my info from the internet. 99 percent of it said that when a horse licks you that means they trust you. And if someone says that isn't true I think that they have never been licked be a horse and they are just jealous! (not trying to be mean!!)
     
    03-24-2013, 10:59 AM
  #19
Yearling
Everyone here as their own special bond with a horse.

The people here are trying to give you advice so that this "affection" does not hurt you in the end. Horses are powerful and if they believe they can push you around to scare you into submission, they WILL.
     
    03-24-2013, 11:30 AM
  #20
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by daystar88    
and to answer some questions I got my info from the internet. 99 percent of it said that when a horse licks you that means they trust you. And if someone says that isn't true I think that they have never been licked be a horse and they are just jealous! (not trying to be mean!!)
Yes, because they can't put anything on the Internet that isn't true. *rolls eyes*

My horse doesn't lick me. Ever. He will put his nose on my hand, but that is as close as I want his mouth to my person. I do not want to be licked. I think it's disgusting (I don't even let my dogs lick me unless I specifically ask them to). So no, I'm not jealous that your horse licks you. At all.

FWIW, I know my gelding "loves" (read: trusts) me. He lets me do things to him that he won't let anyone else and he will follow me (on a loose lead) through anything. This has also transferred to the saddle, in that he'll go anywhere I point him, even if he's unsure of it. With as green as he is, it's not his training that makes him do anything I ask. It's that he trusts me to not put him in danger.
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