How can you tell if your horse loves you? - Page 3

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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

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    03-24-2013, 02:46 PM
I looked up "what makes a horse lick my hands" and almost every response said "salt"... so you must use a different internet than I do. BUT... remember if you do a search and the answers are all from other 'non-experts' their guess is as good as yours ( or mine ) If anyone has a good "expert' answer ( like Julie Goodnight or CLinton Anderson... not someone on Yahoo. Answers ( or even here!) I would like to hear it. ( I mean that seriously ) Anyone?
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    03-24-2013, 04:53 PM
Green Broke
I think horses also lick as a calming mechanism.

My horse always snuffles under your shirt and licks your back (or munches/sucks on your shirt if it's tucked in) whenever you pick up his front right foot. He definitely does not love the farrier or the Vet.... but he licks/chews them just the same. If I need him to calm down, I can hold my hands under his nose for licking.

I was recently helping someone blanket a mostly unhandled pony who was freezing and was trying to hold her still without standing in reach of her hooves (she is a nasty, nasty rearer when she is scared) and when I reached from her side under her nose, she started licking my hand. I held both of them out and while shaking from fear, she stood still while licking my hands until her blanket was on.

Everyone has multiple salt blocks, so it's not a lack of salt.

I am 100% sure the licking is not a sign of affection... my horse HATES the Vet but he'll lick him.
    03-24-2013, 05:19 PM
I'd like to know who actually spoke to a horse and the horse told them that they do not love like we do... NO I am not saying I think they Do or do not love us. But to say you know how a horse feels seems a bit far fetched I have seen some horses have some pretty human like emotions before and Other animals too.

OP it sounds like you have a great bond with your horse
HorseLovinLady likes this.
    03-24-2013, 10:58 PM
Licking does *not* always lead to biting, that totally depends on the horse. Just like you can hand feed treats to certian horses no prob, others will start to become aggressive about it. My current horse of the past eight years is fine with hand fed treats. She will also search for treats gently using her lips. She knows where the line is, and she knows she would get clobbered by mommy if teeth *ever* come into the equation.

Not all horses are like that, maybe by nature, maybe by handling. Licking is sometimes just that. Exploration of who someone is and what they have going on. I would also be much more wary of "oral activity" with younger horses. Because they are in a stage of testing limits, searching with lips and tongue will often lead to an experimental bite. I don't let younger horses put their mouths on me at all. It is actually my practice, for horses younger than, oh maybe four years, to not hand feed them. I put their treats in a bucket. After they get older, all of my horses have been able to accept hand given treats politely.

You never know, sometimes your horse is put in a position of being a good equine ambassador. When we went on vacation once, a family with small children came over to pet my mare. They asked if their little boy could feed her a treat. My mare waited patiently while I showed the little boy how to hold his hand flat and still, and then she gently lipped up the treat. He was thrilled (and of course wanted to do it again), but because I have taught my mare nice manners, a non horsey family had a positive experience with horses. We always need the backing of the public with horse issues, we should always try to make a good impression. I was so proud of my girl that day.
NinitheNinja likes this.
    03-24-2013, 11:53 PM
Horses respect or disrespect us as leaders or herd mates.
    03-25-2013, 12:34 AM
I second KountryPrincess' point. Some horses can 'lick' without getting mouthy in the same way some can be hand fed. Jackson occasionally licks me, and also gets hand fed cookies. But he isn't pushy or mouthy- at the first sign of disrespectful behaviour all hand fed treats will be cut off and the behaviour will be corrected, but I don't see that happening in the near future. The thing is... Jackson also licks his buckets, the fence, gate, horse trailer, etc. I'm not 100% sure what 'licking' means to a horse, and I'm sure it can mean different things to different horses (submission, grooming, mouthy testing behaviour).

The thing that concerns me about your post is your attitude along with some of the other details. Most of what you find on the internet is true (in reputable places) a HUGE chunk of it is not, and it seems to me that you're not looking at any good, reputable sources. You seem like a young girl who is very naive in the whole 'horse ownership' category, and unfortunately like an accident waiting to happen. Your horse does not love you in a human sense, and the licking, combined with your horse 'protecting' you tells me that your horse may not respect you very much. Horses protect the weaker ones in the herd, and just as often lash out at the weaker ones to put them in their place. I think you need to find a good trainer who can help sort you out and establish some general respect with your animal (along with getting your horse to respect OTHER people, it's very dangerous to have a 'one man horse').
rookie likes this.
    03-25-2013, 09:42 AM
Maybe our skin gives off more than just salt. What about potassium or other minerals? This isn't the same as found in a salt or salt/mineral lick. If my horse tried to lick me it means he's invaded my space and even if he was cutesy, licking me? Ycccchhh!
    03-26-2013, 10:17 PM
I personally believe that my horse sees me as a source of food and leadership. She respects me enough to not be aggressive and get in my way. She does occasionally challenge me under saddle, but she is swiftly put in her place when she does. I'm personally not a fan of humanizing horses at all, they have a completely different mindset than we do.

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