Interesting behaviour - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting behaviour

Our mare was a little bit goofy last night with my daughter. They were in the arena together and the mare rolled and then ran around at full speed and bucked for a little bit just having a great time. When my daughter went up to her to bring her in the horse started to lick and smell her - ALL OVER! She did this for a really long time, licking and softly nibbling her jacket, (shoulders, arms, truck), her skort, bare legs and even her shoes! She licked every inch of my daughters bare legs and seemed to be really relaxed, almost in a trance. It seemed very sweet. My daughter just placed her hand very gently on the mares face and the mare just kept going and going at it. After my daughter walked away Lily smelled where she had been standing, walked around then came back to that same spot and smelled some more!

Is this just some extra affection? Has anyone else had their horse do this?
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 09:59 AM
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subbing. never seen this before. My horses only lick my hands when they're sweaty or had treats in them.
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 10:14 AM
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Thor licks me all the time. He gets very relaxed, cocks a hind leg, eyes get droopy and licks me and my clothing all over until sometimes my clothing will be completely soaked. He is usually most interested in doing it after I groom him so I guess he is grooming me back. A couple times when he was younger he tried to nibble my clothing but I put a stop to it fast because I have a firm rule of no tooth contact at all any time, could turn from small nibbles into big nibbles into a bite, seen it happen before with other horses.

A lot of people tell me he is after salt on my skin but I really don't think that's it as he has free choice salt and minerals and most of the time I am not sweaty or very dirty when he does it. If I don't want to get wet I make him back off and he will still stand there watching me and sticking his tongue out licking the air. He only does this with me, although he will occasionally give my dad an odd lick or two but nobody else.
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 10:23 AM
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Three of our four horses like to lick my daughter and I. Our big guy, Sam will give a total body lick if he can. When they lick, they all seem really relaxed just like you described. I don't think they do it for the salt since my husband has quite salty skin and they never offer to lick him. They will also lick clothing.

I would be interested to know what this behaviour means as well. Maybe it is like they are grooming members of their herd?
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Alright - the horse is still at it this morning! We went to feed her and put her out this morning before school and Lily didn't even want her breakfast. The minute my daughter opened her stall Lily started in on her coat. She was so busy licking and muzzling her coat that it was a challenge to get her halter on. Then we took her out to the paddock and Lily didn't even want her breakfast she just wanted to lick and smell my daughter. My daughter had to grab a handful of hay and put it in front of Lily's mouth to get her to begin eating. She is so relaxed and happy doing this it's as if she is getting high or something! It's pretty funny!
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 12:53 PM
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Maybe she thinks your daughter is her very own little filly or something lol

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post #7 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 01:22 PM
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Maybe its a away for her to show her affection for her. Being that she dont do it to you husband.
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 01:25 PM
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I know that horses lick other horses when they're lacking salt, minerals, electrolytes, etc... Does your horse have a salt/mineral lick?

Could be that she's just being a sweetie but it does make me wonder...

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. Robert A. Heinlein
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 02:08 PM
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Could this have anything to do with a menstral cycle? I mean, if your daughter had her period, she might smell quite differently. But, then why would the horse not do it every time? And your daughter is pretty young, if I remember correctly. hm m m . maybe not.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-06-2012, 03:04 PM
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my mare always used to do this. interestingly enough, after having bought her back after not having her for two years, she doesn't do it so much now. she's also being rehabbed weight and mentality wise so it might be that. as she is filling in and realizing life isn't so bad she's starting to lick more. maybe your mare is just that happy. :)
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