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This is a discussion on Licking? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    11-09-2013, 08:59 AM

Sometimes my horse licks me. Is this a normal part of horse behaviour and if so, what does it mean? ... Or have I just had some feed on me and not realised haha...
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    11-09-2013, 10:42 AM
Hahahahahaa, sometimes they lick for salt, and other times.. I don't know, but be careful some bite too!
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    11-09-2013, 11:28 AM
Green Broke
Do you do body wraps?

I had one done once and for about 2 weeks after I was mobbed by horses trying to lick my skin off every time I was within reach. I now know what a salt/mineral block feels like. LOL
    11-09-2013, 11:37 AM
My neighbor's horses did this, it was for the salt.
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    11-09-2013, 11:58 AM
Mine does it once in a great while. She only does it when she is very relaxed, and she often does NOT do it when I'm sweaty, so I'm guessing some sort of grooming thing.
    11-09-2013, 12:58 PM
One of my horses is a licker. He licks your skin, he never bites (or he'd be dead, he knows it too), for him it's a grooming thing. He will pull you in with his neck and start licking away. He reads my moods too, if he sees I am not in a mood to be licked, he stays away from the bossy old lead mare (me!).
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    11-09-2013, 01:30 PM
We have a gelding who can be a bit of a licker. He'll lick you hand if given a chance. But he really likes my nylon barn coat. This past summer I was out in the pasture walking around with an umbrella, opening and closing the thing. When he got close enough to sniff it and discovered it was nylon he went into a regular licking fit.
    11-09-2013, 01:34 PM
Sometimes it's behavioral, grooming, or otherwise, other times they are lacking salt in their diet, and so are licking you to get that salt. Normally in that case they are extra licky if you've been sweating. Just make sure he doesn't decide to take it a step further and bite you.
CountryGirlAtHeart likes this.
    11-09-2013, 04:14 PM
Green Broke
Our Appy was a licker. He licked everything: us, other horses, wood fences, pretty much anything. He would even lick the metal gate in the middle of winter. My wife had her glove stick to it but his tongue didn't.

Ghost licking metal gate - YouTube
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    11-09-2013, 09:18 PM
My mare and I have a ritual that has just evolved over time. Whenever I put her back from feeding, or riding, or am finished with ground work she puts her cheek next to mine, I hug her neck, she then faces me and licks the flat of my hand, sometimes for a very long time. She is never w/o a mineral block, so it didn't start for lack of salt. When I got my little haffie filly, she wanted to "join in", as usual, so I would offer my other hand, but she was too mouthy at the start. She eventually learned, now they both do it. So, for the haffie it is "mimicked" behavior and I don't know what pleasure she gets out of it. For my mare, it is just some form of "comfort" and, I like to believe, bonding.
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