When two horses touch noses and share breath....
When two horses touch noses and share breath, does the dominate or non dominate one pull away first?
And whats with the squeal?
It's a form of greating. Like most greetings it can mean something different. In this case it's depending on how each one "breathes". e.g. a hard snort sort of breath usually = a form of displeasure with the other horse. A soft, easy exchange of breath is just a friendly form. You'll probably find horses doing the same with people at times. Very often when I'm around a horse that's new to me (e.g. someone I know gets a new new horse) they might breathe in my face. My youngest will routinely come up and breathe into my face softly if I'm sitting in the pasture while my older mare seldom does it.
My horse also enjoys breathing softly into my nose its lbs not miles.
I have found it relaxes her when I do it, yet if I allow her to sniff the nose of another horse at pony club or on a trail she will often flatten her ears and squeal. So I don't allow her to sniff horses with another horse while under saddle or in hand.
When she behaves by lashing out at the horse whose nose she is sniffing, the other horse steps back or turns their head away. So I hypothetical that perhaps when she is touching noses in an aggressive manner, she is asserting dominance?
But then what does it mean when me and her touch noses, and she remains quiet and soft?
I'm just theorizing here. I've been puzzling over this for days, ha!
That's why I never let two horses meet for the first time while leading them or riding one of them. It's about as dangerous as walking a dog up to a new dog and letting them meet through a chainlink fence. It almost always results in a small fight. Horses that are allowed to interact for the first time need to figure out who is boss of the other, and that's where the squealing comes from. The nose touching = "are you another horse?" And the squealing = "okay, but I'M THE BOSS!" Then they race around and throw a few small kicks and pin their ears, and then they become friends.
Good idea Laffeetaffee. I also realized the dangers of the practice and now flex my mares nose away when standing close to another horse.
It really is a strange way to say hello isn't it? Imagine huffing in someone's face and going SQUEEEEE *stomp!*
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think think think Olivia ! I think that the horse that pulls away first which lifts their head up and shows aggression (what you call dominance) by standing taller and making themselves appear stronger is trying to be more dominant.
I don't have much of an opinion, but this thread made me smile because there's a gelding at my barn, Cash, whose owner we ride with frequently, and Jax LOVES him. They have their dominance scheme worked out and are total buddies. If we're both riding in the arena and I let my guard down, Jax will mosey right up to Cash and go nose-to-nose, forehead-to-forehead with him and sit happily like that for as long as I let him!
I went to try out a little gaited mare one day - I wasn't going to buy her - just trying a gaited horse. We rode for about an hour and the little mare reached out to my cousin's gelding and touched him on the nose - they sniffed for a second and then she squealed like a wild woman. Elan was so affronted he did a 180 and took off. My cousin and I laughed til we nearly fell off.
My hubby's horse Sarge always wants to put his muzzle right by my face and he sniffs in deeply...on my hair too. He is the funniest little fellow!!
If you blow in a horses nose lightly, they will almost always blow back. I do that to my filly every once in a while, and she will put up her ears and blow back lightly. It is a way of greeting, and is not always bad.
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