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Discuss Discussion: What does licking mean to you? at the Horse Chat forum - Horse Forums.

I know there are a lot of different opinions as to what licking means, as ...
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    Question Discussion: What does licking mean to you?

    I know there are a lot of different opinions as to what licking means, as in a horse licking your hand, arm, ect.. Dominance over you, submissive to you, comfort, contentment, the list goes on.

    I think it is a contentment behavior. My horse will lick my hand when she is relaxed and happy. I also think they like and possibly benefit from the salt.

    What is your opinion?
    Last edited by riding_reaper; 01-02-2007 at 09:53 AM.
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    Senior Member Teaka_Winnie's Avatar
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    I agree with you..but also after feeding my horse something, she always licks me hand afterwards..probably looking for more food
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    Senior Member+ SilentSpring's Avatar
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    It means I have something yummy on me

    Seriously though, I never really thought about it. My mare doesn't usually just lick you for no reason, though I've certainly been around horses and have ridden horses who do lick you. I can't see it as them being dominant over you...and although I think you're right that it could be because they are relaxed and happy, I personally think it probably has more to do with the salt on your hands.
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    Senior Member+ faroutfax's Avatar
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    3 of my guys won't stop it. They are definately respectful of me. I think they just like the taste of my hands...
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    A few of ours have done it, but only in the summer on a sweaty day of work to lick the salt off our skin. Most horses, I do not allow them to "invade" my space that way so they do not have the opportunity to lick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doublebarr
    to lick the salt off our skin.
    Regal likes to lick clothing. He loves to lick sleeves and shirtfronts!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindsayanne
    Regal likes to lick clothing. He loves to lick sleeves and shirtfronts!
    It's also a grooming method between horses. However, it can go both ways, either showing respect for you as a "higher in the pecking order" status, or they are showing dominance over you by licking, before biting to put you back in your "lower in the pecking order" status.

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    I always thought it was grooming. Horses lick each other to groom so I always thought my mare did it to clean me. She is my buddy so I thought it was a herd thing.
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    Well it depends on the situation of course.....
    Polly is a licker. She will follow me around if she's feeling lovey and lick my coat and hat. She will lick any hand she can, if allowed--she's a terrible piggy, and always hopeful. She has never nipped, and she has beautiful ground manners, something I demand of all of my horses.
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    RR, good thread!
    I think all the above!
    I have many different personalities in the herd and they all do it at different times.
    The do it when submission should be there, they do it to each other, they do it to me when I am not paying any attention to them..... I dunno.
    Maybe its more on a contentment tone than we think. After all. When they resign to the fact that you have succeeded in becoming the dominant factor in what ever session you were in - don't you think they are 'content' with that resignation?
    Like "OK you win"
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