Horses, like humans, all have unique personalities, characteristics, and habits. They display responses to stimulants and experiences that can cause us to question the meaning behind them. Some of these tendencies like nudging or following you around are relatively easy to decipher. Licking, however, leaves many equestrians and horse lovers confused.
Having your horse lick you can seem like an endearing sign of affection. In fact, you may reward that display of love with a treat! If your horse starts to lick you more than normal, it may be because you have been encouraging their behavior.
The same applies to dogs. If your horse licks your dog, most probably it’s also a sign of affection, and not a threat. Because of the nature of dogs and horses, it’s more than likely they’re going to get along just fine. They’re both companion animals who prefer company, and as long as they’re well-behaved and respectful, there shouldn’t be any issues.
But also, while there are horses who seem to lick as a sign of affection, this is not the primary reason a horse will lick you. Your horse could be licking you because their sodium levels are low, indicating a potential health problem. It could also be a sign of boredom or a lack of mental stimulation.
As you can see, the reasoning behind your horses’ licking can be quite complex. You are the best judge in determining the reason why your horse is licking you, your dog, or others.
When you are trying to understand why a horse licks you or their surroundings, it is important to pay attention to the outside variables that occur when they typically lick. What part of their daily routine do you find yourself in? Have you just finished a ride or training session? Are they looking for a treat? Have you noticed any other changes in their demeanor?
Keeping a mental or physical note of these facts will help you narrow down the reasoning behind your horses’ licking. Additionally, it will provide you with the information you need to address the licking habit if it becomes necessary.