Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reader Question on Horse "Barring It's Teeth"

I received an e-mail from 14 year old Latasha in Florida who dearly wants to take horseback riding lessons and is trying to convince her Mom to let her. Latasha wrote she visits a local horse farm where she pets the horses but one horse "bares it's teeth" at her. Latasha's questions where "Is the horse mean or attemting to bite her?".

Latasha, I think what you are seeing is the "Flehmen" response where a horse curls up it's upper lip, exposing it's top teeth in order to open up the nostrils and smell what interested them. A horse will usually raise their head up and extend it's nose as well when they do this.

I've only seen two horses who liked to intentionally and maliciously bite people. The horses that I'm referring to both had postures and body language that gave them away, but they can still move quick so we were always rady for them. When my Mustang bit me, it was a defensive reaction, he just thought that's what he had to do - I held no grudge...he doesn't bit anymore.

If the horse that you are referring to in your e-mail had it's ears back and was lunging for you, then that's a diferrent story. If what you are seeing is like the horse in the video below, then it's a safe bet that the horse smells soap residue or perfume, or maybe your are just a different smell than it is used to. Maybe you can find somebody at the horse farm to talk to you. It's probably a good place to learn about horses, even if you just watch them and see how they interact with each their body language it's very interesting.

Good luck on convincing your Momma to let you take riding lessons. Horses are great for kids, you just have to find a good instuctor with safe horses. I think horse kids grow up with better personal skills that other kids in many cases. You'll learn to read body language and how to approach language barriers. And if you are cleaning stalls in the hot and cold seasons, and doing other chores you will pickup a good work ethic. Safe Journey.


  1. will a mare kick if i stick my tongue in it?

  2. how bout a stallion? will it like it? huh? huh?