When I'm mucking out around her in the evening or if I generally just crouch low to the floor my young horse will always come over and sniff my head.

She used to occassionally go to bite (never managed to make contact) until one day my head made contact with her teeth when I stood up. Now she just stands there sniffing me.

I feel that this is normal and she's quite curious to see what I'm doing but I could be wrong. Is there any explanation for this?

1 Answer 1


This is open to interpretation, but there's a couple of more obvious reasons for this behaviour.

In part, particularly for younger horses, this is a modified grooming action. My young horses do this and even nibble on my hair when I'm scratching their necks or backs, as if you watch horses mutually grooming, that is what they are attempting to do to me. With the one exception, they have been taught not to use their teeth on people. My rising 6yo mare does this with me.

They also sniff as a way to gain information. Where you have been, who and what you have been mingling with. Such busybodies! Horses will greet each other frequently and sniff as a way of checking each other out. Particularly given we humans put so many different scents on us throughout the day with a showering and deodorant routine. I avoid wearing perfume of body sprays around my horses and try and use a non-invasive smelling deodorant.

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  • 1
    From what you've said it sounds like she is being curious and you've taught her that biting is not ok. So she's checking you out while you're on the ground :)
    – user6796
    Mar 3, 2020 at 16:57
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    Ah yes! When I scratch her she does attempt to groom me but doesn't use her teeth she brushes me with her lips instead. It sounds silly but I hadn't even thought of her attempting to initiate grooming with me and I've just thought of another question :') Mar 3, 2020 at 17:11
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    She is and best let her do it <3 (but keep your ears safe :P )
    – kaiya
    Mar 8, 2020 at 22:16

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