Horse Kiss #12374

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The Story

Here are two Arabian horses sharing a horse kiss in the morning sunshine and newly fallen snow. We had them running in the new-fallen snow at first, then they stopped together and shared this bonding moment by sharing breath for almost a minute. I call it a horse kiss.

I used to enjoy sitting on the fence watching horses while observing their group herd behavior and interactions. That revealed a lot about horse behavior to me, as well as human nature being that horses and man are so much alike.

Horses have their chosen friends and cliques within a group. For instance, while observing horses, you can see a pair of buddies “chewing withers” while standing side by side. It’s simply a good backscratching that only the close horse buddies do with one another. Less often you will see the behavior shown here that I call a “horse kiss”. Smelling each other’s breath is the horsey way of better knowing your neighbor. It is done with this head-to-head exchange of full breath. They will stand like this for half a minute or so.

I have also sometimes seen this as a deep greeting for those who are first meeting. Or, it can be done to reinforce a deep bond between a pair who already know one another. That’s happening here with this “horse kiss”. The two horses are an actual breeding pair of barn mates that already had a long bond. Later on, there was a little foal that came to this pair of Arabian horses. You can see her in the picture Allegra #14370.

Things can go the opposite way during this breath exchange if the horses don’t care for one another or one tries to dominate. Then the horses explode into loud squealing, breaking quickly apart, and other horsey commotion. When it’s a boy-girl confrontation with new or infrequent breeding pairs, they often come right back together again just like humans.

Here’s another picture of this pair of horses taken the same day called Affectionate Horses #12396 which shows more of their close bond.

Location: Willow Hill, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Picture and story © Andrew Dierks

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