Rider Insider: Your Horse’s Favorite Thing

Horse Friends


Dew drops on roses and whiskers on kittens are nice, but your horse probably doesn’t give them much thought. He undoubtedly has his own ideas about what the finer things in life truly are.

Does he eagerly anticipate the moment he is brought out to the pasture after breakfast in the morning? Does he live for the moment his best equine buddy returns to the field after being out on a ride? Is he obsessed with those fancy pink salt blocks? Would he trade his carrots for a few minutes of scratching behind his withers?

Of course every horse wants the basics: food, water and companionship. But we want to know about those quirky loves that make your horse unique. Tell us about them in the comments below. Some of the best responses could be included in an upcoming issue of Horse Illustrated!

This month, Noble Outfitters is sponsoring the Rider Insider column in Horse Illustrated with a prize for the selected featured response. If you’d like to be considered for a prize, make sure to include your contact info in the email field of the comment form (emails will not be publicly displayed.)

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  1. My horse loves to learn new things. I have started clicker traning and he loves it. In arena he enjoys me weaving between poles and playing new games and trying new things with him. The norm bores him. He wants that brain to work.

  2. Eli likes to pick up his food bowl and carry it around! The first time I saw him do it my mouth dropped open because I didn’t know he would do something like that!
    Cinnamon tries to get treats out of my back pocket!

  3. Doc liked to jump. He was just learning, and it was so sweet, how he tried so hard to please me! my instructor said he was finding that he can be Superman.

  4. My boy Tex loves floor work and free jumping, we do everything together like a perfect team, it gives me such pride and joy. He also adores apples and will do anything, and I mean ANYTHNG, to find them once he’s got the scent of them!! I could just burst with the love I have for him, he’s not just my horse, my boy, he’s also my best friend and companion.

  5. I like to think that my horse loves the sound of my voice. If he hears me speak, even if I’m far away, he lets out a sweet neigh that melts my heart.

  6. My horses Mickey,my mare, and Thunder,my gelding, love to run and be scratched behind the ears. On those really windy days I’ll go out ,get one, and when we get to our running spot, i swear we start to fly.

  7. My horse, HezaBrat (but he’s not a Brat). Loves for me to come to his pasture in the evening , when the day is almost finished, and have me jump on his back, bareback and bridle-less with prefect freedom, we enjoy a ride him around the paddock . Both of us romp and play in sync and have total freedom with each other! What a sweet way to end our day! It’s our best time together, before our goodnight kiss and the perfect end to each of our days!

  8. My horse LOVES face farts. Not actual farts of the smelly variety but where you blow air on the soft skin of his nose like you would on a baby’s belly. We always laugh because if you move away he tries to follow you for more.

  9. As a seasoned and very broke 14 year old, the monotony of arena work can really get to my mare. However, when we go out for a hack on the trail, she turns into a spunky and fun-loving 4 year old! Whether it’s galloping down the path, or stealing a bite of greenery when she thinks I’m not paying attention, trail rides are hands-down my mare’s favorite thing in the world.

  10. My Horse Apache loves his treats. He gets two at breakfast and two at dinner time. And if I don’t have any he gets upset and kinda pouts like a little kid because he didn’t get a treat. So I make sure I keep the treat bags full.

  11. My 3yr old Arab/paint gelding, Sebastian, has loved his 44″ blue and yellow ball since he was born. He doesn’t waste much energy doing anything but when that ball comes out, he canters it around,doing flying changes,body slams it,and has a blast!

  12. My horse Scout LOVES to have his chest scratched. He’ll cock and bob his head up and down and flap his lips. When I stop, he tries to follow me and beg for more.

  13. My horse Lakota loves her upper thighs scratched! She will bob her head up and down and her bottom lip will quiver while watching me. Last week she lifted up her leg to tell me “Hey keep scratching!!”

  14. My two love their turnout. They splash through the creek over and over, my gelding loves to lie down in it, and they race around and around until they settle in to have a round of grazing. It’s so fun to watch.

  15. JD loves his grain. I mean, LOVES. If he hears you making his bowl he will push anyone out of the way to get it. I can put it across the field and so long as hecsees where you put it, he will run to it.

  16. My horse loves sucking on my wrist, like literally holds it in his mouth like it’s a pacifier when he’s super relaxed or when he’s super nervous. When I first got him, I thought he was trying to bite me until I realized what he was actually doing. Now I always return from competitions with a slobbered wrist.

  17. Every time my mare gets a treat, be it carrots and apples or cookies, she always sticks her tongue out of her mouth and sucks on her tasty treat for about five minutes. It is the cutest thing!

  18. My horse Mia loves a game of tag or hide and seek. I hide and whistle and she comes and finds me but gets mad if your in a tree she will point at you with her nose and swing her head around and starts rearing up.

  19. When I bring my horse his favorite treat, granola bars, he curls his upper lip and has the biggest smile ever. It’s the cutest and sweetest thing he does.

  20. My mini Chance loves to run and he loves to trick people when he is free lunging. Chance is very fast and he will slide to make you think he is going the other way that he was going before. Chance will also weave around you multiple times so you loose track of where he’s going…

  21. My horse loves anything unique. This includes beets and apple juice in a sippy-cup. My horse gladly drinks out of the sippy lid without a suspicion and ends up bowing for more!

  22. My old thoroughbred just loves to be himself. He is quirky, so that includes zipping zippers, eating my hair, resting his nose on top of my head, finding the peppermints at the bottom of my trunk, and following me around like a puppy. He has been found sitting in the pasture like a dog! He is quite a funny fellow!

  23. My mare loves bathes. She likes to take them after a hard workout or just when it’s hot. But I also love it because it means time with just me and my horse.

  24. My name is Twist the Horse. I love looking out the window of my stall. I cock my back heel, relax, and just feel the cool breeze that runs through the barn. Many times, I’ll stick my nose out to a passing human and score a carrot or two. Even if there’s no humans around, it’s a good place to rub noses with my neighbor, Son. Since he’s a colt, he might bite me, but I’ll bite back. See you at the window! — Twist.

  25. The mare I ride at my barn, named Robin, likes to rub on people. In her opinion I am her personal scratching post! She’s a paint too, and has to have sun screen rubbed on her nose, which is then transferred to my shirt. In the end, we both smell sort of funky and have white splotches all over us…

  26. On a hot summer day I’ll be turning on the hose to water the garden, when, before you could say Jack Robinson, Jordan will be standing right there staring eagerly at the arch of water. He’ll turn around and around so that the cool water will not miss an inch of his body, and then when he’s satisfied, he’ll trot off and roll in the dirt! Getting wet is his favorite thing to do, especially when it’s 120 degrees!

  27. My OTTB Jackson is obsessed with lunch! I don’t know how he knows, but he definitely knows when it’s noon and lunchtime, and no matter what we are doing his primary objective becomes getting back to his pasture. For lunch, Jackson gets alfalfa, grain, supplements, and yummy, yummy treats, including apples, bananas, and carrots, as well as black licorice and cookies. AND he completely particular about his licorice and cookies, only certain brands are acceptable. He even begs for them by lifting up his left leg and waving his hoof at you. Lunch time is serious business!

  28. My Rocky Mountain horse R.J. loves to act dead when I’m rubbing and grooming him then when I get on him He loves to act like a high strung racehorse! When I’m on him he loves to spook at things like ‘fake butterflies’! R.J. is not perfect but I love him!

  29. My mare loves to get in the water tub and paw inside it so it splashes her everywhere. she gets in it so often we had to get two water tubs, one for drinking and one for her cold foot water for her to get in, and my gelding gets right next to her while she does it so he can be splashed off too.

  30. I think we both make each other very happy. Every time I see him he nickers, and every time I see him I feel a happy feeling seep through me. Plus he also really loves his itchy spot being scratched, and every once in a while he looks at me with big brown eyes and weakens me into some sort of sweet delight.

  31. Carrots! They make my Paint’s little heart sing. He will do almost anything (including let about 50 children get on and off of him) for a piece of carrot. I honestly think if we held a carrot up high enough, he would stand on his hind legs for it.

  32. I have the fork part of a broken rake in my tack box.
    He nudges it with his nose so I will take it out and scratch him with it.
    Dereks head goes all the way up, nose and top lip all the way out and almost falls over when I get “right there thats the spot!”

  33. Mocca loves little kids. She’ll follow my little sister around in the pasture and when we go for walks. Mocca’s done birthday parties before and the she goes crazy (in a good way) with all the girls petting her all over; it’s so adorable!!

  34. My horse is obsessed with Gatorade bottles. Any time I have a Gatorade bottle I have to let him have a sip or else he’ll knock it right out if my hand and spill it everywhere. He also loves holding the Gatorade bottle in his mouth and shaking his head up and down and watching the bottle move in between his lips.

  35. My horse loves trails! Once we get on flat ground he brings out his inner thoroughbred and runs as fast as he can! He is always happy to get out of the arena and so am I!

  36. my lesson horse LOVES carrots! when you give her one she will follow you around like a little puppy until she get’s another, if not she will stare at you longingly as you walk away before realizing that she is wasting precious grazing time!

  37. My horse loves getting kisses. When you put him back in his stall you always have to do the following: give him a treat, scratch his chest, the as you’re walking away, you have to give him a kiss. What he does is push him muzzle just barely through the bars on his stall door and before you walk away u have to give him a kiss on his little pink nose or else he will be very offended.

  38. My lesson horse loves getting baths! When I turn on the hose he will pick it up and wave it all around, which leaves me soaked. Then, when when I start putting shampoo on him, he will stand as still as a rock. But, the cutest thing is the look of pleasure on his face. He will let his eyes droop and stick his nose up in the air. It is definately his favorite thing to do!

  39. My Oldenburg/Morgan gelding Champ LOVES being touched more than anything in the world. If your hands are not on him, he will stretch to put his body the closest to the nearest human as he can (be it his nose, shoulder or tail). He looks around with a desperate look until you put your hands back on him. He goes into a trance and relaxes when touched. His favorite places are his haunches, shoulder, withers, neck, girth area, belly, sheath and face (yes…basically everywhere).

  40. My horse enjoys a Curry brush applied to his chest and he shows how much he loves that by curling his head down and under and his lips quiver. He also loves a scratch right above the withers and lifts his head up and twists dose a lip smacking facial expression. Lightly scratch his legs and he will nicker and kiss your hand to say more please.


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