Quirky or Distressed? Why Horses Flap their Lips

Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by Allison Price

Your horse’s lips may be flapping when he starts to do this.

People can find great entertainment in the hollow sound that horses make when their lips are fluttering together. This behavior may not be a normal one. Take a moment to look into the cause.Training may have helped a horse that flaps his lips when being ridden.

If your horse is fluttering his lips and appears relaxed while sitting still in his stall, it’s probably a sign of quirkiness. If the behavior is unusual and is accompanied with pacing, walking, or other signs of agitation it could indicate discomfort, colic, or stress. If you think your horse may be sick, keep an eye on him and take his temperature.

Why Horses Flap their Lips

Your veterinarian may recommend more forage or turnout time to calm your horse’s flapping lips. However, you should also rule out any other physical causes. To ensure that your horse is comfortable and healthy, ask your veterinarian for a complete oral exam.

It is usually a sign of stress if a horse flails his lips while riding. Active lip-flapping can be different from a relaxed horse’s droopy lower lip. Take a step back and review your riding and training, maybe with the assistance of an impartial trainer. You might be worried that your horse is anxious about an event or exercise.

Remember that lip-flapping can occur immediately following a stressful event or in anticipation. If you suspect that you have made an association, you can adjust your training to lower his stress levels and then see if the behavior changes.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!