Why Do Horses Bite Each Other’s Necks? (Top 7 Reasons)

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 09/15/22 •  9 min read

Why do horses bite each other’s necks? Have you ever given it a thought? Is it normal? Does that cause any harm to the bitten horse? 

It is not uncommon to see horses biting other horses if you have horses. Most of the time, they bite each other’s necks. Sometimes they also try to do that with a human! But why do they do that? What’s the reason behind it? Can you stop it?

Horses bite each other or humans for a couple of reasons. Today we are going to discuss them. We will also tell you how to stop them and how to treat horse bites on humans. Do you want to tag along with us on the journey? If yes, start reading already!

horse biting other horses

Why do horses bite each other’s necks?

Are you a new horse owner? Are you getting confused by the way horses to behave? Do you see them fighting each other and biting too?

Well, every animal has their way of behaving. Horses are no different. It’s only natural you may not understand some of their acts. But that doesn’t mean they are trying to harm.

So, next time you see a horse trying to bite another one in the shelter, do not take upon the heroic role and try to separate them. What you think aggression may be a simple, friendly gesture. So, wait and try to figure out what they are actually doing. 

The list of reasons why do horses bite each other’s necks is pretty long. But don’t worry, I won’t bore you. We have listed 7 major and common reasons behind this act which you can find below. 

1. It’s playtime!

It may seem like your horses are fighting each other’s heads off. But in reality, they are probably just playing. Just like any other animal, horses love to play. As they grow up, they try to find a playmate with whom they can do mock fighting, jumping, running, etc. 

So, if you find your horse biting other horses, look closely if any of the ones are hurt. If not, don’t worry and let them have fun.

2. Bond with the other

How do you communicate with another human? Only by talking? Don’t you use skin ships, body language, and other ways to state your point? You definitely do. 

But horses can’t talk verbally, so they have found some interesting communication methods. They like to nibble or bite on each other’s necks in an attempt to get to know them. There is no aggression, no violence in that act. You will find them calm and collected throughout the action. If that happens, let them bond with each other.

3. Protective nature

Just like humans, horses can be pretty possessive about their properties. If another horse tries to steal their food or territory, they instinctively go into protective mode. At that time, their sole purpose is to establish their power. So, it may start to fight with other horses. And in the process, it may end up biting the neck of the other horse. 

There’s another thing horses are very protective about. It’s their mate and foal. They may aggressively fight others if they think that any of those two are in danger.

4. Sign of affection 

Biting the neck is a sign of affection among horses. Unlike us, they don’t have many ways to convey their feeling. So, they have settled on using their body language to take the lead.

If a horse is fond of another one, wants to make friends with it, or loves its company, you may find it scratching or biting that particular horse’s neck. And when we say biting, it doesn’t mean sinking their canines into the other one’s vein. It’s more like nibbling.

Why do horses bite each other’s necks?

5. Mutual grooming 

The way owners and trainers groom horses, sometimes horse also groom each other. How so? When your horse learns something new, you praise it by brushing your hand on its head, neck, and body, don’t you? Similarly, when a young fellow does something praiseworthy, the older one praises it the way you do. 

Most time, while doing this mutual grooming, horses follow the pecking order. It is not common to see a horse of lower pecking order biting a horse of higher pecking to groom. However, it is very quite usual for horses in the same sheds. 

Related: When Can My Foundered Horse Eat Grass Again?

6. Health issue 

As an owner, you know your horse the best. No one knows its behavior pattern better than you. So, if your horse is generally calm and doesn’t like to share bonding and biting with other horses, it is an alarming sign if it suddenly starts to bite others.

There is a high possibility that your horse is having some health issues. So, without wasting any longer, contact your vet immediately. 

7. Vicious nature 

Some horses are born vicious. They don’t need to have any reason to start biting other horses. It’s just his nature.

Now, this biting can be both friendly and aggressive. It is the most aggressive, though. In this case, you need to train your horse strictly. Get help from professional trainers if you don’t know how to get a horse to stop biting other horses for no reason.

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Can you stop the horse’s neck bite?

As we have said earlier, horses can bite each other for various reasons. It is a part of their characteristics. However, there’s a difference between the horses projecting this particular behavior, aka biting. 

Some horses bite each other to communicate, praise, and show affection. But there are some too that like to be aggressive. They bite to injure other horses. If not prevented early, they may also try the same behavior as humans! So yes, it is necessary to stop horses when they try to bite. 

If you ask how to get a horse to stop biting each other, is it even possible? I would say yes. It is possible. All you need to do is find out the cause of the biting and arrange appropriate training according to that. 

1. Find out the reason

If you know the reason why your horse is biting, it will be easier for you to handle the situation. There may be health problems, discomfort during riding, etc. You may have to call your vet for a routine checkup. It just knows the cause and helps you to take necessary measures. 

2. Teach to respect

Your horse may try to bite you the same way it does with other horses. It may not be very fatal, but indeed a warning sign. If it gets a green card from you, it will try to do it with everyone, including strangers. And that’s not what you would want. 

Teach him who his owner is and the power you have over him. Teach him to respect you no matter what. It is best if you can train him not to bite anymore. 

3. Train from young age

Horses generally start nibbling at a very young age. Even though they mostly do it to show affection, it shouldn’t be tolerated because it may lead to the development of biting habits in the future. So, whenever your horse shows any sign of biting, strictly train him not to do so.

Related: Is it expensive to own a horse?

4. Professional training

Professionals know the best what to do with a horse with a biting habit. During mating, horses may bite each other on the neck. But other than that, especially aggressive behavior should be strictly prevented. And for that, professional trainers are the best option. 

Do horses bite people?

We often get to see pictures of horse bites on humans. That clearly points out that horses indeed bite people. But why?

Why do horses bite humans? Do they bite without any reason? Of course not, unless it’s an ill horse or vicious. 

If your training process is very hard on the horse, it may bite you to show discomfort. Also, if the saddle you use during riding is way too tight or heavy on the horse, it may bite you as a protest. 

Another thing that may cause horses to bite humans. It is when they don’t get enough food. Hungry horses are the worst. You definitely wouldn’t want to encounter one. 

How do they bite? Is it harmful?

Horses may bite both lightly or heavily. Depending on how it uses its mouth and teeth to bite, the severity of the bite changes. 

If it bites when you feed it directly from your hand and mistakenly bites on your hand, it will create a nasty bruise. Similarly, if it suddenly attacks you in the neck as it does with other horses, it may cause grievous hurt. 

But little nibbling is not that much harmful. Generally, they don’t cause serious injuries. However, this behavior should not be appreciated. It may cause horses to develop a future biting habit. And he may execute it on humans. 

Horses have strong mandibles and teeth, enough to cause abrupt pressure injuries. So, being cautious is necessary. 



1. What does it mean when a horse bites another horse’s neck?

It may mean showing affection, communicating with others, playful fighting, or maybe due establishing leadership about the herding group, etc. 

2. What does it mean when horses bite each other?

Horses may bite each other to bond, affecting the desire to mate, giving a sense of protection to the foals, etc. However, it can also be a sign of aggression. 

3. How do horses show affection to each other?

Horses generally show affection to each other by nibbling on the neck, licking, and biting around the neck region. 


Horses sometimes act weird and all of a sudden go on biting everyone they see. That’s a worrying matter. Your horse can have health issues or something else. However, in general cases, horse biting each other or humans is not that dangerous. But still, you should be cautious. 

Today, we have tried to point out some common reasons why horses bite each other’s necks. Now you can quickly identify which particular one is affecting your horse. You can take further action according to that. We hope that the article was helpful to you. Have a great time with your horse. 

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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