It's not pearly or white, but this happy horse loves to show off his smile.
Like dogs and cats, most horses love being pet. Gentle touches on the neck, shoulders, and nose feel good, and they'll do everything they can to get a person to keep petting.
The horse in this video seems to particularly enjoy being rubbed on the nose by his friends. He leans into their touch and shows his appreciation in a surprising way.
While horses show their teeth to demonstrate aggression and when they're in pain, that doesn't seem to be the case with this friendly equine. For the people behind the fence, it looks like the happy horse is flashing a smile to everyone he sees.
Besides showing aggression and pain, lifting the upper lip is a way for horses to enhance their sense of smell - it's called the Flehmen response. Horses curl back their upper lips to expose their teeth and gums and activate a biological response to chemicals in the air. They can sense pheromones, and a raised upper lip is a sign they're getting a whiff of something they like.
There's no way for the human nose to detect whatever this horse is picking up, but if that's indeed what he's doing, there's a chemical in the air that only he can detect. There might be more behind his smile than meets the eye, but that doesn't make it any less adorable.
Do you know a horse that likes to smile? Let us know in the comments.
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