When a horse licks his lips and chews, it is usually a sign that he has just relaxed. The behavior will usually be more exaggerated AFTER a time when the horse was NOT relaxed.
Not relaxed = holding one’s breath.
Relaxed = breathing normally.
My husband Richard Klimesh, among other things has been a farrier for 33 years and you don’t travel that path without developing your own brand of wit. His Klimisms are a treat. It’s not just what he says, but how he says it. Anyway…….
Today he trimmed the hooves of his horse Sherlock. Sherlock was thinking a little less about balancing on 3 legs than he was wondering where his girlfriend Seeker was. He’d raise his head in the direction of her pen and peer intently at the barn wall like he had x-ray vision. But all this head raising causes body weight to shift and that’s hard on the person holding the hoof.
So in between hooves Richard backed Sherlock up a few steps in the crossties, had him lower his head, rubbed him on the forehead and Sherlock instantly started licking and chewing and breathing.
Richard said, “Good, get some oxygen to that brain.”
That cracked me up but there’s truth in that Klimism.