Horses nibbling on car in Wyoming

Actually, the answer is most likely “road salt”.
Horses need salt, which is usually added to their daily portion of grain. However, they will lick (and nibble) anything salty they can find. Roads are spread with salt in Wyoming in the winter which, after you’ve driven on them for a while, begins to coat your vehicle.
The caller’s car had a light covering of road salt on it, which the horses were delighted to find.

Sounds like a reasonable cause.
If there is no salt on the hood, then I’d suggest repainting and putting jalapeno pepper dust in wax and buffing the hood with it. Unless they like their feed spicy…

I was just going to write in with the salt idea too. If she checked the salt licks her riding instructors provide for their horses, I bet the horses need a new one…

One word.


Smells sweet. Smell comes from under the hood. That’s where the horses were nibbling (…“the three-dimensional areas …”

I would agree most likely roadsalt residue left on the car. The only other possibility may be if someone had spilled a drink of some type with sugar in it such as a coffee or soda and left behind some sugar traces. I had a dog that found some bird residue on the front of my wifes car and he gnawed at the plastic bumper till the taste was gone. I refinished it and he did the same thing about a year later.

Another similar and possible explanation is the color of the vehicle looking like mud. Many living things get needed minerals from eating mud. The color of my car is especially attractive to butterflies.

+1 on the road salt, although the glycol is not a bad idea either… but the only way she is likely to have gotten glycol on the hood of her truck is if she boiled over her radiator at some point (a really simple question). Road salt is far more likely to be on her hood (and another reason she needs to get the paint fixed ASAP…)

Caller should check her radiator – horses may have been attracted to sweet smell and taste of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) on hood. Can be poisonous to animals in large enough amounts.

The answer is clear coat. I’ve raised horses for 60 years in NW Missouri and never had problems with horses
and auto paint until the newer truck paint coats were finished with clear coat. I’ve had two trucks’ paint
raked since that time and a long time body shop operator informed of the appeal clear coat is to horses’ taste buds.

I wouldn’t call myself a horse "expert’, but I took a course in horsemanship in college and I help take care of the horses and other animals at a historic site. I tend to agree with the horse person they brought on the show. Horses do this sort thing, especially if they’re bored. She read my mind when she pointed out horses don’t have hands, so if they want to play with something, they use their mouths. Some horses like to chew on their stalls. That’s called ‘cribbing’. One horse I worked with loved to try and nibble on my jacket sleeve or my pants leg when I wasn’t looking. He even tried to chomp on my boot a couple times.

I was little surprised they guys didn’t mention a caller from a few years ago who had a horse eat her steering wheel. During that call they mentioned previous caller who had a horse tear off their side view mirror.

Not long ago Car & Driver magazine did a comparison test of 8 or so SUVs. Driving through the countryside their photographer spotted a horse farm, and said, “Hey guys, let’s see if we can pose the SUVs with the horses! Wouldn’t that be cute?”

Wanna guess what happened?

One truck had its hood scraped up, and another one its side mirror torn off. Can’t say if the clearcoat paint had anything to do with it. Maybe it’s shinier.

So if you’re visiting a horse farm, don’t park your car where the horses can get at it.

My guess is that it’s either boredom or the “Cribbing” thing. In my 45 years in Wyoming, very little, if any, road salt is used and that would be mostly in some city intersections. I have heard of many instances of horses chewing paint on vehicles in ANY season.

It’s Mag Chloride that they spread on the roads here in Colorado and I assume in Wyoming. We see deer licking the road the same way the horses are licking the Jeep. Yes, the stables should check and make sure there is a salt lick for the horses. She should also be washing her jeep as that stuff is great on the roads, but icy on vehicles.

This same thing happened to my parents car when they took me to my cousin’s ranch in New Mexico 45 yrs. ago. It was summer–hence no salt–but we deduced later that we had parked under trees that were dropping some kind of sap the previous night at a motel. The horses were attracted to the ‘sweet’ smell and taste of the sap and spent the night ‘cleaning’ the hood of my folks luxury Ford (not a mustang) leaving grooves, but no paint. I can’t remember if the insurance company covered the damage or not.

You gotta be kidding. ALL horses will head staight for a truck’s/car’s paint job! There’s no reason or rationalization for all those lovely, long teeth scrape marks other than you were stupid enough to leave your unattended vehicle anywhere near those equines. Their memories are long and they are simply gettin’ back at you for anything and everything you did or forgot to do for them. They may just be standing around, eyes half closed in the warm sun but don’t be fooled. Leave an unattended vehicle within a mile of 'em and they’ll telegraph to every available horse in the neighborhood that the fun is about to begin.

If the horses were trying to nibble paint or clear coat they might have attacked the fenders. Why didn’t they chew the fenders as well?

If mice have stored grains (oats or other sweet feed) or dog food around the engine compartment, the horses would smell a hot meal under the hood. They might be trying to lift the hood.

Jill, check the engine compartment for caches of food that would appeal to mice and to horses

If I remember correctly the horse lady was in the barn riding because of the cold- I bet those horses were warming up with the heat of the engine, and got carried away. The animal expert did say that the mouth of a horse was used like hands.

Regardless of the cause, the solution is the same as for all attempts at eliminating a food from ones diet. Make it unavailable and park the car outside the gate.

Everybody’s got a different theory. I say they were just horsing around.

True about the cribbing, a compulsive behavior exhibited by bored or neurotic horses.

Horses are as smart or smarter than dogs. When they get bored, they may chew on stuff to pass the time, usually fences because they can easily get their teeth around a fence rail or post. It may have taken one to find that your car makes an interesting sound or causes an interesting sensation when they chew on it in the same manner a fidgety person is soothed by squeezing a stress ball or by fingering worry beads or a touch stone. Then, being social animals, an other horse may have ambled over to see what was so cool and before long, you have a herd of horses grinding away on your hood. It’s a simple case of cribbing. Unfortunately, the remedy I’ve used to stop cribbing; spreading creosote on fence rails, isn’t really feasible for your car. You may want to park on the other side of the fence.