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How do horses sleep?

How do horses sleep?

Are you a horse breeder or do you ride horses? If so, you probably love these beautiful animals and there is nothing better than learning more about them to give them a better treatment and quality of life. So, have you ever wondered, how do horses sleep? The fact that our horses rest properly contributes to their good health, and thus, they can show a good performance in agility tests or being therapy animals.

Below, we will explain how we can find a sleeping horse and other interesting details related to their sleep. Keep reading!

 How many hours does a horse sleep?

An interesting point about how horses sleep is the length of their sleep period. Unlike other animals, horses sleep very little: with about 3 hours, they have enough. What’s more, these three hours are not consecutive. The exception, in this case, are foals, which sleep for half of the day.

Why do horses sleep standing up?

First and foremost, we must understand that horses are prey animals, so even if they live safely in a stable or under our care, they will always be alert on instinct, waiting for a predator. Therefore, horses have the ability to sleep standing up, which allows them to flee quickly if danger approaches.

In this way, a horse sleeping in this way keeps its balance and feels calm. On the other hand, it is not good for horses to lie on the ground for long periods of time; their large dimensions could complicate proper blood circulation, affecting their internal organs.

Can lying horses sleep?

Knowing how horses sleep, you may also be wondering, can horses sleep lying down? Although horses mostly rest standing up, they have short and deep sleep phases where they regain their strength, they can also rest lying down on the ground.

Interestingly, this is the position in which they are most relaxed. When lying down, these animals enter what is called ” REM sleep “. Although this stage of the rest cycle is quite short, they can relax to the maximum.

Therefore, we must make sure that our horse has a stable large enough for him to lie down comfortably and calmly. In fact, if you have the opportunity to see horses in a meadow, you will probably be able to see one lying down completely, with its eyes closed and moving its legs: these signs indicate that it is dreaming.

We may even find several horses lying down, but there will always be one standing and alert, in case danger lurks.

In short, knowing how horses sleep is essential to understand how their bodies work, and thus to have better tools to improve their quality of life.  Their rest is key to their good health, so if you are lucky enough to have these wonderful animals under your care, we recommend that you check if they have enough space to sleep and if the space is comfortable.

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