Get Some Sleep

How do Horses Sleep?

Horses have some very unique sleeping patterns, and they might seem confusing to someone who happens to be new to the world of horses. Horses have the natural instinct that they’re sleeping in the wild; an environment where they need to be constantly alert and protect themselves from potential dangers. This is usually the reasoning and explanation behind their somewhat strange sleeping habits.

Sleeping Standing Up?

Horses, unlike humans and other pets, need very little REM sleep. This is the part of a sleep cycle that we recognize as being in a “deep sleep”, and that human need decent amounts of to stay healthy. You can spot a horse getting REM sleep when they are laying down to get some shut-eye. When a horse is enjoying REM sleep, you may notice that they move their legs while laying on their side- this is a good indicator that they’re dreaming!

However, horses only have a few minutes of REM throughout any sleeping period. The other time snoozing is usually a light sleep and can be noticed when your horse sleeps standing up by altering their hind legs. Because horses are big animals, their blood flow can be restricted by laying down for long periods of time. This causes excess pressure on their internal organs, which is why they only lay down for REM sleep. This results in them sleeping while standing up at various points throughout the day.

How Long?

Horses are known for surviving with minimal amounts of sleep- typically, they get around 3 hours in a 24 hour period (more for young foals, who can sleep through a majority of the day). As the horse grows up, the sleep that is needed decreases. A few minutes is usually all that a horse needs at various points of the day.

Megan OverfeltComment