How, how much and in what position the horses sleep

Those who have lived all their lives in the city and have not had the opportunity to observe a large animal during the day may be interested in the question in what position the horse is sleeping. There are many myths and conjectures about this, and to dispel or confirm them, the information in this article will come in handy.

How do horses sleep

People who live in a village or have their own farms often observe the following picture: an animal with closed eyes stands on three legs, and one (back) is squeezed by itself.

Important! The dormant state can suddenly stop, so that the steed becomes active again - for example, if the animal needs to be driven by the tail of annoying flies. Therefore, do not come close to such an animal from behind - it can take you for danger and hit it hard with your hooves.

Let's see if it is true that in this state the horses sleep, and whether it can be called a dream.


Throughout the day, when animals have the opportunity to take a little nap, they will definitely use it. Such a condition cannot be called a full sleep, since the horses only slightly relax their backs and close their eyes, but at the same time they hear everything that is happening around and can wake up at any moment.

Standing on three legs, the animal can sleep no more than half an hour, and throughout the day these periods can be repeated an unlimited number of times. During the sleep “on legs” the horse can rest a bit to prepare for hard work or racing, depending on its purpose.

Did you know? The fastest horses in the world of English race breed can gallop at a speed of 60 km per hour.

At first glance, it is not clear why the horses prefer to sleep “on their feet”, if they can easily lie down and sleep in a comfortable position as much as they like. The fact is that each horse has an instinct for self-preservation, which was transmitted to the horses from their ancestors. Wild horses living in the wild, independently obtained their own food and escaped from predators, who were constantly waiting for them, attacking when they were sleeping peacefully.

At home, the animal may also not feel protected, especially when grazing in pastures or large open areas. Therefore, he has to immerse himself in a light snake for several minutes in a standing position, so that at any moment, without wasting time, he will run, since the predator always attacks suddenly.

It is interesting that when sleeping in this state, the animal’s legs never get tired - this is due to pinching of the joints. The anatomy features allow the horse to evenly distribute the body weight on the legs and clamp the ligaments, blocking the knees and minimizing the load on the hooves.

Lying on its side

In order to replenish strength and give the legs rest, the horse needs to get enough sleep, therefore, at night, being safe (in the stable), he plunges into a full sleep.

To do this, animals lie on their side, straightening the body, straighten their legs or squeeze them under themselves. A horse must also lie down to sleep in order for his body to develop and grow properly.

Important! For a long time, horses cannot sleep on their sides - this is associated with the risk of pulmonary edema.

How long does the horse sleep

In the standing position, the horses can immerse themselves in a light droid from 4 to 15 hours a day for several minutes. A full sleep when lying on its side can last from an hour to 4 hours a day, during which time the horses manage to fully recover.

Healthy Horse Sleep

Not everyone can see a sleeping horse in a lying position - even owners of horses rarely encounter such a state of the animal. The fact is that horses do not respond well to certain irritants, even in the stable, not always feeling protected. That is why they most often prefer to sleep for several minutes many times a day, while standing.

To help the horse fall asleep calmly and regain strength, it is necessary to create comfortable conditions for him to rest. First of all, we must be guided by the fact that horses are herd animals, therefore they feel more relaxed when they are next to relatives. Surrounded by neighbors, animals can easily fall asleep without worrying about their safety (in a herd, they will always report the approach of a predator).

The horse responds poorly to extraneous noise and other factors that interfere with normal sleep:

  • poor ventilation
  • wet and dirty stalls
  • cold,
  • lack of light.
If you eliminate all the causes of poor sleep, described above - the horse will calmly fall asleep.

Did you know? Watching the horse, which is in the deep phase of sleep, you can see how it moves its ears and legs, snorts softly - such movements indicate that the horse has a dream.

Do horses dream

No matter how strange it may sound, horses, like humans, can dream. Such an opportunity exists only in the phase of deep sleep, which occurs in the supine position.

So, to summarize: a horse has a full sleep only when lying down, and when it is standing it can take a nap for a few minutes, but hears everything. To ensure a good quality sleep for the horse, it is necessary to create comfortable conditions in the stable (suitable microclimate, cleanliness and the presence of neighbors).

Interesting Articles