How do Horses Sleep?

If you own a horse, you’ve probably noticed that these massive animals have peculiar sleeping patterns. Horses, unlike other pets, have distinct sleeping routines that may be perplexing to new owners, but there’s usually no cause to be alarmed if you notice unusual horse sleeping behavior.

In the wild, horses have a natural instinct to sleep since they must be always awake and guard themselves. This is usually the reason for their odd sleeping habits, thus knowing their background will help you comprehend them.

We’ve covered the reasons why your horse may sleep standing up, as well as the length of time your horse should sleep each day, in this guide:

Two horses in a field

Why do horses sleep standing up?

Horses, unlike people or other domestic pets, require extremely little REM sleep each day. When horses lie down to slumber, this is the stage of the sleep cycle that we recognize as being in a ‘deep sleep.’

You may see your horse moving his or her legs while laying on his or her side when in REM slumber. If this happens, it’s probably safe to think your horse is having a nightmare!

Horses, on the other hand, only have a few minutes of REM sleep throughout each sleep cycle. The other type of snoozing is a light slumber, which is noticeable when your horse sleeps standing up and their hind legs change position.

Because horses are large animals, resting down for long periods of time might restrict their blood flow. They only sleep for REM sleep since this puts too much pressure on their internal organs. As a result, they sleep while standing up at different times during the day.

Sleeping in groups

Because many horses’ innate instincts are still strong, you could find that the horses in your paddock sleep in a group. This normally occurs when one horse keeps an eye on the other when they’re in REM slumber to make sure they’re both safe.

After that, the watcher and the sleeper will switch places until all of the horses in the group have taken their rest.

Horse sleeping in a field

How long do horses sleep for?

Horses have a reputation for surviving on very little sleep. They only sleep for about three hours each day and never for long periods of time, though younger foals may sleep longer than adult horses.

A horse just need a few minutes of snooze at various times during the day, but these minutes should build up to three hours of sleep over the course of a 24-hour period.

It’s usually a good idea to cover your horse in the event of an accident while they’re sleeping. This can help you avoid the financial burden of medical treatment for your horse while also ensuring that your pet is happy and healthy.

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