The question of how horses sleep is of concern to many. Firstly, there are many myths and tales about this. And, secondly, I wonder how such a beautiful and large animal rests. Many people believe that horses sleep standing up. But is it really so? We invite you to find out now. How do horses actually sleep? If you have dealt with horses and spent at least a few hours a day with them, then the following picture will be familiar to you. How do horses sleep? So, the animal stands quietly and peacefully in the meadow (in the stable), with its eyes closed and one hind leg tucked under itself. Then suddenly the ear moved in one direction, then in the other, then the tail brushed off the annoying fly, and the eyes remain closed. The question arises - is the animal sleeping or not? In fact, of course, it’s hard to call this a dream, most likely a light nap.
Many people believe and claim that horses sleep standing up. But it is not so. By nature, these animals spend most of their time in a standing position. Therefore, when there is an opportunity, they fall into a light half-sleep. They received this ability to rest from their wild ancestors.
The fact is that wild horses could not afford to sleep lying on their side. At any moment, predators could overtake the herd. And in order to rise, the long-legged horse needs to spend a few seconds. Sometimes that time can be worth a lifetime. That is why, since ancient times, horses have learned to rest while standing, in order to take flight at any moment.
Also, this ability is associated with a special structure of the knee joints. When a horse wants to rest while standing, he distributes his body weight evenly on all four legs. In this case, the knee joints are blocked, and the ligaments and bones are, as it were, “clamped”. Thanks to this, the animal, even standing for a long time, does not feel heavy. Moreover, complete relaxation of the muscles occurs.
Such a horse is easy to distinguish from another just standing: his lower back bends, his limbs stand straight and parallel, his head is slightly lowered, his ears are relaxed. Also, as a rule, the tip of the tail drops a little due to the relaxation of the lower back, the lower lip sags. But, of course, this is not a full-fledged dream, but only a nap. Like all other animals, horses also need a good rest of the body and mind. That is, in a full-fledged sleep, lying down. on the side.»
You can understand how horses sleep and what kind of full sleep they have by looking at the foal. Yes, yes, in childhood, safe next to the mother, the foal almost always sleeps lying on its side. But the horse breeder will not be surprised if he sees his adult horse in such a position. Adult horses also sometimes allow themselves to fall asleep, as they say, "throwing their hooves." Moreover, they dream and even snore. Zoologists are sure that only in a position lying on their side with a relaxed head and neck, horses fall into a deep phase of sleep. However, due to their nature, due to their large body mass and rather thin bones, horses cannot lie on their sides for a long time. Therefore, they sleep in this position, as a rule, no more than 3-4 hours. It is important to remember that in a position lying on its side for more than 6 hours, horses develop pulmonary edema.
So now the fact that horses sleep standing and lying on their side will not be a mystery of nature for you. After all, you now understand the nature of the process and know when the animal is dozing and when it is fully resting. Horses spend most of the time of the day on their feet and can only sleep soundly for about 2-3 hours. However, for this they need to be completely safe.
If your horse in the stable never sleeps lying on its side, but still continues to stand, most likely the animal cannot relax. Many people think that a comfortable stall, closed on all sides, is the best place to relax. But it's not. By nature, horses are social animals, they need to always be in contact with relatives.
Another thing is free grazing in the herd. Only in such conditions, very often, horses can sleep soundly for an hour or two, feeling safe. While a human needs about eight hours of sleep for a good rest, 3-4 hours is enough for a horse. However, as practice shows, in a state of light half-asleep, the animal sleeps on average from 6 to 15 hours a day. With this mode, only 2 hours of sound sleep will be enough to fully restore strength.
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