How do the horses sleep? ¿Do you question some time? Like all animals, our equine friends need sleep to regain strength and enjoy good health.
In this article we will tell you how the horses sleep, how many hours and why they rest standing up.
Why do horses sleep on their feet?
To be alert to what happens in their environment, horses sleep on their feet.
Its anatomical system in the limb is kept in tension, therefore, although they rest they are attentive.
Their reciprocal support device allows them to keep the limb extended without effort thanks to a combination of perfect tendons and ligaments.
In addition to sleeping on their feet, they also lie on the ground. If they feel very comfortable and relaxed, they will lie on the floor to rest.
The support technique
As they rest the horses apply a technique known as: Reciprocal support apparatus.
This consists in that, while relaxing one of the extremities of the hindquarters, with the other endures all the weight of the body.
Unlike human beings who would not hold much in this way, because the leg that supports the weight would tire, they thanks to the reciprocal device of support, can stand a long time like this, without having an overexertion in the muscles.
How many hours a day does a horse sleep?
Being an animal prey for other predators, the horse remains on alert even from an early age.
This means that their rest time is not as extensive as that of a human being and even that of other animals such as lions, to give an example.
Depending on your age, the mare or the horse, have different times and hours to rest.
- Foal: When a horse is born, it needs to sleep 12 hours. But he does it in a distributed way so that of each hour he usually rests half.
- After six months: 15 minutes per hour.
- Adult: 3 hours spread throughout the day.
Unsuitable environmental conditions (e.g., lack of available space, weather), social insecurity (low standing on the pecking order), and physical complaints (musculoskeletal discomfort) all limit the ability of some horses to lie down. In turn, these horses can suffer REM deficiency and excessive drowsiness. Affected horses may transition into REM sleep while standing and partially collapse before suddenly waking up.
Do horses dream?
Surely, but we can never know what exactly they dream of. However, it is very important that we let them rest, since otherwise their health and even their lives could be compromised.
The fact of being able to sleep like this for 15 or 20 minutes helps them to recover strength and energy.
Like humans and many other animals, horses experience both slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid-eye-movement (REM) deep sleep. (SWS is characterized by slow, synchronized waves of electrical activity in the brain as recorded by electroencephalography. REM sleep is characterized by jerky eye movements and rapid, disorganized brain waves.) REM sleep seems to occur mostly when the horse is stretched out flat on his side, rather than resting on his chest.
People dream during REM, and it seems that horses do, too. Beneath closed lids, their eyes move rapidly back and forth. Sue McDonnell has even seen some horses move their feet as if “trotting” in their dreams. But what horses dream about is anyone’s guess.
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