Horses sleep & power naps.
Who loves a power nap? Did you know? Not only can horses sleep standing up, but horses need just 3.5hrs of sleep a day!
Rather than sleep all night like we do, horses tend to have their sleep in 20min power naps throughout the day and night, the majority of which is done while standing. Horses are able to sleep standing up thanks to the stay apparatus, a system of ligaments and tendons locking the major joints through their legs. The stay apparatus allows them to relax and sleep without falling over!
It’s all about comfort
Although standing for the majority of their sleep, horses do require a minimum of 30mins a day laying down to get their REM sleep Research has shown horses without soft area’s to lay down get less than their required time of REM sleep. Studies have also shown, as the area of suitable bedding was increased horses spent longer laying down. Another consideration is that there be adequate room for all the horses in the herd. Higher ranked horses may chase others away if the sleeping area is small.
There are 2 other issues which can impact the quality of your horses sleep. 1. Mobility issues, 2. Stress. If your horse has trouble laying down or getting back up again, they may be reluctant to lay down for their REM sleep. If your horse struggles with this, it’s best to get them assessed by a Vet, as they may require supplements/medication to help with mobility. Stress can affect a horse in many ways, from their health to behavioral issues. Extended periods of stress will reduce your horses ability to relax and get their required resting hours.
But no need to rush out and buy your horse the latest therapeutic mattress ;) however when your in the paddock/stable/yard wherever your horse lives, have a look around, be observant of your horses surroundings and behaviour, and be sure there’s a spot in the yard you’d consider having a 30min power nap 😴
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