Not many people know a lot about horses, let alone their sleep schedules! Knowing about how horses sleep can help us understand and attend their basic needs better. Here are some fun facts about horses and their sleep:
You will find that horses sleep standing up most of the time. This is something they can do due to what is called “stay apparatus”. The stay apparatus is a horse’s unique anatomical mechanism that allows them to stay vertical even when they’re not fully conscious. The way it works by locking the horse’s kneecap with ligaments and tendons. It sounds scary, but it doesn’t hurt. It’s completely natural and, interestingly enough, all horses are born knowing how to do it.
Horses prefer sleeping standing up since it gives them an easier way to escape potential predators. Even though they are domesticated animals that sleep in stables or in the field close to their owners, they are still prey animals and still think like so. When they’re asleep, they’re obviously at a disadvantage. Sleeping standing up is the safest way to not waste time standing up and starting to escape right away.
However, horses can also sleep laying down like other animals. This is the only way they can achieve to get their REM sleep. Unlike humans they don’t sleep all throughout the night an just a couple of hours of REM sleep is enough to keep them going all day. Moreover, horses usually take turns sleeping, allowing some of them to get their REM sleep while others remain awake ready to warn the herd of any predators nearby.
Did you know this about horses and the way they sleep?