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Although horses spend the majority of their lives stood on all four legs, a horse lying down is a normal behaviour for all horses. However, if you see your horse lying down with more frequency than usual, there could be something wrong. Horses lying down for extended periods of time might indicate that your horse is suffering from various different medical issues.
Why Do Horses Lie Down?
Horses Lying Down for Sleep
Your horse needs at least 2 or 3 hours of sleep in a day, most of this is actually done standing! However some of this sleep is done whilst the horse is lying down. Horses actually need to sleep lying down for REM sleep. Rem sleep is a type of sleep that occurs during the third stage of your typical Rapid Eye Movement (REM) cycle. It’s also known as paradoxical sleep because of the strange muscle activity and brain activity it induces.
Horses Lying Down for Relaxation
If a horse is very comfortable in its surroundings and at peace they are known to lay down on the floor for restbite. This usually happens in the shade as a means of cooling down.
Horses Lying Down for Illness
There are several reasons, one, it could be as a result of being uncomfortable, weak, or close to getting ill. You will need to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. As a horse owner, you should notice the change in amount of time lying down and then diagnose the cause of this is which is either a mental or physical issue. The reasons are akin to that of human beings. Deprivation of sleep could also be a reason which is extremely dangerous. It’s just like human beings not having the needed amount of sleeping hours, sickness will come knocking.
Other causes for long lying hours are normal issues like musculoskeletal pain or colic. Further investigation will be needed for a thorough check.
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is it dangerous for horses lying down?
Horses are an animal that mostly stands due to their body structure and anatomy. It is uneasy for them to transit from standing to sitting, that is why they seldom lie down. Too long a lie will lead to the blocking of the flow of blood. This blocking of blood flow can then lead to organ failure and potentially death if on the floor for too long.
A horse should not exceed more than 4 hours laying down in a day and a horse that lays down for 8 hours at any one time will almost certainly be in a extremely bad state.
You can follow up on their sleeping habits by making use of a video cam to take a 24-hour video of their routines. They could also display other signals like eating disorders, nervousness, or intensive body language that seem aggressive.
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I’m Jack Johnson, a proud Texan and passionate horse lover. Growing up around horses has given me a natural affinity for the equine species and I’ve been able to hone my riding and training skills from an early age.
In recent years I’ve been traveling the country with my horses, competing in rodeos and other events. It was this passion that led me to create my own business, Own the Horse, to help aspiring horse lovers learn the fundamentals of horse care and training. I’m also an active member of the equine community, often volunteering my time to help preserve and promote the culture of horsemanship.
When I’m not riding, I love to spend my free time with my family and friends, camping, and fishing. Exploring the great outdoors and taking in the beauty of the Texas Hill Country is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m also an avid reader and enjoy learning more about the history and culture of the horse world.