Thursday, May 13, 2010

horse nap is like a cat nap ~ it's all about sleeping

Being a life long fan of the horse ~ one of the questions I hear a lot when people observe the horses lying down is "are they sick?" There seems to be so much confusion about horses and sleep that I thought (for the record) I would just call out the excerpt from wikipedia below:

Unlike humans, horses do not need a solid, unbroken period of sleep time. They obtain needed sleep by means of many short periods of rest. This is to be expected of a prey animal, one that needs to be ready on a moment's notice to flee from predators. Horses may spend anywhere from four to fifteen hours a day in standing rest, and from a few minutes to several hours lying down. However, not all this time is the horse actually asleep; total sleep time in a day may range from several minutes to a couple of hours.[11] Horses require approximately two and a half hours of sleep, on average, in a 24-hour period. Most of this sleep occurs in many short intervals of about 15 minutes each. Horses need to lie down occasionally, and prefer soft ground for a nap.

Horses must lie down to reach REM sleep. They only have to lie down for an hour or two every few days to meet their minimum REM sleep requirements. However, if a horse is never allowed to lie down, after several days it will become sleep-deprived, and in rare cases may suddenly collapse as it involuntarily slips into REM sleep while still standing. This condition differs from narcolepsy, though horses may also suffer from that disorder.

photos above taken by Caroline Kraus ~ see more of her work at the barn by clicking on this link.

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