Sleepy time

Your Horse (UK) - - Ask The Experts -

Q How can I cre­ate the per­fect con­di­tions for sleep when my horse is sta­bled? James King, Sur­rey Cather­ine says... Some horses spend so much time in their sta­bles that if they don’t feel happy sleep­ing there, it can be­come a huge wel­fare con­cern. Sleep de­pri­va­tion is a com­mon prob­lem, of­ten caus­ing own­ers to be­lieve their horse has nar­colepsy be­cause of the way they may sud­denly fall over. Changes in en­vi­ron­ment can some­times be suf­fi­cient to re­solve things quickly though.

How much does he need?

Horses typ­i­cally need be­tween three and four hours’ sleep in a 24-hour pe­riod, of which 15 min­utes is deep Rapid Eye Move­ment (REM) sleep, when the horse will lie on his side, fully re­cum­bent. Older horses may need more. Th­ese hours of sleep will be taken in brief in­ter­vals through­out the day and night; they are not all saved for when we put him to bed. So, it’s im­por­tant to con­sider what else the horse is able to do dur­ing long pe­ri­ods sta­bled. At the very least, pro­vide ad-lib for­age and, ide­ally, other sources of en­rich­ment.

Horses need be­tween three and four hours’ sleep a day

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