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Sleep behaviour in horses

  • Horses need to sleep, and most is done standing but they do sleep lying down.
  • They drowse during the day but truly sleep at night.
  • Their sleep cycle is short - 15 minutes sleep then 45 minutes awake.
  • A horse that is forced to stand continuously, e.g. on long air flights, will be sleep deprived so must be rested on arrival.
  • Group behaviour affects sleep. Dominant animals lie down first and set the pattern.
  • Young horses need more sleep than the old.
  • Horses prefer to lie on dry earth or sand and not cold wet areas.
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