Can a Horse Sleep Standing Up?

It’s almost impossible for you to fall asleep while standing. The moment you began to doze, you’re likely to fall down. But horses often seem to sleep while they’re standing up, and they do!

When a horse stands perfectly still and relaxes, joints in his legs lock into position, holding the horse up even if he falls asleep.

Horses actually prefer to sleep standing up, as when they lie down, their weight presses them down heavily against the ground, which can make breathing difficult. So a horse rarely lies down to sleep, and can doze quite comfortably while standing in his stall.

Certain other big animals, like the elephant, can sleep while they’re standing up too!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “Can a Horse Sleep Standing Up?”

  1. occasionally their legs buckle. One sign of this happening is when you see cuts on the front legs, often right above the hoof. This is caused by the horses scraping its legs on the wall or floor of the stall as its legs buckle.

    Also, another reason horses don’t like to lie down is safety. A horse is most vulnerable when it is lying down. So, a horse has to feel completely safe to lie down and sleep for any extended period of time (as opposed to standing up).

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