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Horses Only Sleep Standing Up? – Popular Equestrian Has an Answer in a Viral Video

Published 03/15/2023, 4:01 PM EDT

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Growing up, we all heard one or more myths about animals. Ever heard that a camel stores water in its hump? Or that the dogs are probably colorblind? Without looking deeper into the realities of these beliefs, these phrases have been passed down from one generation to another. However, researchers have found that at the end of the day, they are just that- myths. One such myth is about the one-toed mammal, the horse.

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Many believe that horses sleep only in the standing position. While this might not be all wrong, it isn’t the complete truth either. A popular equestrian and YouTuber once shed light on the facts related to this common misconception.

What you know about horses might not be true


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In September 2019, Youtuber Han highlighted 10 common misconceptions about this domesticated mammal. Among the others, she answered whether horses sleep only in the standing position. Firstly, Han confirmed that horses could sleep while standing. Explaining how that works, she said, “…now don’t get me wrong horses can sleep while they’re standing. I think we’ve all seen that before. They do have a locking mechanism which allows them to not fall flat on their faces while they’re doing that.”

However, it isn’t the ONLY position they can sleep in. She continued, “…but they also still need REM sleep. Now that is essentially a very deep sleep, and they can only achieve it when they’re lying down. But unlike humans, horses don’t really need that much sleep. So, they only lie down for REM for maybe 1 to 2 hours every single day and usually, it’s taken in like little intervals.”


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She further explained that these intervals are usually 15 minutes at a time. Another myth surrounding these animals is that they lay down only in their last moments. While it is nowhere near the truth, at times some horses tend to go into a deep sleep and become unresponsive. Though the owners are aware that the horse is just asleep, the misconception has sowed seeds of doubt even in the experienced minds. Not getting a response from the horse, even after constant nudging is enough to scare even the most knowledgeable rider.

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To reiterate, horses can sleep in a standing position. But they also require a few hours of sleep every day where they are comfortably resting on the ground.


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Written by:

Aaradhana Singh


One take at a time

Aaradhana Singh is a US Sports writer for EssentiallySports. The holder of a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication, Aaradhana has previously worked as an editor/writer with Asiana Times for the better part of a year. A sports person at heart with a curious mind, Aaradhana is someone who is always up for fun and adventure.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh