Can Horses Lay On Their Side? (Surprising Facts)

Horses are known for their ability to stand on all fours, but what about when they lay down?

Can horses really lay on their side?

The answer is yes. It seems like a silly question, but it’s not as easy as you might think. Horses can lie down and sleep in different positions (albeit with some difficulty).

They also sometimes roll over onto one side if the ground is uneven or if they’re feeling ill. If you were wondering why your horse looks so uncomfortable while lying down, that might be the reason.

Now, let’s take a closer look at this topic, shall we?

They Lay Down to Sleep

Horses need to lay down for REM sleep. Full-grown horses need to lie down for one to three hours per day. They usually only sleep for minutes at a time, but they still do it.

Young horses need more time lying down than adults, but they will cut back on the total number of minutes as they grow up.

When They Feel Secured Around Their Surroundings

Horses need sleep to be healthy. But they will not lie down when they are scared or in a bad place. Horses feel safe and secure in places where their herd members are nearby or when it is warm and comfortable.

When they feel safe, horses can sleep with either their head on the ground or lying sideways on the ground.

Sleep Deprivation Problems

A horse might be tired and need to rest if it continues standing for a very long time.

One effect is the horse may collapse without trying to lower itself gently. It might have physical or mental problems, like pain in its joints or feeling worried or insecure.

You should look into this problem when the horse is not resting for an hour or two each day. If the horse lies down for too long, it can have severe health problems like bleeding in its joints, heart failure, stomach ulcers, and kidney damage.

Lying Down For Extended Periods & Its Danger

Lying down for a long time can make it hard for a horse of 1,000+ pounds to get back up.

The first reason is that the horse’s blood cannot flow as well because it is lying down. Whenever they lie down, their muscles start to shake and lose their strength. Horses need to stand up for this reason.

If a horse is lying on its side for a long time, there could be some problems. If the horse is on his side and if he has spread legs, it might hurt him. The muscles and tissues can get hurt from being pressed against the ground for a long time.

If they stay on their sides too long, they might have more problems with their lungs filling up with blood.

Their stomachs will also fill up with gas which they cannot expel normally, so the horse may become very uncomfortable and bloated from it all.

If a horse is lying down too much, or for too long, there are reasons to worry.

The horse could have colic, which is stomach pain. It can be seen if the horse looks towards its tummy.

Or the horse may have leg injuries. There are many ways why a horse’s legs hurt and the vet should be called if it seems like something is wrong.

Horses can also get tied up because their muscle gets hurt and they cannot move as well as before.

Or the horse might have metabolic diseases that make them sick or do not let them eat well enough to stay healthy or strong for very long without getting help from someone else who knows what they are doing who will take care of this animal so it does not die

Do They Also Nap Standing Up?

Horses can sleep standing up. They do this by locking their legs together with ligaments and tendons. Horses usually use this when they need to rest or take a short nap for a few minutes. The other horses in the herd will watch out for them during these times.

Horses can sleep standing up because they are large animals. When they sleep lying down, there is a higher chance of them developing health problems.

For example, when they lie down their blood flow becomes difficult to control and when they get up it is hard for them to move quickly.

They also have natural instincts that make them want to protect themselves from predators by napping while at the ready.

A horse on a farm spends most of the day resting.

They usually spend about four to fifteen hours resting. A fraction of this time is spent sleeping, but not all horses sleep during this time. Horses also need rest and they can’t get it if they are working full-time.


What position do horses sleep in?

Horses sleep in different positions when they grow up. As they get older, they take fewer naps and prefer to stand up and rest than to lie down. But adults still need REM sleep so they have to do that sometimes too.

How long can a horse lay on its side?

How long can a horse lay down for? Horses can rest on their sides for 2 hours. But it is usually only for 20-30 minutes. I would be worried if the horse has trouble getting up when you come and touch them or try to pet them.

Why does a horse sleep standing up?

A horse sleeps standing up to protect itself. Horses have a special system of tendons and ligaments that enables them to lock their major joints so they can sleep without falling down.

Do horses lay down in the rain?

Horses lie down when there is a change in the weather and it’s going to rain.

Do horses sleep in the rain?

No, they need shelter too. Horses can do well in cold weather if they have shelter. But when it’s raining, they will want to go inside.


Horses need to lie down sometimes. It is a good sign if you see them rest often. But it can be dangerous if they lay down too much, so you should watch out for signs of discomfort and try to keep them on their feet for too long.

Leave a Comment