York sleeps it off in his stable

After another busy day at the riding school, York decided to have a quick nap before the next lesson.



Sometimes clients can be surprised at seeing our riding school horses sleeping in the field or stable. They can lay so flat and still that the clients think the worst. It even worries the staff ... !!!

But all horses in the livery yard and riding stables do like to nod off from time to time. In this picture, York is sleeping on behalf of all the horses in Essex.

Mature horses will sleep for around 2-3 hours per day, made up of sleep periods that last no more than a handful of minutes at a time. Foals can sleep for half the day until they reach an age of about three months.

Horses mostly sleep standing up and have developed a special resting position whereby the weight of the horse is carried by three legs (the two forelegs and one hind leg.) One of the hind legs will relax as the horse dozes off with the hoof resting up on the its toe. This  causes the hips to rotate slightly locking the stay function of the hind legs. The head and neck will then droop, and during deep sleep, the ears are relaxed, the eyes close and the lips may droop.

It is believed that the weight of the horse puts pressure the horses internal organs when it lies down and as such they need a comfortable place to lie down such as a dry stable with good bedding. In nature, lying down would be a risky thing to do for a herd animal given the existence of predators and as such it is usually a sign of the animal being secure, safe and relaxed if a horse takes forty winks.

The horses at Chelmsford Riding School do seem to be relaxed enough to sleep a lot when not in riding lessons. We like it ... :)


If you want to know more, try  reading: Horses Behavior: the Behavioral Traits and Adaptions of Domestic and Wild Horses, Incuding Ponies. by George H. Waring Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois, Noyes Publications-William Andrew Publishing, LLC 1983 ISBNL 0-8155-027-8






Written by undefined at 12/12/2013 17:53:51

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