Q:

Do horses sit down?

A:

Quick Answer

Most horses remain in the standing position because their weight places excess pressure on their internal organs when lying down. Adult horses only lie down for brief periods of time. Foals spend more time on the ground during naps until they get older.

Know More
Do horses sit down?
Credit: rashed alsikhan Moment Getty Images

Full Answer

Horses have two anatomical abilities that allow them to remain standing. One function is the "stay apparatus" of the forelegs. The horse engages the stay apparatus by shifting the hip and locking the patella into position. The "check apparatus" allows the hind legs to relax without collapsing.

When sleeping, an adult horse rests most of its weight on the two front legs and one hind leg. Horses enter a light sleeping phase in the standing position, which is an instinct left over from when they were wild animals. On average, horses spend four to 15 hours sleeping and several minutes to a few hours on the ground. Horses must also lie down to get their minimum REM sleep, which stands for rapid eye movement sleep. To achieve REM sleep, they must rest on the ground for one to two hours every three days.

Horses also lie down to sunbathe, and there are times when they rest in the sun together. One or two other horses stand guard as the others sunbathe. Horses lie down less frequently in snowy conditions, but some sleep in an outstretched position on the snow.

Learn more about Barnyard Mammals

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How long can horses lie down?

    A:

    There is no specific length of time that a horse can lie down. However, the longer a horse lies down, the greater the risk of injury, according to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a group of horses called?

    A:

    A group of horses is called a "team" or a "harras." If all the horses in a group are colts, "rag" can be used, and a group of ponies is called a "string."

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where did horses originally come from?

    A:

    The first species of horse arose in Asia, Europe and North America between 45 and 60 million years ago, during the period known as the Eocene. Partial fossils of this diminutive species were discovered in England in 1841 by the paleontologist Richard Owen, who referred to it as Hyracotherium, or "mole beast."

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Are horses ruminants?

    A:

    Horses are not ruminants, although they are capable of digesting cellulose and other plant-based materials despite lacking a forestomach. The fermentation of plant matter is done in the large intestine, which in horses is massive and complex.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore