The Reason Horses Sleep Standing Up

David Sanderson All About Horses

It does seem a bit silly how horses can sleep standing up. But there’s a great reason for it. By nature, horses are prey animals – which means they are usually being hunted in the wild. Horses have straight backs, so they can’t get up quickly. If a predator gets close to a sleeping horse while it’s lying down, the horse may not be able to get up fast enough to escape.

So how do they do it?

A horse has specialized legs that can lock its knees and fall asleep standing up — without falling over! A horse’s fear of predators also leads it to do most of its sleeping during the day. Just because a horse can fall asleep standing up doesn’t mean it never lies down, though. Sometimes horses will take naps lying down during the day. This gives them a chance to rest their legs.

On sunny days

On a sunny day, you may see horses stretched out in a field soaking up sunshine. When you see a group of horses lying down, you may also find one horse standing up, guarding the others and keeping an eye out for intruders.