August 27, 2020 – Should my Horse be Lying Down?

We are well after Hurricane Laura.

We are northeast of where the eye made landfall.

We only had wind and rain, but our friends and families to the southwest suffered some massive property damage and loss.

Please keep them in your prayers. It’s going to be a long recovery for some.

I had a discussion with someone the other day about horses lying down.

Is it normal for horses to lay down?

Yes and no.

Horses need rest. They can sleep standing up, but sleeping lying down provides a better relaxation for them.

Now in order to feel secure and safe enough to lay down, they have to trust the environment.

If there are dogs that chase horses, donkeys that aggravate the horses, or a bully horse in the pasture, they will not lay down.

My horses rotate 12 hours in the barn and 12 hours out to pasture.

All 4 of them will lay down periodically in their stalls.

Now both laying down excessively or not laying down at all is abnormal.

Excessive time spent laying down can indicate pain. Horses carry 60% of their body weight on their front feet and 40% on their back legs. If they are suffering from an injury, they may spend more time laying down to keep weight off the 3 good legs.

This can cause circulation issues and needs to be addressed.

No time spent laying down can cause exhaustion. Horses need REM sleep just like humans do. Not getting enough sleep can cause horses to develop stomach ulcers, obtain bad habits like cribbing, or collapse during a workout.

The bottom line is that some laying down is good for a horse’s health. Too much laying down can indicate pain and needs to be addressed.

There are many modalities now that are healthy for horses. Joint supplements, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, good turnout, and healthy diet and exercise are all complementary to one another.

Keeping your horse healthy and sound will help you both enjoy a long riding career together.

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