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Horse Laying in Field - sleeping?

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  • Horse Laying in Field - sleeping?

    This may be absolutely nothing, but wanted to ask for input - when I went to the field to bring my mare in for feeding, she was laying down in the field. I called her, no response. I walked all the way to her, put her halter on and had to call her several times before she moved. She rolled over and finally got up. She walked to the barn just fine, but it was unnerving. Was she just sleeping or is there something wrong?

  • #2
    Sleeping, IMO. She probably had just layed down, got comfortable, dozed off.... and you interrupted her = her reluctance to get right back up.

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    • #3
      If it's out of character for your horse I would keep a closer eye on her for a bit. One of my horses started doing this when he had right dorsal colitis/hind gut ulcers. He would lay down in a comfy spot out in the front of his field and I would have to hike out and "chase" him up. Horses are prey animals and don't normally remain laying down while people are walking around....unless, of course, that's in character for your particular horse. As soon as my guy felt better (which took 5 days in a vet hospital, lots of $$, and a change in diet) he was back to not laying down as much and certainly not staying down when anyone came towards him.
      __________________________________
      Flying F Sport Horses
      Horses in the NW

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      • #4
        My mare is a big napper and she is comfortable with me coming into her stall while she is lying down. If she misses her regular nap time which is right after breakfast drops she will be asleep later in the day. Actually she wouldn't sleep in her stall for the first couple of years only in her runout. If we had a multiday rainstorm and I took her into the indoor arena she would drop and try to sleep in there. Now she has learned to sleep in her stall. But some hot summer early afternoons if I take her to the sand pen she will drop stretch out and fall into REM sleep with me sitting beside her. It's very cute

        On the other hand when she has had colic she's dropped to the ground, if she gets up she drops again, and she's clearly unwell, very different from nap time.

        I've also clicker trained her to lie down on cue which she will do even for a crowd of strangers. She will also lie down when other horses are bring ridden In the arena.

        I just present this as the extreme of a horse that loves to nap and lie down, the couch potato mare. Most horses are too wary for this, but it's our normal.



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        • #5
          I have a stallion who is now 22, and I've had him since he was three. He likes to be out at night, year round, but he loves to come in to his stall in the AM and nap. Flat out, and deep. If the weather is nice, he goes back out at lunch, if not he can stay in, or go out in a paddock with shelter.

          A couple of weeks ago, we had temps in the high 70's for a day- and he has a full winter coat. He was flat out and got up, and then was flatout again. I ran out, and went over him, sure that he was colicking. He wasn't- just wasn't tolerating the heat well. I brought him in, and put him in front of his fan, and he was happy as all get out!

          They will scare you out of several years of life!
          When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
          www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net
          http://www.asbsporthorse.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            I agree that it may be normal but if it's a change in behavior, keep an eye on her.

            I have 2 that sleep a lot but i know it is normal. My Cushings pony will lie down a lot but more if he is having laminitic flares so it is something i watch for.

            I had an elderly QH that slept like the dead. In fact, people stopped regularly to tell me he was dead. Lol. He never was but they were always so sure I had to go wake him up to prove it to them.

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            • #7
              My paint would lay flat out in the sand and sleep hard! Especially on those sunny, cool, fall or spring mornings. He gave me a serious scare one day when he was out flat at 8am (breakfast time) and I screamed at him while running across the yard. The annoyed look he gave me when he finally and very slowly lifted his head had me doubled over laughing. He certainly didn't understand what all the fuss was about

              As others have stated, if this is not normal for your horse watch her and monitor any other changes. Otherwise she could just be enjoying some peaceful sleep.
              Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bugs's Mom View Post
                My paint would lay flat out in the sand and sleep hard! Especially on those sunny, cool, fall or spring mornings. He gave me a serious scare one day when he was out flat at 8am (breakfast time) and I screamed at him while running across the yard. The annoyed look he gave me when he finally and very slowly lifted his head had me doubled over laughing. He certainly didn't understand what all the fuss was about

                As others have stated, if this is not normal for your horse watch her and monitor any other changes. Otherwise she could just be enjoying some peaceful sleep.
                My couch potato mare is also a Paint. She's fast and fit when she's awake but really knows how to relax. Maybe a breed characteristic?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ASB Stars View Post
                  They will scare you out of several years of life!

                  It's what they do.

                  OP: agree it could be nothing, but like most have said, do keep an eye on your horse for anything NQR.

                  My own aged TB was a Morning Napper, but generally sternal.
                  He had a godawful abcess one Fall that resulted in him sloughing his sole. All through Winter I treated him, soaking, cleaning, wrapping. Twice a day, every day.
                  He was a trouper. Got to where he'd stand, untied in the aisle to soak while he ate his grain, then stand while I went through the routine treatment.
                  We made it to Spring, sole regrew and he graduated to glue-ons, then back to barefoot.
                  I got home from work one day to see him flat out in my pasture with his TWH pal standing over him.
                  My heart sank, I was sure he'd died.
                  Walked over, calling his name. Nothing.
                  I was right on top of him, eyes welling, when he gave a huge sigh & raised his head.
                  Look plainly said: "I was sleeping. Happy now?"

                  Same horse was shedding his Winter coat.
                  I untacked after a lesson and turned him out.
                  He went down to roll, then appeared to be struggling to get up. Forelegs propped, he was rocking back & forth.
                  Trainer & I watched, me certain he'd somehow injured himself....
                  Then she opined: "He's scratching his belly"
                  Yup.
                  He then got up, shook himself off & sauntered away.
                  Add gray hairs
                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It is good to have a horse that will lie down to sleep. If you have a horse that won't lie down to sleep it means they are standing on those legs for 24 hours a day 365/6 days a year. It gives their legs a rest to lie down.

                    They will only lie down if they are comfortable and happy.

                    When they lie down with colic it is not usually a happy lie down. They are usually up and down or rolling or not laying when and where they usually lay.
                    It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The concern I would have is something I posted about recently, a virus. If your horse seems sluggish but not in pain, be sure and take his temperature to check for fever.

                      Here is the other thread about lethargy:
                      https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/f...90748-lethargy

                      "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SuzieQNutter View Post
                        It is good to have a horse that will lie down to sleep. If you have a horse that won't lie down to sleep it means they are standing on those legs for 24 hours a day 365/6 days a year. It gives their legs a rest to lie down.

                        They will only lie down if they are comfortable and happy.

                        When they lie down with colic it is not usually a happy lie down. They are usually up and down or rolling or not laying when and where they usually lay.
                        This is not true and really not great advice in the context of this post! 1) they often lay down when they are sick...definitely not only when they are comfortable and happy. 2) There are many kinds of colic (which is a catch all phrase for any stomach pain). Yes sometimes the response (and usually for acute pain) is to thrash about and roll, but in the case of a longer term more persistent issue that’s not a sudden intense pain scenario, they may just lay down more than usual.

                        Again, if it’s out of character for your horse, it’s worth a closer look. I agree that horses *can* be heavy sleepers (I’ve had some of those over the years too), but laying down can absolutely be a sign of health issues.
                        __________________________________
                        Flying F Sport Horses
                        Horses in the NW

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post

                          This is not true and really not great advice in the context of this post! 1) they often lay down when they are sick...definitely not only when they are comfortable and happy. 2) There are many kinds of colic (which is a catch all phrase for any stomach pain). Yes sometimes the response (and usually for acute pain) is to thrash about and roll, but in the case of a longer term more persistent issue that’s not a sudden intense pain scenario, they may just lay down more than usual.

                          Again, if it’s out of character for your horse, it’s worth a closer look. I agree that horses *can* be heavy sleepers (I’ve had some of those over the years too), but laying down can absolutely be a sign of health issues.
                          Which is where knowing your horse comes in. Where I said when and or where they lay.

                          My boy was lying down right in front of where I park the car. So I was alarmed as soon as I saw him. He got up when I pulled up. He accepted a carrot I gave him his feed and he didn't eat it but pawed and lay down again. Then up again. There was no thrashing or rolling or anything, but the moment he lay down that 2nd time I was on the phone to the vet. This was in less than 5 minutes of me getting home.

                          By the time the vet arrived he had licked his bowl clean, was finishing off his hay and very interested in the empty feed bags I had brought out to show the vet what we are feeding.

                          The vet said he l loved seeing a horse like that when he was called out to a colic. He was tight in the offside flank area so he gave him medicine and I was given specific feeding instructions for that night and the next day.
                          It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Both of my geldings will sleep flat out, HARD. My older guy has given several mini-heart attacks to barn managers (and myself) over the years. He just REALLY enjoys his naps. He will sleep for hours, flat out, in the middle of the day. I had a barn manager tell me she was sure he was dead because her yearling walked over him. Nope, just sleeping!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                              My couch potato mare is also a Paint. She's fast and fit when she's awake but really knows how to relax. Maybe a breed characteristic?
                              Yes, probably very typical of the breed! He could be very fast and fit when he wanted but he loved his naps too!
                              Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                We have 3 horses in our field, my youngest (and the one I always worry about) lays flat and sleeps hard.

                                It’s usually when we are driving away he’s laying flat out and I always make my husband turn around / stop so I can make sure he’s still breathing / not lame.
                                https://www.instagram.com/streamlinesporthorses/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  It depends completely on the individual horse. My arab only laid down in shelter at certain times of day, never by himself, and never out in field. If I were to see him laying down in field in middle of day, I would be very concerned.

                                  My QH, on the other hand, LOVES to sleep anywhere, anytime. I've had concerned passersby stop to ask if he was dead in the arena during long afternoon naps. One time I was riding in a large clinic. Halfway through, my horse decided he wanted a nap, so laid down right in middle of clinic. Instructor was convinced he only laid down to roll... and then was shocked to see that my horse indeed was planning to take nap until I insisted he get up.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thank you all for your input! She was fine in the afternoon and we worked her and still fine this morning. Phew....

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Yeah...I got ‘the call’ last week that my mare was down and would not get up. I had left her barely 2 hours before and she had run to her shed to eat out of her hay net and was happily eating when I left. I said I would be right back out. Soon got another text that she was up but I headed out anyway. It was a very odd time of day for her to be sleeping so soundly...about 1 hour before feeding time. I drove up to see bright eyes greeting me and hauled her into the barn to check her vitals which were completely normal. Who knows? She has been fine. I don’t know what prompted the late afternoon deep snooze?

                                      Glad your mare is fine.

                                      Silly horses. Their lot in life is to scare the heck out of us.

                                      Susan

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Horses do need about 2 hours of REM sleep in 24 hours but it doesn't have to be 2 hours consecutive, plus they can miss a day or two.

                                        For REM they need to either be lying down sternal with their nose on the ground or else flat out.

                                        If they can't lie down at all to for many days due to bad footing or bad hocks or stifles, they can get wierd narcolepsy things happening.

                                        At our barn the horses can all see each other in the runouts and they definitely sleep in shifts. My mare sleeps typically after her breakfast hay drops. If I drop by the barn at 11 pm several specific horses are always out cold flat but my mare is wide awake and ready to party. Other horses reliably sleep in the afternoon despite all the coming and going of people and horses.

                                        If my mare is sleeping at an unusual time its generally because of some disruption to her day like there was loud construction work in the morning.

                                        Her bright hello! look when I arrive even if she doesn't jump to her feet is very different from her dramatic look of pure misery when she drops for colic.

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