While we need about eight hours of sleep a night to be at our best, our equine counterparts sleep just three to four hours a day in short bits at a time. Plus, they spend most of that sleep time standing up. How do they do this? With an internal “stay apparatus” of tendons and ligaments that allows them to lock their front legs while relaxing one hind leg and rotating their hips, so they can snooze without keeling over.
But to get that quality REM sleep, horses must lie down—either stretched out flat on the ground or partially upright with their legs tucked underneath them. And, believe it or not, many researchers report that horses do, in fact, dream. In REM sleep, their eyes move rapidly back and forth, and sometimes they grunt, twitch their ears, and even move their feet. Makes you wonder what dreams those may be, doesn’t it?