We go to bed at night and sleep no less than 8 hours. So it is often automatically thought that horses do the same. Just like we give them three meals, we think they need variety in their food or a rug when we feel cold.
Well, none of this is correct. Horses don’t sleep all night. They do 5 to 15 minute short naps per 24 hours – standing up. Occasionally they lie down for a few minutes of deeper sleep, but that is never for long. That would be unwise being a prey animal because then they would be eaten in the wild. People who keep their horses in the stable at night often see by the bedding and the dirt on their horse that they have laid down. The conclusion is quickly that their horse sleeps at night. That’s right, your horse has laid down because they learn that they will not be disturbed for several hours, so that is a good time to rest. A horse only goes to sleep lying down if it feels really safe. However, he does not sleep through the night, so it is important to give plenty of roughage at night.
A horse does not get cold that quickly. Heat is released in his intestines during the digestion of roughage. So an extra slice of hay helps when it is cold. A rug prevents a horse from getting wet and dirty, which can be useful. It does not cause less coat growth. The production of the amount of hair is genetical. You can fool his body into thinking it’s a different season by having a lot of light on in his stable in the evening. That is an artificial extension of daylight (as if it were not winter). In that case you must of course supplement the thinner coat with a warm rug when he goes outside and that also applies if you clip him.
· Always meet the three most important welfare demands of a horse
· Spring grass is dangerous stuff
· If you give a supplement then stick to the prescribed dose
- Consult with your Vet about worm control
- Good farriers are worth their weight in gold