How long can horses lie down? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-05-2010, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2010
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How long can horses lie down?

How long can horses lie down at a time? Bella was down for 45 minutes this afternoon. She was lying completely on her side, would raise her head for a few minutes then lay it back down. (This was according to the barn owner) She wasn't thrashing or rolling just lying still. When I got to the barn/pasture she was up and standing in the shade with her head hung low. She had good gut sounds, gums nice and pink but had rapid breathing. There was no thermometer at the barn so I couldn't take her temp ( I am buying on tomorrow and making my own kit to keep with me, since there isn't one in the barn). She felt hot to me so I sprayed her down with cool water. Normally she fidgets a bit but she just stood there. After about 10 minutes or so she was back to fidgeting (like normal), and grazing. I led her back to the pasture where she went to grazing immediately. I left instructions with the barn owner to call me immediately if anything else happens or if she stays down too long. Does it sound like heat to you? ( It's around 96 here today with high humidity) Was there anything else I could have done, or should have done differently?
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-05-2010, 11:10 PM
Green Broke
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Horses can lay down up to 2 hours if they're just relaxed or "napping". It's usually just 20-30 minutes though. I'd only be worried if she was reluctant to get up when approached or coaxed.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-05-2010, 11:19 PM
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It sounds like she was just to hot, i cant imagine it being that hot around here!
Ive seen horses lay down for 2 hours, flat out, they looked like they were dead. The longest ive seen a horse lay down (compeletly sprawled out) is about 3 hours. but he would stretche his legs every once in a while like a person does when they sit for a long time. he was fine, but i think thats a really long time for them to lay down.

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post #4 of 17 Old 07-05-2010, 11:31 PM
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My old horse lies down for 2 or more hours at a time in the sun pretty much daily My pony lies down every chance he gets, but usually for shorter durations. I personally wouldn't be worried if your horse seems alert and healthy, or as mentioned above, will get up with no reluctance.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-05-2010, 11:49 PM
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My boys love laying out flat - especially when its sunny out. 45 minutes is a quick snooze for them when they are like that.

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post #6 of 17 Old 07-06-2010, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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That's good to know! The barn owner had me in a panic. She sent me a text message saying Bella was acting strange. Said she was laying "like she was dead" in the sun, said she went to the fence and spoke to her but she wouldn't get up. She did not go in the pasture and actually try to get her up. When I got there she was standing in the shade, she wasn't relecutant to walk but wasn't as frisky as normal. After I sprayed her down she seemed better instantly. I was worried mostly because of the way the barn owner acted. She has had horses for at least 30 years and I trust what she says but she can get a little excited sometimes.

Thanks for your replies. I am heading over now to check her out and wait on the farrier to come.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-06-2010, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Update on my girl. She was perfectly fine this morning. The farrier came out & did all the horses, since it is cooler in the barn I left both my girls in their stalls & am going back to let them out to pasture tonight. Thheb go back in the
AM to put them bavk in their stalls. I put the fans on them & they were enjoying the breeze.

Thanks again for the responses. I am fairly new at owning horses & I vow not to be one of ignorant owners that don't try to learn the best way to care for my babies.
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-06-2010, 02:54 PM
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It varies by the horse. Some of mine will only stay down for a few minutes at a time and others will lay out for what seems like hours. When it is hot like that, it is common for me to see mine all laying like dead horses LOL.

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post #9 of 17 Old 07-06-2010, 03:11 PM
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Same. Because horses have poor circulation in their legs and they're so heavy, it's difficult from them to remain in the "sitting up" sleeping position for long. On hot days, it's nothing to see half our herd sprawled out sun bathing - it's like the ultimate pony relaxation and much easier on their legs!
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-06-2010, 04:07 PM
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I would worry more about the rapid breathing than the napping. That part DOES sound like the heat. My old man was doing that very thing this afternoon with the heat. I hose all of mine down with cold water during the hottest part of the day and then let them drip dry in the shade.

"Keep a leg on each side and your mind in the middle"
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