Whether you’re working horses every day or just have them out in the pasture during the summer, you may not realize how much time they spend sleeping. The answer to “where do horses sleep on a farm” depends on the type of barn and routine. Bustling training barns, busy breeding farms and other equine facilities often have activity going on at all hours of the night, making it more difficult for the horses to get restful sleep.
In the wild, horses are herd animals and sleep in shifts to keep watch over each other against predators. A herd horse might take a short snooze standing up, then stretch out to lie down and get some deep sleep. These naps are important for the horse’s health, as they help their body to recuperate from exercise and to process dietary fiber.
As with people, horses go through different stages of light and deeper sleep during the night to function properly. The deeper phases of sleep are only seen when the horse is lying down. If a horse does not get the deep sleep they need, they will become irritable and their performance will suffer.
The best place for a horse to sleep is in a large, comfortable stall with bedding like straw or wood shavings. A stall that is too small or filled with concrete is uncomfortable, and will not encourage the horse to lie down, so it’s important to have enough space for a full-sized adult horse. The bedding should be deep enough to provide cushioning, insulation and absorbency. Overhead stall lights should be kept off, as artificial light interferes with the normal sleep/wake cycle.