Another common concern is when people see their horse standing still with his head lowered for periods of time. Is he depressed? Or is he just resting?
Horses can sleep standing up, due to an inbuilt locking mechanism in their legs, meaning that they can stay upright without any conscious effort on their part. Their sleeping pattern is quite different from ours in that they have frequent, short periods of sleep throughout a 24hr cycle, rather than one long one. It is also important for them to be able to have times when they can lie down and sleep more deeply. In order to do this they need to feel completely safe. This allows them to enter REM sleep and to engage in full rest and repair. Sleep deprivation can cause illness, just as it does in humans.
One of the key things is always to know your horse’s normal temperament. Observe him regularly and then you will be able to read him more easily.
Symptoms that could indicate depression are:
- little interest in other horses or activity
- standing still for long periods
- being overly-calm, possibly indicating that the horse has ‘shut down’
- a lack of interest in food
If you would like to know more about Equine Body Language, or about care for your horse in general, I have created a series of videos which are available through my website: www.equenergy.com or by following this link: If Horses Could Talk video series
Please also feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or to book a session with me for you and your horse:
mobile: 07980 669303
You can read the full article here