Do Horses Sleep With Their Eyes Open

There are two main theories about why horses sleep with their eyes open. The less popular theory is that this position helps dry out the eye tissue, but some experts believe it also aids in temperature regulation.

The more common theory states that by opening their eyelids up, horses use their sense of smell to determine if there are any threats around them. If they do not feel threatened, then they will close their eyelids and go into a deeper sleep.

This article will talk about how to help your horse get closer sleeps by closing its mouth and ears while he/she is asleep.

Modern significance

do horses sleep with their eyes openRecent studies have questioned whether or not horses sleep with their eyes open. Some believe that they do, while others think they close them slightly during sleep. Either way, this is only significant if you plan to breed your horse or purchase a young horse.

If you are planning to get married soon, then it’s important to know what kind of sleeping pattern your horse has. Not knowing can cost you thousands of dollars!

There is an easy way to determine if horses sleep with their eyes closed by looking at a small amount of hair. If there is no fur around their eyelids, then they probably close their eye completely when asleep. This may seem very obvious, but many people don’t check this until after the animal is already theirs.

That’s why we made this article! Hopefully you will learn about some things you should look for before buying a horse so that you aren’t wasting money on something that doesn’t work for you.

Horses have different sleeping patterns

do horses sleep with their eyes openOnly about one in three horses is considered to sleep with their eyes closed, even while resting. The others either keep them slightly open or close them completely as they snooze.

Some experts believe that this habit helps protect horses’ sensitive eyesight by limiting exposure to bright light. However, it can also prevent them from getting enough rest and may contribute to health problems.

Horses who sleep with their eyelids half-closed are usually very sleepy during the day, which is why most people never see them awake. But at night, when they should be more active, they remain asleep.

It’s important for horse owners to know whether your horse sleeps with his/her lids partially closed so you can determine if this behavior is healthy or not.

Horses sleep in different positions


While some horses do not close their eyes when they are sleeping, this is only because of how they were raised.

Horses that are trained to sleep with closed eyes are called “sleepy” or “droopy-eyed” horses. These types of horses develop this habit at an early age when their owners reward them by letting them sleep with their eyes closed.

However, this isn’t the normal way most horses sleep. Only 5% of horse breeds have been observed to consistently close off their eyelids while sleeping. The rest either keep their eyelids slightly open or completely awake during their nap.

Why does it matter if a horse sleeps with its lids closed? Because it may indicate health problems.

Horses sleep for long periods of time

do horses sleep with their eyes openEven though horses are bred to work hard, they actually spend a large amount of time doing nothing at all! Approximately one third of their day is spent sleeping.

Horses need eight to twelve hours of rest every twenty-four hours. They have very efficient body clocks so they do not need much sleep at night and wake up around sunrise to start their day.

When a horse does not get enough sleep, it can cause severe health problems such as eye disease or death. Because horses are social animals, you should also consider how tired your horse seems after work and what symptoms he or she may be suffering from.

It is important to recognize when your horse needs some down time to restore his energy. If your horse looks listless, has dull fur, and/or droops its head while standing, he may need rest. You can help him find it by giving him more opportunities to relax and learn how to relax himself.

Horses sleep with their eyes open

do horses sleep with their eyes openContrary to popular belief, horses do not typically sleep with their eye sockets closed. They actually relax their muscles enough that they close their eyelids as they fall asleep. This is one of their most well-documented sleeping patterns!

Many people believe that because horses have large eyeballs that they must be awake all night while dreaming or something. However, this assumption is false.

Horses’s eyes are very strong membranes made of thin layers of tissue. These tissues contract and relax at regular intervals to preserve proper function of the eye. When a horse sleeps, both the front and back lids drop down and remain relaxed until she wakes up in the morning.

This way her eyes can stay protected and functional for another day. It also helps protect her from external factors like dirt and water that could hurt or wake her up later.

Horses need to breathe oxygen

Many people believe that horses sleep with their eyes open, but this is not true at all! When a horse is sleeping, it needs to breath air so it closes its eye lids in order to do so.

When a horse is awake, its eyelid does not close completely because it does not needed to breathe. This is why you will see some dogs who will keep their closed eye lid up while they are asleep-they do not have to worry about breathing!

Why does a horse need to breathe when it sleeps?

Sleep is an essential part of your horse’s life. Breathing is one of the most important functions of human beings (we take short breaks during our day due to this reason), and similarly for horses. Without adequate rest, your horse could become sick or even die.

Their bodies use sleep to restore themselves between activities, which means that sleep is an integral part of his/her health.

Horses that are not properly hydrated will sleep with their eyes open


When horses do not get enough water, they will go into sleep mode to try and compensate by concentrating on other things. They may close or keep their eyelids slightly opened, but they cannot fully shut them due to lack of moisture.

This is called “sleep-leaking” because some of the fluid in the body is seeping out through the eye openings. This happens very slowly so it can go unnoticed for quite some time before someone notices something isn’t right.

If your horse has this problem then you should be aware of it as soon as possible as sleeping with half closed eyes could be a warning sign of more serious health issues. (Sleep apnea being one example.

Horses that are sick should be checked on often


If your horse is not sleeping well, it could be because of something health related. While some horses sleep with their eyes closed to protect themselves from light or other factors, most do not!

Many healthy horses will close their eyelids while they’re asleep. This way, only part of an eye can see out, protecting them from bright lights and excessive exposure to sunlight.

If this isn’t happening for you though, then something may be wrong. Your horse might have pain or inflammation which is keeping him awake at night.

It’s very important to watch your horse carefully if he seems unwell. Also make sure his water bowl is full and check his faeces for any signs of discomfort or illness.

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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