Feb. 24, 2012 “Siesta”

Day 24

Siesta

Painting a Day

Day 24

“Siesta”

A siesta (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsjesta]) is a short nap taken in the early afternoon, often after the midday meal.

Siesta, nap, power nap, resting the eyes, cat nap, taking a rest…..whatever you want to call it, sometimes your body just needs one!

The sleeping habits of horses are rather different than most people. Most people sleep one long stretch of sleep in a 24 hour day. Horses rest for short periods but more frequently. Foals lie down for frequent naps and spend about half of their day sleeping until they are about three months old. As the foal gets older the frequency of the naps becomes less and they are more likely to stand rather than lie down.

Adult horses sleep for about 3 hours each 24 hour period. The length and type of sleep is affected by diet, temperature, workload, gestation and gender. The period of each sleep phase is very brief, lasting only a few minutes at a time. Young horses tend to sleep more than mature horses. Senior horses may doze more frequently.  Mature horses most frequently rest in a standing position.  The ‘stay apparatus’ of the forelegs and ‘check apparatus’ (functions of the leg tendons and ligaments) of the hind legs allows them to rest and relax while not falling down.  The rotation of the hips triggers the stay function of the hind legs.  A sleeping horse will carry most of its weight on the two forelegs and one hind leg. One hind leg will relax with the hoof resting up on the toe.  The head and neck droop, and during deep sleep the ears are relaxed, the eyes close and the lips may droop. Lying down is actually more stressful for a horse than standing. Their own weight causes pressure on their internal organs. But most horses will lie down for a brief rest every day if they have a comfortable place to do so. Some will become so relaxed that they twitch and snore, just like a dog—or the hub.

 

Reference:Horses Behavior: the Behavioral Traits and Adaptions of Domestic and Wild Horses, Incuding Ponies. by George H. Waring Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois, Noyes Publications-William Andrew Publishing, LLC 1983 ISBNL 0-8155-027-8

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