Let Sleeping Horses Lie (Sunbathing)

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Every spring and summer I get a call or two from our local animal shelters. They have gotten panicked calls from people reporting dead horses in fields that people drive by. If the fields are located near my home, the shelters request that I please go out to check on the situation.

Deb_Eldredge_DVM_Horse_Jour

I am very happy to be working with local animal control people but that is not the problem here. The first couple of times, I dutifully drove out to the fields. Knowing most of the horses near me, I figured I would be surprised if they were lying in the field dead. Knowing many of the owners, I would be surprised that they left a dead horse out in the field.

What I found was what I suspected ? horses out sunbathing. In many cases, the horses were already up and walking about grazing. Now I tell the shelters to have the people call back in four or five hours IF the horses are still ?dead? in the field. So far all of the horses have miraculously recovered.

Horses do seem to enjoy sunbathing on warm days. Both older horses and foals seem to do this the most. Often the horses will be stretched out flat on their sides. I suspect some of them may even be sound asleep and snoring. Generally there will be at least one or two horses up and grazing ? sort of the security guards on duty for that shift.

With three senior horses, a lot of sunbathing goes on at our house. Our donkeys will take turns sunbathing too; though I have never caught the mini horse lying flat out.

I like seeing horses out sunbathing. It means they are comfortable enough in their surroundings to just totally relax. It also means that an older horse is capable of still getting up and down. It means that foals feel secure with their dams near by.

Do you have horses who sunbathe' Have you ever panicked at the sight of horses flat out in the field'