What do horses dream of?
Whether they know it or not, many domestic horses are already living most humans’ dream…working for an hour or so, then hanging out with friends and having food brought to them by their human servants. So what do they dream of when we see them happily snoozing in the sun? We may never know exactly, but based on equine sleep cycles, it does seem likely that they experience something similar to our own dream states.
Drowsiness: In this phase, the horse dozes, and may lock its knees and stifles to stay upright, but is not fully asleep.
Short-wave sleep (SWS): In this phase, brain function slows to slow, regular waves as measured on an EEG machine. Horses spend about two hours each day in this phase over several sleep periods throughout the day.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep: Rapid-eye movement sleep means that the horse’s brain shows similar patterns to wakefulness, including increased heart rate, yet it is the deepest phase of sleep. Horses stay in REM sleep for only a matter of minutes in each sleep phase.
While it has not been proven that horses dream during REM sleep, any horse owner who has seen a horse’s ears swiveling back and forth or legs kicking out in sleep will tell you that they’re definitely thinking about something.
I like to think this Paint is dreaming of being a dressage horse. Look at those hind legs stepping under!
Or maybe they dream of revenge on that annoying barn dog…
This mini horse talks in his sleep:
So does Natty the PMU mare…but by the way she has her nose buried in grass, I’d bet she’s dreaming of sampling the world’s largest salad.
And of course…who could forget “Horses, Peacefully Farting and Snoring”? If they dreamed of becoming a Horse Nation sensation, then their dream came true.