Have you ever seen your horse sleep and watch their hooves twitching as though they were running through a pasture of daisies? Have you heard them snore or seen them have REM? For most of us horse owners the answers to those questions is yes. So the question is do horses dream?
This is a question that has been bandied about for generations. Horses often sleep standing up, but they need to lie down for rest from time to time. Scientists believe that it is when a horse lies down to rest that it is truly in ‘deep sleep.’ Like humans horses experience rapid-eye-movement (REM) in deep sleep. People dream during REM sleep, and it appears that horses do too.
REM is a strong sign that horses dream. Scientists believe that dogs often dream so there is no real reason to not believe that horses dream too. One must ponder what a horse dreams of. Dogs we can see dreaming of chasing a rabbit or a cat. Perhaps horses dream of endless waves of green grass and sparkling streams or of riderless ventures into the world beyond their fence.
Our horse filled lives just seem more fulfilled believing that our four legged companions can dream as we do, that they have that outlet. So the next time your horse hits the hay for a little deep sleep let’s hope they dream for science is now uncovering that dreams play a central role in our emotional health, our memory and our learning and could very well do the same for animals. REM sleep is linked to the restoration of mental wellbeing.
So dream well our four legged friends, dream well.