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Horse Behavior and Training

Sleep Crashing


I've had a 15yr old gelding QH for 3yrs. His herdmate is a 10yr old gelding. He was a cutting horse from Florida. He does not lay down to sleep. He naps standing up. Because he doesn't reach that REM sleep that horses get laying down, he gets exhausted. While naping standing or if I hold him still for 15mins on occasion, he will weave and just about fall down on one knee, then he forces himself up. He will do this while I'm in the saddle too. Stalling at night makes no difference. I have borrowed other horses and donkies to find a compatable herdmate. He has always been an alfa horse and always on guard. We are in a Civil War Cavalry Unit. He will not lay down with the herd on the picket line for the 2 days.
I have had every test on him and a nuclear scan and I massage him regularly. There is nothing physically wrong with him. He will lay down for 30 seconds after a roll.
He is a confident, incrediably well trained, bombproof horse. Cannons, smoke, gunfire, sabers.. no problem. What can I do next?

Equus Student
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I can see why you are worsried; it sounds like your horse is exhausting himself. You mentioned that you tried stalling him at night. I'm not too familar with American terming, is a stall a small stable where the horse can only stand in one position? That's what it means where i live but please correct me if I'm wrong.
If a stall is what i think it is, maybe you could try stabling him in a really spacious stable where he has plently of room to turn about, roll and lie down and put down a really thick tempting bed.
Hope this helps.


He is in a 12ftx 12ft stall next to my other horse from 9pm- 6am. Plenty of room. Its just a two stall barn. I have soft music to help tune out the wildlife, and even a nite lite. Last nite I put "TravelEase" in his water. Apparently he detected it and refused to drink. I will definately put down more bedding. Thank you.

julie m.
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I know the horses in my barn don't settle totally down until it's pitch black and quiet. I am unsure if your music and nightlight are the right items. I would end off on those if it were me. Sounds like his stall is more than sufficient for a lie down. Does he have a run where he could plop down for a bit? Or a pasture where you can turn him out overnight?

What I would check, which you haven't mentioned, is a vitamin/mineral deficiency. If something is off there, I would imagine it could cause insomnia. I know that is the case with human bodies (lack of B vites does this). Have you had his food tested?

And lastly, if none of the suggestions on the forum help, I would ask Monty. He has that lifetime of experience to draw upon and seems to really love the out-of-the-ordinary questions like yours.

Good luck!