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Can Horses Sit Down? And 5 More Intriguing Equine Facts

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Horses are some of the most interesting animals in the world. While many people are familiar with their powerful stride, there are some things that you might not be as aware of.

Interestingly, horses can’t sit down without assistance or training; however, they can get into a sitting position when getting up. Horses spend most of their time standing to escape predators. Horses also have a mechanism that allows them to rest while they’re standing up.

Some horse owners teach their horses to sit down; however, it’s unnatural. If you catch sight of a horse in a sitting, it’s because the horse is rising after lying down.

If you’re interested in checking out the best horse training videos you can find them by clicking here.

Horses don’t sit down; they sit up.

Horses can’t bend their rear legs and sit on the ground; it’s anatomically impossible. Their weight would cause them to crash into the ground and possibly injure themselves.


When a horse rises after a rest, they manipulate their bodies into a position resembling a seated position. However, some owners teach horses to sit. They do this by backing their animals up and having them rest their hind end on a sturdy object.

By using treats and coaxing you to can teach your horse to sit down. I urge you to be careful and make sure your horse has a secure object to place its weight on. Remember, most horses weigh over 1,000 lbs.

Here is a helpful youtube video with instructions that show the basics of how to teach your horse to sit. This YouTube video is an excellent example of the patience required to train a horse new tricks.

Horses rarely put themselves in a vulnerable position.

One of the biggest reasons why horses sleep and rest standing up is because they are a prey species. Because other animals might try to eat them, they always need to be alert.

As a result, they can take off quickly if they spot trouble, using their speed to help them evade death.

However, they might still lie down, which allows them to achieve a deeper level of sleep. Like humans, it’s believed that entering a deeper level of sleep is vital to make sure that their brains continue to function correctly.

When they’re in this deeper level of sleep, they always make sure to have another horse nearby, to wake them if there is danger. Typically, these periods of deep sleep will last for around two to three hours.

Aside from their inability to sit down, there are a few other interesting facts that help set horses apart in the animal kingdom. Let’s look at some of the most fascinating aspects of these animals.

How Can Horses Rest Standing Up?

To be able to sleep, standing up is a unique skill in which horses have evolved. The reason why a horse can doze while standing up is that they have developed a stay apparatus that allows them to lock three legs in place while resting one.

As we mentioned, horses tend to be reluctant to sleep while lying down. It can take too long for them to get to their feet if they’re in danger. As a result, they can doze off while standing. To allow them to do this, they have developed a stay apparatus.

The stay apparatus is a unique series of ligaments and tendons in their legs. By using this, they can lock three legs into place, while resting one. 

Throughout their doze, they’ll alternate which leg they’re resting. Because horses are such massive animals, their legs must be able to continue to hold themselves up.

However, the stay apparatus has another critical function. By locking their legs into place, they’re able to become more stable. The stay apparatus ensures that they won’t fall while they’re resting.

The amount of time that these standing naps last can vary significantly, based on their requirements. However, it’s estimated that they will spend between five to seven hours each day resting while standing up. Then, they’ll need to spend some time lying down, to achieve a deeper sleep.

Picture of a chesnut baby horse.

How Soon After Birth Can Foals Start Running?

Being able to sleep standing up isn’t the only exceptional skill that horses have at their disposal. Around thirty minutes after being born, a foal can stand and start nursing. In most cases, they’ll be able to start walking and running within the first 90 minutes.

Another way to protect themselves from predators is by keeping the herd as mobile as possible. The ideal way to do this is by making sure that the foals can start running as soon after birth as possible.

When they are first born, the foal relies on instinct to tell them what to do. As a result, they’re able to stand up very quickly after a few failed attempts. In most cases, it only takes them 30 minutes to stand up and start suckling, and this ensures that they get the nutrients that they need.

After the foal has suckled, they start to play running for the first time; this typically happens within the first two hours of their birth. Though they will, understandably, be a little unsteady on their feet at first, they’ll soon pick up the art of running.

How Fast Can A Horse Run?

The average horse achieves a galloping speed of around 40 miles an hour, and this speed is fast enough to carry them out of danger. It’s also been helpful for humans since they became domesticated.

When they were living in the wild, horses needed to rely on their speed. Their long legs and powerful muscles, allowed them to run very quickly. Their quick speed ensured they would be able to escape danger.

However, when they were domesticated around 5,000 years ago, humans started to use their power for other purposes. For example, the horse became a valuable tool for rounding up cattle.

They were also used in racing, giving riders the thrill of riding a horse at full speed. In some cases, when at full gallop, a horse can travel at 40 miles (60 kilometers) an hour.

As horse racing advances with modern technology and enhanced training methods, the speed of horses will likely continue to increase, as breeders pay millions for the fastest racehorses. As of 2006, the most money ever paid for a horse was $16 million, even though he had yet to be named.

Can Horses See 360 Degrees?

The eyes of the horse have evolved to be highly acute. Because they are located on the side of their head, the horse can see almost 360 degrees. They also have excellent depth perception.

Horses have excellent eyesight. Originally, this allowed them to stay alert, seeing potential predators coming. However, in recent years, it’s allowed them to perform skilled feats like showjumping and racing.

There are a few things that make horse eyes so special. First, they are mounted on the side of their head. As a result, they can get an almost 360-degree field of vision.

However, this comes with a small downside. There won’t be many times when the two eyes overlap, and this causes them not to have much binocular vision. They also have an excellent lens, which is responsible for focusing light onto the retina.

As a result, they can better focus on objects in the distance. Because of this, they tend to have 20/30 vision. It should also be noted that, while they see in color, they often have a more muted palette than humans.

Finally, horses have some of the biggest eyes of land mammals. This is because, based on new researchthe animal’s size and mass are the most significant factors that determine how large an animal’s eyes will be. This is because they need to have a better vision to avoid colliding with objects, as they run at high speed.

Final Thoughts

For many years, humans have been in love with horses. From their extraordinary athletic abilities to their racing capabilities, they can endlessly fascinate.

We’ve looked at some of the most interesting equine facts. For example, they’re able to use muscles to lock their legs in place when resting.

They’re also able to start running within 30 minutes of standing up and can achieve a speed of around 40 miles an hour once they’re fully grown. We also saw the complex eye system that a horse has, allowing them to see almost 360 degrees.

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