Do Miniature Horses Lay Down?

Horses will lay down for different reasons. Maybe you are a nosy neighbor lol or have your own horses to worry about laying down can be normal but you do need to take precautions. If you are new horse owner definitely read a bit about it. Mini horses for the most part have identical traits to regular sized horses.

So do mini horses lay down?

Mini horses do lay down to sleep as well as stand up to sleep. Most min’s won’t lay down outside by themselves so if they are laying down after grazing it may be cause for concern with colic since they are more vulnerable to it. However if they are laying down in their enclosed stall that is usually normal as they feel safe there. 

Horses laying down is normal. Although they do sleep standing up most of the time they will lay down when they need REM sleep. They generally don’t need much REM sleep so if they are laying around often that might be a sign of something or maybe they are just full and like getting comfortable on the ground.

We have horses that lay down and graze on our farm especially when the sun and temp is perfect for them. So it may be nothing to worry about however we will go over some of the signs you may need to worry about and possible call your vet out to check out your mini horse.

Why Does My Mini Keep Laying Down?

First of if you are really worried don’t wait call your vet out or at least talk to them on the phone directly. They are probably familiar with your mini and can give you best advice. There are many reasons why horses might lay down most are good and not bad the biggest one to worry about is colic:

  • Nice Weather – a lot of the time especially when the winter weather breaks your horse will enjoy the warmer weather and fresh grass that is growing. So when they are feeling good they will lay down for a bit which is normal.
  • Full Belly – if you have good sized pasture you do have to be a bit careful with mini’s overeating. Most horses know when to stop and not over do it and that is usually when they might lay down and relax.
  • Tired – if they have been running around playing a lot that day they will get tired and lay down if they feel the need to just keep a close eye if they are getting up and laying down constantly probably something more too it.
  • Sleep – they do need REM sleep and in order to get that they will lay down. But they won’t normally need much REM however if they get behind in REM they may be catching up for that lost time.
  • Pregnant – if you have a pregnant mini they may lay down much more as they are eating and caring for two and get wore down and tired just like a normal pregnancy. But if you feel this to be abnormal do call your vet.
  • Colic – colic just means abdominal pain. This could be why your horse is laying down and getting up constantly. If your horse shows signs of colic then do call your vet immediately. Some signs of colic are laying down and getting up constantly, laying down then rolling around and repeating, looking at their flank and pawing the ground.


How Long Can A Mini Horse Lay Down Safely?

We love mini’s, but we also like getting different answers from real mini horse owners so we can get you the best information out there. So we went out and compiled a long list of answers from mini owners talking about why and if their miniature horses lay down.

We curated this information from mini horse forums and horse sub reddits.

Here’s what these owners said about their mini’s laying down: 

Real Mini Owner Answers

1. Blake1721 “Normal” – It’s totally normal. Most horses do lay down for short periods of time to rest. As long as the horse gets up easily on their own when you approach, he’s just fine. You only need to worry when there’s a horse that can’t or won’t get up and stay up.

2. Jingle1723 “Not Unusual” – It is not unusual at all to “not see” your horse laying down full out. My youngest was here for about a year or two before he was comfortable for me to come in the barn and “catch” him laying down. Now he does not care whether I am there or not if he wants to lay down he will do so. Some horses just like to lay down a lot…I had one that did it all the time through out the day, he just liked to do it. I have another that likes to do it but not all the time but does not care if you come into sight while he is laying down…they all have their likes and dislikes. After all your dad has seen this horse laying down, chances are that it lays down a lot more than what has been seen. If there are no warning signs of anything serious I would not worry, sooner or later the horse will be comfortable with its surroundings and you will no doubt catch it laying down.

3. Kat “Sometimes Is Okay” – Horses can lay down sometimes, just not for extended periods, like all night. Some horses just like to chill out for a minute. If he can get up, then he is fine.

4. Kuunoita “It Is Normal” – Horses can lay down. Often they do to sleep or to roll around. Where you heard they can’t lay down was misinformation.

It is normal for them. Do not be alarmed by it.

The only time you would not let them lay down is if they have colic. Then they have to stay on their feet and moving so they do not lay down and roll. If they do when they have colic they will twist their gut and most likely die.

5. Whistler “Just check on them to make sure they can move” – theres a lot of answers here and just about all are right my horses lay down all the time its not a big deal i just whistle at them every now and then to make sure they are not laying couse they feel sick i to have a mini and i think she sun baths half the day or it seems like it anyway

6. Skyeacresaviary “See It All The Time” – Ive seen horses lay down all the time. Wild horses of the french camargue often sleep laying down or on their side when they feel safe. As for domestic horses, Ive seen them lay down, but I never really looked into it, im more into wild ancestors of our domestic animals than of the domestic animal itself.

7. Whte Socks Miniature “Worried Call The Vet” – If your really worried id call the vet and get an appointment set up sometime to check it out and give her a good one over.

Is it possible with the nicer weather shes just not relaxing and enjoying it more? I know my two girls are always up and moving in winter but the minute its summer they louge around all day basking in the sun!!



8. Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis “Are They Passing Food and Liquid?” – It is so hard to say it could be anything including she is just tired and enjoying the nice weather in some cat naps however one thing to remember is that when a horse is colicking.. they dont always roll violently sometimes the only indication you get is they lay down and get back up more then normal they all have different pain thresholds.

Is she passing normal amounts of manure and drinking normal amounts of water?

9. BackwoodsNanny “Could Be Signs Of Laminitis” – The only horse I have had who would do this was a mare who was experiencing the beginnings of laminitisl Could the grazing have brought on a touch of laminitis and Im not talking about full blown founder but some heat in her feet that made it difficult for her to stand? My mare never did get really lame but did have warmth when touching her feet and her laying down often was the sign that allerted us that something wasnt right this was in the early spring as well. Immediately OFF grass and a reduction of feed and she never did rotate but now gets NO grass and has done fine since.
10. ShowMeTheGlory “Usually Okay” – Laying down usually is not a big deal unless they are thrashing and/or they cannot get back up.

11. KSAQHA “Can Be A Red Flag” – Well, after losing a 16-yr old mare over the past weekend, that’s how it began for her. Started lying done Friday evening, would lay flat, sit back up, stand up…rinse and repeat. No rolling, thrashing, kicking at belly or other ‘classic’ signs of colic. After two local vet visits between Fri. night and Sat. morning, took her to an equine specialist group Sat. afternoon. After a battery of diagnostic tests, bloodwork, tubing, electrolytes, and a drugs galore, they still could not determine the problem. Brought her back home late Sat. night…had to put her down Sun. morning.

In other words, BIG red flag…at least IME.

12. LaruaKY “Hard To Say” – All horses don’t show the same colic symptoms. We’ve had one that will lie down, get up, over and over and he hung along the fence line following me as I worked on the other side. But then, he’s the smart one that always comes for help when he’s in trouble. Another wouldn’t drink, was a little off feed and walked stiffly (impaction colic in progress, and of course the not drinking really helped it along). Neither one had the “usual” colic symptoms.

I think after a day of what you’ve described I’d be calling a vet. Has anyone taken a temp, heart rate, respiration, listened for gut sounds? Checked the gums for capillary refill time? Checked for dehydration? That should be done as soon as you notice a horse is acting oddly (and the BO or BM should see that it gets done).

13. TwoFatPonies “Depends On The Horse” – It really depends on what’s normal for the horse. Because this caught your eye and seemed “strange”, then it probably is a sign of some distress or illness. Your gut is probably good on this one.

Thoughts – so as you can see it is mostly going to come down to what your horse normally does. Horses have different characteristics just like people and can be lazy just like people. When in doubt call your vet so you don’t have to make a decision.

Related Questions

Do Miniature Horses Sleep Standing Up?

Yes miniature horses do sleep standing up most of the time, but will lay down to get their REM sleep. They will also lay down more in comfortable areas like an enclosed stall especially once they are settled in and comfortable at your place.

Do Mini Horses Die If They Lay Down?

No mini horses will definitely not die just from laying down. Now if they laying down because of something like Colic you will need to act quickly so they don’t pass away.

How Long Should Horses Lay Down For?

Horses laying down and how much for how long will vary greatly from horse to horse. So follow their pattern and see how they act. They will get into a routine most of the time and over the years you will understand that routine more and more. If they are laying down for a few minutes and getting back up that can be a bad thing and be due to colic.

How Long Can A Mini Horse Lay Down Safely?

A mini horse laying down is fine for a bit of an extended period. If you are nervous walk up or whistle to them to get them up and moving if you are worried. I would be more worried if they laying down for a few minutes then jumping up looking back at their flank and laying back down. If they repeat this pattern definitely give your vet a call.

Do Mini Horses Lie Down On Their Sides?

Yes minis will lie down on their sides as well. If they weather is getting nicer they may eat a little too much and just lie down for a bit getting comfortable. Also if you are just taking their blanket off they are going to be rolling and laying around on their side for a bit.

Final Thoughts

Spend a lot of time with your mini when you first get them to get their patterns down. That first year especially need to pay close attention to what they are doing in the different seasons then you will notice things out of the ordinary over the years. You guys are going to have a long life together as mini’s live to 25-30 years old.

When in doubt call your vet and get their opinion. Mini’s are more prone to colic since they are smaller.


I have owned over 50 horses and currently own a small horse farm with 8 horses. I have competed on and off for over 25 years while doing mostly trail riding and cow sorting these days. I write these articles to help anyone out there if you love this article pin it to your Pinterest or Share on other social media platform. Thanks for visiting.

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