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Why are my horses doing this?

Hi, everyone!

This is my first post, so, be kind, please. :slight_smile:

I have three horses; QH gelding who is 8yo, QH mare who is 22yo, and a Holsteiner WB gelding who is 15 yo. I have about 16 acres of pasture for them. But, they appear to want to spend all their time during the day standing/sleeping up in the direct sunlight in the dusty sand, instead of being out in the pastures and or just simply out of the sun in their lean-to’s.

Now, I must admit, I am not there 24/7, so I’m only catching a glimpse of their day; perhaps they are spending a lot of time out in the green pastures, and it’s just my timing. But, at the same time, it worries me that it’s so coincidental that nearly every time I come to see them, even if I switch up the times of day, they seem to always be there, in the dusty sand, in the direct sunlight.

They appear to be happy and have good demeanors. Their body weights are good, too (except for my WB, but he’s always a hard keeper, and I’ve got that under control).

Anyone have any ideas? It drives me bonkers!

Thanks, everyone!

They are doing this because they like standing in the sun in the dusty sand.

It may also be the place that has fewest flies, the place where they can watch the road, or the place closest to where they are fed.

Dogs and cats have habits closer to humans. We all like to curl up snug in a warm burrow protected from the elements.

Horses are usually most comfortable in wide open spaces where they can see what’s coming and they don’t mind the elements nearly as much as we do.


I feel ya!

I have a 21 year old mare, who I’ve had since she was two. Instead of being in the shed, or shade, she stands in the heat. This would not be such a big issue except that she has sweet itch, and is a non-sweater who will not live in a stall. Oh! And a lousy keeper.

They do what they want to do, and we just have do follow along some times, and take the best care we can.

You’re obviously a great horse Mom to care enough to risk a post on COTH! :lol: It kind of is what it is!


If they are happy and healthy, don’t worry about it. Unless you suspect subclnical laminitis, which may cause them to seek out the soft sand to stand on.

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Are they out 24/7 or are they stalled for part of the day?

I have observed that horses that are out 24/7 are much smarter about using shade from the sun and shelter from the elements than horses that live in part of the day. It is almost like horses that are stalled want to make the most of their turnout time and outdoor horses know they aren’t going to be in so they can spend time in the shed when it is raining/snowing.

I find horses don’t tend to use run ins for shade that often. . . they like to be able to look around and see everything and a shed blocks their view. My horse is stalled at night but she will stand under a big tree in her field when its hot. She can still see everything and be in the shade.

Horses will be horses. . . I think this is where the expression that you can lead them to water but can’t make them drink came from!


And when it rains they stand out there munching on the round bales. When it snows, they stand out there, munching on the round bales…

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They are probably eating the grass at night when the flies are not out. They have to rest sometime and prefer to do that during the day where the shelter is close when they need it.

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Don’t sweat it! I’ve had two Arabian mares who lived outside 24/7. One of them refused to use the run-in unless it was over 50 degrees and she had her winter coat (she was a hairy beast). She’d use it for a wind-block in nasty weather, but wouldn’t stand in it, and yes, there was enough room for all of the horses, and she went in there since the water trough was in there. The other one runs for the shelter as soon as there’s a rain drop (unless there’s hay. Eating takes priority over shelter).

You will learn that horses stand around all day saying “what can we do to make our person worry?”

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