Yep... tho there's nothing that *looks* deader than a horse sleeping flat out on its side, sometimes with the topmost pair of legs sticking out into the air without any support, as if attached to an already-stiffened corpse! And I've seen one that slept with all four legs pointed skyward, like a dead cartoon horse.
You can get problems if a horse stays down for a prolonged period, because their digestion and circulation both partly rely on being upright on all four legs. But laying down for a few hours "just because" is perfectly normal.
Lying down in a confined space or up against something can be a problem too -- the horse can get "cast" ie. unable to roll to where it can get its legs back under itself. Then someone has to drag or roll the horse into more open space so it can get up (and avoid getting their head kicked square in the process).
Friend had a ranch horse with some odd ideas... Habibi would steal your shirt if you hung it on the fence. He'd also grab cats and carry them off into the hills. The bedraggled cat would come staggering back 2 or 3 days later, but the shirts were seldom seen again.
I'm not a horse expert by any stretch of the imagination, more of a fangirl. When authors get horse details wrong it does drive me a little crazy. I guess there is always a subculture that you're going to run up against in these situations which is why we do research. I'm sure the same thing will happen if you get car details wrong, or gun details, etc.
The book on her site does look pretty interesting, I must admit.
Wordcaster, your mention of not using horses in your science fiction stories reminded me of the time I was on a panel at a SF convention with Steven Brust (author of JHEREG, etc). He insisted that STAR TREK would have been better with horses.
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Oh, if you think horses are messed up in fiction... speaking as a canine professional, I assure you, dogs are done WAY worse. Talk about making crap up because it sounds good! I don't even go there, I'd have to kill them all.
But my personal pet peeve in SF/F is climate. Now, I've lived and worked outdoors in both extremes, arctic-calibre winters and desert summers, so I'm pretty familiar with life in both... but 99% of the fictional characters consigned to either... are dead. They've died of exposure, one way or another. The author describes conditions I know requires NN-gear to be comfortable or at least XX-gear to barely survive... and fails to give their characters either. You don't just put on gloves to cope with -40F and a blizzard, and you don't just carry a canteen to cope with +120F and unremitting sun...
I've been around horses all my life and have shown on regional and national levels. I trained a reserve national champion that placed 2nd in the nation and also gave riding lessons for 8 years.
Now that I've posted my qualifications, the lady who wrote about horses laying down is right on the money... Buuuuuutttt I'd like to add a little that she left out:
Not only do horses lay down, but when a group of horses wants to snooze, one horse will always be on guard duty just in case some sneaky predator wants to try an attack. All the other horses in the group can lay down and snooze except the one on guard. Then, if the one on guard feels the need to sleep, he/she will nudge one of the snoozing horses awake to take his/her place so he/she can lay down.
One time at a horse show, I had to get my horse ready for an upcoming class. I found him sound asleep on his side in his stall in the barn. He must've been sleeping pretty darn sound, because it seemed to take forever to wake him, and then he didn't know where he was. He finally did get his wits about him and get up, but this was the only time I ever had this happen.
And, yes, I have seen a horse dream a couple of times. If you think it's weird when a dog dreams, you ain't seen nothing .
I was able to ride camels when we went to Jordan. If need be, my starship pilot will ride a camel. I've never heard of people complain about camel-riding inaccuracies.
Otherwise, i'll follow ejs's recommendation and blame it on a genetically-mutated camel.
(Fyi: Gallopping on a camel is like riding on a bumpy cart with oblong wheels where your body heaves fore and aft while the beast foams at the mouth. I think I may prefer space travel, but am yet to try it... one day.)