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Equestrian Lifestyle

Music and Horses

Some owners like to leave quiet music on for horses who are kept inside due to weather or veterinary reasons.


If you take a quick look down the aisle of a typical horse barn, there’s a good chance you’ll find a radio, CD player, or other music device of some sort. Many times, these stereos are old, well-loved, and covered with dust, but they still fill the stable with music. So here’s the question: do you allow a radio or other music in the barn? Is it a good idea, or not?


On one hand, a radio can make your barn chores more enjoyable. Many horse chores are the same day after day (stall cleaning, aisle sweeping, bucket scrubbing, etc.), and there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy yourself while doing them, especially if all the horses are outside anyway. Music can also make jobs like grooming and feeding more enjoyable—providing you and the rest of the humans in the barn can agree on the type of music!

Other possible uses for music include creating “white noise,” which some horse owners find beneficial if their horses have to be in for day, or if a single horse must stay in the barn for stall rest. In these cases, the human voices and other sounds from the radio can have a calming effect on some horses—although not everyone agrees about this across the board.


As with many things in life, when it comes to music in the barn you can also have too much of a good thing. Working around horses requires concentration, and music at the wrong time or music that is too loud can be a potentially dangerous distraction to you while working around your horse. It can cause you to lose concentration (because you’re paying more attention to what you’re hearing), or it can prevent you from hearing something important from your horse or another person. For this reason, plan on keeping the volume down low when horses are actually in the barn, and go ahead and pull the plug on the music during times when concentration is important.

DIY Music

Most horses enjoy being talked to, but how about singing? Do you sing while you ride? I’ve tried singing while riding horses over the years, and I’ve found that it generally encourages them to relax and become more focused on their work. Some people might suggest that it’s actually me who is becoming more relaxed from the singing, but I think it helps the horses.

How about you? Do you ever sing while you ride? Do you allow a radio in the barn? Share your thoughts! And if you need a little advice on building your barn music playlist, read this!

Daniel Johnson is a freelance writer and professional
photographer. He’s the author of several books, including How to Raise
Horses: Everything You Need to Know, (Voyageur Press, 2014). Dan’s barn
is home to Summer, a Welsh/TB cross, Orion, a Welsh Cob, and Mati and
Amos, two Welsh Mountain Ponies. Follow him at

Abigail Boatwright

Abigail Boatwright is a freelance writer and photographer based in Texas, and is the editor of Horse Illustrated’s sister publication, Western Life Today.

View Comments

  • I have a radio in my barn, because I fill it is calming for my horse since she is the only horse there, so I fill it helps her too here other voices so she doesn't fill all alone when I'm not there.

  • I have rescued mustangs and found that singing around them helps to calm them. Not that I'm a great vocalist, and I just sing or hum and it helps them immensely. You can see the reaction quite quickly!

  • Definately sing while trail riding because the other birds and animals hear us coming and scatter before we come up on them!

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