without music? The right tunes can make the miles fly by and turn a
stressful commute into a more pleasant experience. Your horse might
Research out of
Université de Caen-Basse Normandie in France suggests that playing
classical music has a stress-reducing effect on horses in some
situations. According to an abstract published in the Journal of
Veterinary Behavior, the relaxing effect of music has been shown in
several other animal species, and the researchers sought to determine
if it would work on horses.
The 24 horses used
for the study were tested in two common and potentially stressful
situations for horses: short-term transport in a trailer and farrier
work. Each horse was tested three different ways: with classical
music diffusion playing through an in-ear device; “sound
attenuation,” where ear plugs were used to reduce all sound; and a
control test with no sound alteration.
There was no
significant difference on stress indicators between the tests during
the farrier visits. However, in the trailering tests, the horses’
heart rates recovered more quickly when they were given the classical
music diffusion. The researchers say this knowledge could be used to
help reduce the risk of dangerous behavior that sometimes occurs when
horses are stressed, as well as the effects of chronic stress on
Worth noting: The
researchers did not test genres of music other than classical in this
study. You’ll have to do your own observation to determine what
type of music soothes your horse’s soul.
Classical music reduces acute stress of domestic horses
Neveux, C. et al.
Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research , Volume 15 , 81
Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com