“Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast”
It’s natural for us, as humans, to enjoy music. It’s therapeutic and more often than not the type of music we chose reflects our mood. The question has been long debated; do animals, such as horses, enjoy music? Does it have a calming effect and rid anxieties? Many people play music in their barns which has sparked the debate further, do horses enjoy the music or find it irritating–the way most of us would if music was blaring in our rooms 24/7. Most studies conclude that horses LOVE music.
HERES WHY: Horses live their lives rhythmically. When we think of every movement they make it is usually in a two or three beat rhythm. Rhythmic patterns and short melodic phrases have been proven to be the most relaxing for horses. Cats and dogs, who also benefit from music, find long meditative phrases more comforting. Horses find comfort not only in the sound but the feel of the music, or the vibrations coming off the radio.
COMFORT YOUR HORSE EFFECTIVELY: If you decide that music will benefit your beast make sure you take a few precautions.
- Set the radio at a reasonable volume to prevent discomfort or panic.
- Avoid talk radio! Horses cannot interpret words and their meanings the way we can, talk shows and talking voices give off little to no vibrations so the noise is just, well… annoying.
- Lastly, make sure your radio has a good connection or plays CD’s on repeat; one of the biggest irritants to a horse’s ears is white noise.
A recent study comparing cortisol levels in horses further proved the theory to be correct. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is highest in race horses and therapeutic riding horses. Using this information the theory was tested at a small therapeutic riding center. Music was introduced during their therapy sessions on a weekly basis,which in turn relaxed both horse and rider. Their “little” experiment turned out to be such a great success that they now utilize music on a regular basis in their programs.
I wonder if any of the horses will have music playing outside their stall at the Preakness?! Tune in on Saturday for RACE DAY!
So, my confession you ask? I put my ear buds in my horses ears and he listens to my iPod!May there always be a hoof print next to your foot print,