Does your horse like listening to music?
Do horses in general like music?
Dr. Deb Eldredge, one of Horse Journal’s Contributing Veterinary Editors, has a great sense of humor and an incredibly great way of looking at things. We hope you’ll enjoy her thoughts about music in the barn–and one special Morgan!
Here’s Deb with more:
An almost universal thing in barns around the world is a radio playing. Both for the humans and the horses, the background music seems to be a big plus. What music or program and how loud can vary dramatically of course.
Horses do seem to enjoy music and respond to it. Watch a video of a musical Kur (freestyle) ride and you can tell when a horse really “clicks” with his songs. A slight brightening of his eye, an extra zip to his gait and you know that the horse loves this music. It could be that he simply enjoys the movements that accompany the music in that section but I think it is more than that.
Play music with a strong rhythm and beat while riding and you will feel your horse adjust to the music. Even a horse free in a paddock will often match the music. So music is a universal language for people and equines.
Years ago our family boarded a friend’s Morgan at our house to help cover the costs for my horse. Don was officially Lippitt Glen Don – a top Morgan show horse. Shown mostly in saddleseat, he was known for his powerful trot. My friend was sort of a retirement home for him – mostly trail riding. Now, what music would you think Don would like? Classical? Maybe jazz? Nope, his favorite song in the world was “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog.” When that song came on the barn radio, Don would dance and jive with his head bebopping in his stall. No other song got that reaction from this proper New England Morgan.
We do have stereotypical ideas about what music should be playing in what barn. Clearly dressage horses should be listening to classical music. Perhaps some jazz and some guitar or other instrumentals. A reining barn or western pleasure Quarter Horses or Paints? Why country western of course! English pleasure? Maybe soft rock? Or “elevator music”? Jumpers would get heavy metal of course or hard rock. Do Arabians prefer Oriental music and Middle Eastern sounds?
Soft rock or easy listening would be appropriate for a barn full of broodmares. Perhaps they could tune in to “Delilah” in the evenings. Or you could play a tape of Brahms’ lullabies. I am not sure any horses would enjoy hard core talk shows, especially in an election year.
You may want to experiment with different radio stations and different types of music for your equines. See what stations seem to settle the horses down. Some types of music may jazz the horses up (pun intended) and that may not be the best idea for quiet stall time.
What music plays in your barn?