Last Updated on March 2, 2022 by Allison Price
Find out how music can help his well-being.
Horses are one of nature’s most important musicians. Horses are seen as partners in dance choreography between species and performing dressage moves. We ride with horses in two- and three-beat tempos, while they walk, trot, and run.
Humans and horses share the closest hearing ranges to any other mammals on Earth. Humans have a frequency range from 20Hz to 20,000Hz, while horses can hear frequencies between 55Hz and 33,500Hz. A whisper in the horse’s ear or a personal whistle from the barn, coming in from the field, are two important aspects of how we connect with and bond with our horses using sound.
Horses can be triggered by both positive and destructive sounds. High agitation can be caused by horses not being able to leave the paddock in a thunderstorm. Stress can be caused by a sudden jarring sound or shrill frequency. As important as providing the best veterinary care for your horse, it is also crucial to provide the best environment for him. Music is one tool that can be used to balance your horse’s environment.
Are horses fond of listening to music?
Music can be described as a language. It involves pitch, tone frequency, volume, and frequency. These elements of sound enable horses and other animals to communicate. They also aid animals in assessing their environment for survival. Over the past ten year, my clinical research has shown that horses are more comfortable in barns with music than those without. Music can help balance horses’ behavior as it helps to drown out outside sounds and vibrations like thunder and high-pitched instruments, tractor engines, and thunder.
Horses respond well to music that has strong rhythmic patterns and short melodies. Classical or country music at low volumes will help horses relax while they rest, eat, and groom in the barn. It is not the music that matters most, but rather its frequency and volume.
In the 15 years since I started with horses and dogs, I developed a principle called species-specific musicality. This music is placed in the “green zones” according to each animal’s range of hearing. A composer can use digital capabilities to analyze exactly where sound bytes should be placed.
Three years ago, I was involved in Animal Behavior Studies at Universities all over the world. I collected data about the frequency hearing ranges for horses, dogs, and cats. A recording artist, and knowing how to modify music at home, helped me develop a concept I call species-specific music. It involves creating music, changing the frequencies, and then placing it in the animal’s comfort range according to data research. This process was then tested in clinical studies at veterinary hospitals and shelters. I was able to create the perfect sonic environment for each animal. Within a matter of minutes, they were able to calm down and let go of their anxious behavior.
“Equine music” is a specific type of music that’s created for specific species. It contains rhythms and melodies specifically designed to help horses relax in their stalls, remain calm during farrier sessions, as well as speed up recovery from surgery. Music can be a powerful environment for sensitive ears of horses!
Psychologists have found that stress is linked to illness in both animals and humans. Music is just as soothing for animals as it is to humans. It is important to pay attention to the noises that your horse may be sensitive to and to how music can soothe them.
Variations on a particular theme
You can use music to calm your horse in many situations.
When riding – It adds an entertainment dimension to your riding experience for both you and your horse. To ensure safety, you should not let the volume exceed your ability to hear what is going on around.
In the barn Play moderate levels of music on a CD or sound system. Horses do not need to hear loud music in order to enjoy the sound waves. Place the sound source just above your horse’s ears or at his level so that he can feel and hear it.
Farrier, dental, and veterinary visits are not horse’s favourite experiences. You can distract your horse and reduce anxiety by playing music. Music can also be used to mask the sounds of medical equipment.
Horses love being massaged. Music can help your horse relax deeper.
Horses that are recovering from surgery while stall resting – It is particularly beneficial to horses who listen to music. It will help you relax your muscles more during the difficult stages of healing.
Trailer transport – Horses can hear the engine frequencies and vibrations. He may feel less anxious if music is played, especially if he is being backed into the trailer.
Thunderstorms – Volumes up to 115 decibels can be achieved by masking thunderstorms Horse and human hearing comfort levels range from 60 to 80 decibels. Thunder can be disturbing for you. Your horse’s acute hearing and sensitivity to changes in the atmosphere will make it difficult to understand why.
Therapeutic riding Blood pressure studies comparing cortisol levels in riding horses, racehorses, and therapy horses showed that the latter had the highest levels. This means that they are under the most stress. The ability of therapy horses to restrain their behaviors during student/instructor/horse sessions is a remarkable empathic trait, but also physically distressing. The horse can feel more relaxed and calmer if you play calming music during student/horse session.
Psychoacoustics is the study of sound perception.
Psychoacoustics refers to psychological and physiological reactions to sound. Horses are just as comfortable listening to music as their owners. Talk radio is less effective than talk radio because it requires analytic interpretation. It also lacks vibrancy that can induce relaxation in animals. You can keep your horse happy and calm for as long as the music is enjoyable and relaxing. We humans need variety, because music is evaluated through spatial-conceptual thinking. Equine responses to music are a physical evaluation. Horses that feel connected and secure will relax and release their alert instincts.
One of the best ways to trigger equine behavior is to observe your horse’s ears. The modern way we care for animals is more efficient and better understood. We learn more about how to meet their well-being needs. Our guide to new awareness is the horse. Let me conclude by sharing my philosophical view on the power of animals in our lives. “Follow the trail of an animal into your heart, and you’ll find better world.”
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!