Is there a place for music at the barn?
Yes. No. Maybe so. The answer lies a lot in personal preference, and also how your horses react to it. There’s also a lot of research, some actual scientific research, and some anecdotal evidence to support both yes AND no. So I’m so glad I could clarify this for you. Clear as mud, right?
Yes, you should play music around your horses:
- It’s fun and can help you pass the time during repetitive barn chores.
- Horses that are spooky or sensitive to noises can be desensitized to noises with the use of appropriate music. There are even CD’s that you can buy that mimic noises that horses may be exposed to, like traffic, barnyard sounds, horse show sounds. Great for training your sound-sensitive guy to deal.
This delightful radio is as old as the hills.
- If you are working on a freestyle, it can help you find music that’s right for your horse.
- It can cover annoying noises, like traffic, your neighbor’s pigs, that crazy bird.
- Some studies suggest that music playing may help horses calm down and provide “company”.
On the other hand, skip the music:
- Too much music can be annoying, especially if you love country and the rest of your peeps at the barn only like rock-n-roll.
- You won’t be able to hear everything that’s going on, and if you are working around young and/or spastic horses you need every advantage.
- Some research suggests that horses can be agitated by music playing, even to the point of ulcers.
- If you are especially intuitive around your horse, you may notice that he reacts to some music. This is Miguel below, and his very distinctive reaction to Adele. Sorry, Adele, I love your stuff, but Migs truly believes you can’t set fire to the rain so why sing about it. I have seen other horses lose their minds to, let’s say, AC/DC. Again, no offense, but heavy metal isn’t for everyone or every horse.
No Adele for Miguel!
So, find a nice balance!
- You could limit music in the barn to times when horses are turned out, or you are cleaning, or if it’s for a few hours.
- You may also want to listen to music through earbuds, in which case you will be compromising your hearing and reactions, so only use one earbud at a time.
- Keep the volume low if you have speakers in the barn or arena.
- When riding, be extra alert to your horse if there’s music playing. If your arena has speakers, your horse may want to take some time before you ride next to the speakers. Work up to it.
Talk radio is an option and may help soothe the horse on stall rest.
What are your thoughts on playing music around the horses?