Horses respond to music which relaxes and calms them to a level which boosts their mental health

Equestrian | Spotlight

Equines love a rhythm

Beautiful countryside, horses and country music bring to our mind a picture of tranquillity. Did you know that your equine partner enjoys country music too? Let’s find out.

Freddie Payne, Founder, HorseSquad.com, shares with LA POLO, his thoughts on equines and music: “Classical and country music have a calming effect on horses, though they find jazz and rock disconcerting and stressful. Horses were said to have responded to both silence and classical music at a soothing level in the same manner, so this suggests that horses respond positively to music that is relaxing in nature.”

But it’s not the genre alone that matters. Payne offers his insights: “The type of music and the volume play a key part. Classical and country music helps calm the horses and at the same time since horses are known to have great hearing ability where they can identify very low and high frequency sounds. Any jarring sound can cause stress and anxiety. Loud sounds are painful to the ears, and horses, with their superior hearing ability to pick up high frequency sounds with a lot more clarity, are even more adversely affected.”


Horses appreciate some music in the barn after a tiresome day as that helps them to relax. Payne agrees: “Music should be played in a barn to mask jarring and loud sounds, especially during fireworks or thunderstorms. These are common instances when your equine buddies are likely to feel anxious and alone. Playing music in a barn in such settings helps them relax.” He adds: “Moving to a new barn before a competition or travel in general can cause horses’ anxiety. On such occasions, playing music for the horse can help them feel at home and help cope with their stress levels.”

Since most of the wisdom around the subject is experiment based, we asked about specific times for playing music. Payne says: “Ideally, a fixed time works best. Horses are really particular about their peace and quiet, so just like humans, they do not want to listen to music 24/7.”

Many people claim the positive effects of music in training race horses. Payne says: “Music has a positive effect on horses in helping them focus and block out external distractions, but it also helps them relax and unwind after a competition. The fact that music is used for both focusing and unwinding suggests that there is a strong possibility that it can be extended to other trainings too.”


Playing music regulates heartbeat and stress in horses, especially geriatric horses. But what are the effects when music is used for training? “Horses are prone to nervousness and anxiety. Competitions and unfamiliar gatherings can make them feel nervous very quickly. Music in training helps horses with a nervous disposition as it gives them a sense of familiarity, enables them to focus and makes them less nervous, thus helping them to perform better and find a rhythm.”


Horse headphones are effective in cancelling outside noise. Payne says: “Horse headphones help horses focus before a competition and block out noises. While horses get startled each time music is played, they are known to help soothe them after a race or even before them. By virtue of the music that is played for them it is known to have a calming effect on horses. It’s too early to say if they are detrimental in the long run.”

He tells LA POLO: “Horses respond well to routine as long as there is a set playlist, a pattern to when music is played and enough time for peace and quiet; the response is unlikely to diminish with time.” Over time, the positive effects of music on horses increase manifold. Keeping in mind these benefits and insights, it might be time to try it on your steeds.1