Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Influence of music on equine night-time behaviour


 Night-time music had a significant effect on behaviour of stabled horses in a recent study.

Research carried out by Naomi Hartmann and Linda Greening in the Equine Science Department of Hartpury University examined the effect of playing classical music to horses at night.

Seven horses, kept on the same yard, were stabled for 24 hours a day and followed the same daily routine. Their behaviour was recorded from 20.30 to 06.30 the following morning for nine nights

For five nights, classical music (Beethoven’s ninth symphony) was played continuously from 20.30 to 01.30. On two nights at the start, and again at the end of the study, no music was played to provide control observations.

The researchers found that music had a significant effect on behaviour. Horses spent more time eating when music was played. Other behaviours – such as standing alert, walking and excreting  - decreased compared to the control periods when no music was played . They also found significant differences in the occurrence of lateral recumbency, although these were not clearly linked to exposure to music.

The researchers conclude: “The addition of music appears to have a significant effect on the equine nocturnal time budget that might be beneficial from an equine sleep perspective.”
For more details, see:

A Preliminary Study Investigating the Influence of Auditory Stimulation on the Occurrence of Nocturnal Equine Sleep-Related Behavior in Stabled Horses.
Hartman N, Greening LM.
J Equine Vet Sci. 2019 Nov; 82:102782.


rather rapid said...

you'd call this one of the most incredibly stupid studies on horses ever, except there are so many of them. I suggested to the "researcher" that she do this to herself and report back. She seems oblivious to fact that horses can hear a pin drop at half a mile, that horses do not therefore hear music,they hear magnified noise--watch how they react when wind blows--and while a stall bound horse going psycho with it's confinement might welcome an occasionalchange from silence to some noise, that's not what this is about. They suggest blaring music all night, which plays right into the hands of all those 75 IQ horse abusers blasting their radios at their steeds 24/7. We can look at these ladies and their lack of knowledge that they did a great disservice to the horse.

Mark Andrews said...

Gillian Cooper said: "In the 70s I had the good fortune to visit the Irish National Stud a few times when the MD was vet Michael Osborne, a great innovator. One of the experiments he carried out was the effect of music on horses. The INS found that horses were calm and happy when classical music and ballads were played, also country music, but were agitated when heavy music (both classical and anything else), raucous music and rock were played. The horses did love military music. They also found that mares which had been extremely difficult to get in season came into oestrus quickly when the sounds of a mating or courting stallion were played."

Unknown said...