Songs that lend a voice to the equestrian world in a way only music can.
When I started the 100% Sound column, I bemoaned the fact that, up to now, equestrian music has been confined to the classical music of dressage freestyles or the twang of cliché rodeo songs, and vowed to expand the music spectrum of the sport. So imagine my disappointment when I discovered a study out of Hartpury College in England that found horses preferred classical and country sounds over other types of music, like rock and jazz. Oh no!
For the study, Clare Carter, BSc, of Hartpury College, and her supervisor Linda Greening, MSc, studied eight Thoroughbred geldings in their stalls for three hours. They played four different kinds of music – classical (Beethoven), country (Hank Williams Jr.), rock (Green Day), and jazz (New Stories) – for 30 minutes each. They also observed the horses’ behavior for 30 minutes without music.
When either country or classical music was playing, the horses had the same balance of restful and alert behaviors as they had in silence. And the horses seemed to enjoy the country music the best. That ate with even more calmness to country music than they did to silence.
On the other hand, Carter and Greening reported that the rock music, and jazz to an even greater extent, caused the horses to become stressed. They stamped their feat, tossed their head, snorted, and whinnied. I don’t know. That just sounds like typical rock concert behavior to me! But I’ll take their word for it that my horse might not enjoy a three-day music festival of this stuff as much as I do.
So do we counter culture equestrians have to through away our progressive music tastes for the wellbeing of our four-legged friends? Of course, I say no. But when we are playing music in the stable (at no more than 21 decibels please – scientists orders), we might need to comb through our music catalogue for songs that are at once modern and within our horses musical wheelhouse.
To which I say, challenge accepted! Stay tuned to 100% Sound for my Saturday column where I will unveil The Perfect Ten Songs To Play Around Your Pony! Spoiler alert! Despite this video, Justin Bieber will not be on the list.