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Home > Horses > Do Horses Like Music? Equine Friendly Melodies

Do Horses Like Music? Equine Friendly Melodies

woman playing violin beside horse

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Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Many people like to blast music when they are outside. Whether it is from the speakers of their truck or from a sweet sound system in the barn, music, and barn chores often go hand in hand. But do your horses appreciate music as much as you do? Many experts say yes. As long as you play the right kinds of music, your horses will enjoy the sounds. But horses do not like all music.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about playing music for horses, including what types they respond best to and when to play it for them.


Do Horses Like Music?

Yes. Horses do like music. Since horses are prey animals, they have very sensitive eyes and ears. Horses have large ears that can twist almost all the way around. The ears will tell you the direction of the horse’s attention. Horses hear on a similar frequency to humans, though they have a slightly broader range than people do. Their bottom range is higher than ours, which means they may not hear you talking if your voice is pitched very low. Their top range is higher as well: they may spook at an unfamiliar sound which you can’t hear. That means the music will sound about the same to horses as it does to humans, and that also means it can have similar effects. That being said, horses do not like all music, so you have to be careful about what you play when you are in the barn.

Should You Play Music for Horses?

You can play music for your horses if you want to. Many people like playing music in their barns while they are working, training, or hanging out. Your horses can hear this music, and if you play the right kinds of music, they will enjoy it and can even benefit from it. As long as you play the music that horses can relate to, they will enjoy it. However, horses do not like all music.

Loud grating music can upset horses. Songs with high pitched noises, intense sounds, or loud voices can disturb horses. Horses seem to like music with little to no vocals as compared to music with a lot of singing or shouting.

A 2019 study with 7 horses showed that Classical music (Beethoven’s ninth Symphony) had a calming effect.1 When music was played at night, horses’ vigilant behavior decreased and their restful behavior and ingestion increased, suggesting that it may be beneficial from a horse sleep perspective.

guitar and other instruments inside a barn
Image By: aquarius83men

What Kind of Music Do Horses Like?

Horses have been shown to like two types of music more than any other type: classical music and country.2 Horses seem to respond to songs with strong rhythms and few vocals. Any music that is calming and relaxing for people is likely to also be calming and relaxing for horses. Any music considered to be energizing for people is likely to be upsetting for horses. Horses are very sensitive to light and sound because they are prey animals, so loud, upbeat music can be stressful for them rather than calming.

How Can You Tell If Your Horse Likes Music?

When your horse hears music that it likes, it will visibly relax. The music can help calm their flight instincts, and that can cause them to become less tense and less jumpy. Watch your horse and see if it starts acting tranquil and at ease while the music is playing. Horse ears are one of the best indicators of their mood and having almost flaccid ears will tell you horses are relaxed. Sometimes, horses won’t react to music, and they will continue to act normally. That is fine too. That means that the music is not agitating them.

If a horse does not like music, it will start acting stressed. Their flight instincts will flare up, and they might stomp, pace, or start breathing heavily. If your horse starts behaving this way while you’re playing music, you should turn the music off and reevaluate your playlist.

When Should You Play Music for Horses?

If you plan on playing music for your horse, you should do it when the horse is in its home and at rest. This way, the calming effects of the music will help them feel at ease. Playing music when your horse is in its barn, pasture, or stall can also help them associate the music with familiar things. This can be helpful if you travel with your horse.

Traveling with a horse can be stressful. Horses can become frightened and upset when they are trailered and taken to unfamiliar locations. If you play familiar music for your horse, it can help them associate their current surroundings with their home, which can have a calming effect, even when the horse is on the road or at a show.

You can play music for your horse whenever you feel like it. You can play soothing music when your horse is stressed, play music in the barn to provide a nice background sound, or play music for your horse on the road or in an unfamiliar place to help them when they’re traveling. As long as your horse is not acting stressed while the music is playing, there are no restrictions on playing music for your horse.

Appaloosa horse eating grass
Image By: rauschenberger, Pixabay



Horses do enjoy music from time to time. Horses especially like classical music and country music. These types of music can help relax your horse and build an audio connection to familiar spaces. The results can be very good. Try out some different songs and styles to see which ones your horse responds best to.

Featured Image Credit: alexandre zveiger, Shutterstock

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