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Reducing Equine Stress With Music

Published: November 18, 2021 12:35 pm ET

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Everyday stress triggers can lead to health issues in horses, but one company has partnered with a sound specialist and composer to release a tranquil music track to help manage equine anxiety.

Focused on helping keep horses safe and “sound” when it comes to stress, Boehringer Ingelheim has released a music track specially designed to help reduce stress in horses.

Research shows stress can quickly turn into equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS), with one study showing horses can develop stomach ulcers in as few as five days.1

The musical arrangement features soothing music designed with the horse in mind. The track was created by Janet Marlow, sound behaviourist, composer, researcher and founder of Pet Acoustics Inc. Marlow focused on creating rhythms and melodies composed for the listening comfort of the horse, including specific pitch, tone and frequencies. Studies show that playing music can help balance equine behaviour because it helps mask outside sounds and vibrations, as well as provide a positive and relaxing effect.2

“When Boehringer Ingelheim expressed an interest in doing something to help manage stress in horses, I was extremely interested based on my research in this area,” said Marlow. “It’s all about composing music and modifying the decibel and frequency levels of each note for the comfortable hearing range of the animal. Using this process, we have tested music through clinical studies at veterinary hospitals, barns, etc. to see the music elicit a release of physical tensions and stress behaviours.”

Veterinarians and horse owners can visit the Boehringer Ingelheim US: Equine Health YouTube channel to play the music track and video (available below), as well as gain access to additional resources on stress, EGUS, and ways to help prevent it.

For horses, stress is no one thing. It can include a variety of triggers, including fireworks, thunderstorms/weather, rigorous training, competitions, travel/trailering, competitions, dehydration, limited forage, changes in daily routine, isolation, new stall neighbour, illness, etc.

(With files from Boehringer Ingelheim)

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