Classical music helps horses relax

Thoroughbred racehorseMiki Yoshihito, CC BY 2.0

August 22, 2016

We've long known that classical music can help humans to relax — and it turns out that it has a similar effect on some members of the animal kingdom, too.

A new study from France shows that while horses being driven around in trailers, and being re-shod (activities that tend to stress horses out), evidence lower anxiety and recover more quickly if orchestral music is played for them.

"The findings are likely to be of interest to racehorse trainers, one of whose biggest challenges is getting their highly-strung thoroughbreds to the start line in a calm frame of mind," reports the Telegraph — which also notes that, nonetheless, horses are not currently permitted to wear headphones on racecourses.

That could change, though: a spokesperson for the British Horseracing Authority says that "we are always open to new innovations which may benefit equine welfare and would be interested in monitoring the results of further studies into this concept."

A bit of fine print: though the study's authors bill their finding as regarding "classical music," the actual tune used in the experiment was not exactly classical music. It was Alan Silvestri's theme to Forrest Gump.

Film scores are great — but if you want to try some actual classical music on your horse, or yourself, cue up YourClassical's Relax stream.