Time to trailer out to a horse show? Try a little bit of Bach. Need your steed to relax for a new set of shoes? How about someTim McGraw?

Researchers know that horses benefit from certain kinds of music—classical and country, for example—in stressful situations; these sounds tend to lower their stress parameters. But that research has now led to a new high-tech innovation for equine welfare: earphones.

Controlled by Bluetooth technology, the custom-designed apparatus offers riders and handlers a way to put a little melody into their horses’ stressful experiences.

“By putting the music into specially adapted earphones for horses, we can individualize the music that each horse is hearing for each situation, knowing that every horse is a unique individual with his own ‘preferences,’” said Claire Neveux, MSc, researcher and equine behavior consultant with Ethonova, in Normandy, France.

Neveux and her colleagues from the University of Caen and the University of Strasbourg, both in France, recently tested the stress-minimizing effects of the newly developed equine earphones (by Horsecom) in two situations: trailering and during farriery work. They presented their results at the 42nd French Equine Research Day held March 17 in Paris.

The scientists fitted 48 sport horses from the French National Stud at Le Pin with classical-music-emitting earphones and with earplugs on separate occasions. As a control, the horses were also tested in the stressful situations without either apparatus.

Half