A Tranquil Trot:  Music Helps Reduce Stress in Horses

Boehringer Ingelheim releases music track, advice to help horse owners manage equine moments of stress

Boehringer Ingelheim is focused on helping keep horses safe and “sound” when it comes to stress with the release of a music track, called Equine Relax Trax, 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 behaviorist, 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 behavior 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 Janet Marlow, founder of Pet Acoustics. “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 behaviors.”2

To access it, veterinarians and horse owners can visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoekmWDxfuaOGuL1ELoPIGQ/videos. Visitors will be able to play the music track and video, as well as gain access to additional resources on stress, EGUS, and ways to help prevent it. The audio only version can be accessed at: https://equinerelaxtrax.buzzsprout.com/1835303/9061146-equine-relax-trax.

This includes information on the use of Ulcergard® (omeprazole), to help reduce the creation of acid in a horse’s stomach during times of stress, helping to maintain optimal gastric health. For ulcer prevention, horses should be given ULCERGARD once daily during these stressful periods. ULCERGARD is the only prevention for equine gastric ulcers that is proven to be safe, effective and approved by the FDA.

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 neighbor, illness, etc.

“These may seem like small changes or events, but they can create big issues for horses, potentially leading to gastric ulcers,” says Sarah Reuss, VMD, DACVIM, Equine Technical Manager for Boehringer Ingelheim. “Often times horse owners either don’t know how or are just unable to take the proper proactive steps to limit the impact of stress on the gastric health of the animal. Creating a more positive environment through the use of music and adding ULCERGARD when stress can’t be avoided can help minimize the impact.”

To learn more about EGUS prevention, visit https://m.info.boehringer-ingelheim.ca/webApp/Equine_Ulcergard_Index.

1McClure SR, Carithers DS, Gross SJ, Murray MJ. Gastric ulcer development in horses in a simulated show or training environment. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227(5):775-777.

2Kędzierski, W., Janczarek, I., Stachurska, A., & Wilk, I. (2017). Massage or music meant to be relaxing, result in lowering salivary cortisol concentration in race horses. Pferdeheilkunde Equine Medicine, 33(2), 146–151. https://doi.org/10.21836/pem20170206

ULCERGARD IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: ULCERGARD can be used in horses that weigh at least 600 lbs. Safety in pregnant mares has not been determined.

Not for use in humans. Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion, contact a physician.

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