Susan Keen and Monte

Horsing Around with Music

Though animals respond well to music, humans are usually the ones to choose it. To change this, a senior design team in the College of Engineering developed a device that lets horses choose which music they want to listen to.

The team’s client, Susan Keen, a professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, wanted to give horses in stalls or undergoing medical treatments more agency, as they can get bored in captivity without enrichment. There’s a precedent for animals enjoying music. Studies of dairy cows have shown that playing classical music lowers stress levels, and yields higher volumes of milk. What’s more, many people play music for dogs who are left home alone. As for horses?...