Tack n' Talk

Online Equestrian Resource

Follow the Rhythm of the Music While You Ride!

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Riding Playlist assembled to match the rhythm of your horse!

By Larissa Cox

Does finding the rhythm and tempo of the walk, trot, canter evade you?  Do you find yourself posting faster and faster to meet your horse’s trot running under you?  Do you come out of corners not knowing where the forward went?

When riding, it is very easy to allow the horse to control the tempo of the gait.  You are on top of a breathing, thinking, moving animal.  It takes a seasoned rider to control their own body movements to control the pace of movement to the horse, which the novice rider might not have developed yet.  Even then, riding a green horse proves difficult, as they may not be able to balance themselves in these gaits.

For these reasons, I believe having an external source that measures tempo proves to be extremely helpful to both horse and rider in improving this foundational element in riding. When a person hears a set tempo, it is natural to follow along with this beat.  If you are riding on a horse who changes tempo, hearing a set beat could help with training your body to follow a consistent tempo, rather than simply following the horse’s movements.  This could also prove useful for riding a green horse – the rider will not have to think about the tempo itself, but rather moving to match it to allow the horse to follow.  Having an external tempo source could also help when training new movements such as the shoulder-in or tempi changes, where the aspect of consistent rhythm and tempo could be lost.

Riding with a metronome is one solution
for finding this external tempo.  You can set it at whatever beat you like, and it will keep on that beat until you turn it off.  What I don’t like about riding with a metronome is it’s monotony:  No sound except “beep…beep…beep…beep…beep”.   The rhythm is extremely clear, but I find it is a chore after a while to listen to it.

This is why I prefer riding to music! Although some songs change tempo part way, there is a plethora of songs available with a steady, constant tempo that matches the average tempo of a horse’s walk, trot, and canter.  Tempo is measured in beats per minute (bpm).  An average walk is 108 bpm, an average trot is 152 bpm, and an average canter is 96 bpm. So, you would want to find songs that match these three gaits, and assemble them into a playlist for riding.

An easy way to figure out the tempo of the song is to clap along to it.  Time how many claps there was in 10 seconds and times that number by 6.  That number will be the bpm of the song.

I use software called “MixMeister BPM Analyzer” to find accurate bpms of all my songs.  You can download this here: MixMeister

Upload a music file you would like to analyze using the “Import music files” button, and find out if your favorite songs will be great riding music!

I have assembled a playlist for riding below.   You can download these songs from itunes, The New NapsterRhapsody,  or Walmart

Tack n’ Talk Music Playlist:

Walk – 108 BPM

Still Loving You by The Scorpions

Yesterday by The Beatles

Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

Need You Tonight by INXS

Trot – 152 BPM

Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton

Mickey by Toni Basil

Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

We Got The Beat by The Go-Go’s

What I Like About You by The Romantics

Canter – 96 BPM

Fighter by Cristina Arguilera

I Love Rock n Roll by Joan Jett and The Blackheads

This Love by Maroon 5

Crazy For You by Madonna

The Garden by Mirah


  lovemyponies wrote @

What an interesting article. I can see how riding to music would help immensely. I’ll have to download that software!

  Elizabeth wrote @

Thanks for the article. It is great to have the song list to get started with!

  Paulino wrote @

What a intuitive article! This came across in our research and was wonder what the connection between horse-riding and music was. I guess it can be both entertainment and training at the same time! As you have so wonderfully expressed in your article =)

Would you have any other sources that are about equestrians’ music preferences? Personal and for riding?

  Katey wrote @

This is awesome. I always sing while riding to keep a rhythm. Poor mare of mine. Although typically it is ” Row, row, row your boat” and nothing this fancy 🙂

  Wanda wrote @

Larissa- I love to ride on Beyonce’s “Halo”
Its not a fast song, but I love the tempo.
I hope you can listen to it and tell me what you think-as far as a canter, trot or what.


  Wanda wrote @

I also like to ride to Jamie Fox’s “Blame It On The Alcohol” it’s pretty much a fast beat and I love the instrumental sounds and the beat. And I like to ride to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” it’s a really fast beat. I like to ride to this when I’m riding fast. If you get the time, please listen to Beyone’s “Single Ladies” I THINK YOU’LL LOVE IT.

  tackandtalk wrote @

Hi Wanda,

I use software called “MixMeister BPM Analyzer” to find accurate bpms of all my songs. You’ll be able to download it through this url: http://www.mixmeister.com/bpmanalyzer/bpmanalyzer.asp

Upload a music file you would like to analyze using the “Import music files” button, and find out if your favorite songs will work with Crystal’s gait. Beyonce’s Single Ladies IS a great song. I haven’t downloaded it, but as a guess, I would think it would be good for the trot. Halo, I would wager would be good for the walk or canter. I am not familiar with Blame it on the Alcohol. Anyway, try out MixMeister – let me know how you like it! 🙂

  Sarah wrote @

Thanks for sharing a playlist. So often people recommend riding to music but then don’t offer a list like this to start with.

  jane wrote @

I love this website, the information is great and I have bookmarked it in my favorites. This is a well organized and informative website. Great Job!

  tackandtalk wrote @

Thank you Jane. Your comment is really appreciated – Larissa.

  amy wrote @

Hi I have been looking for songs I could sing while teaching children with ASD as the rhythm helps. Great suggestions!

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