November 01, 2019

Why Macy the adopted ex-racehorse is buzzing

Why Macy the adopted ex-racehorse is buzzing
Dr. Chris Brown

It never mattered that Macy wasn’t fast enough to win a race. Because unlike so many other thoroughbreds, Macy was given a loving home after her racing career. And it was then that her owner and I discovered she’s the only horse in the world to do something quite remarkable and bizarre…

So here it is. Macy’s right ear works in reverse. So instead of detecting sound like normal, her right ear actually produces a high pitched buzzing sound that you can hear from many metres away. And while humans have been around horses for thousands of years, there’s only ever been one horse like Macy reported before. In fact, 20 years ago, an old Welsh Pony in the UK did exactly the same thing.

So what’s happening to produce this buzzing that’s almost a reverse tinnitus? My feeling is that the tiny bones in her ear (that normally detect noise) are vibrating much like a tuning fork because of turbulence in the blood vessels nearby. The shape of the ear is then acting like a speaker to project the sound to anyone nearby.

But here’s the important part. Testing has shown that Macy is actually deaf at that exact frequency (and no other) meaning she isn’t bothered by the sound. And in another piece of positivity, the sound doesn’t seem to affect her ability to make friends. She’s constantly surrounded by other ex-racehorses that form an impressive social circle with their musical mate.

Macy proves that for a horse, life shouldn’t be dictated by how fast you can run around in circles. Every horse is special and every horse has their own story. In fact, maybe we should worry less about who finishes first and more about where their life finishes…


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