Both the natural equine breeding season and a horse’s optimum coat condition occur during the light-filled summer months.
Artificial light has long been used for the purpose of manipulating the hormonal response of mares and competition horses. Keeping horses indoors under stable lights has become standard practice within the equine industry. The artificially extended day length acts to inhibit the hormone melatonin. This fools the mare’s reproductive system into activating earlier in the year, in time for the official start of the breeding season, and means that competition animals can maintain a sleek summer coat outside of the summer months. In 2011, Dr Murphy and her colleagues at University College Dublin investigated the threshold level of blue light required to inhibit circulating concentrations of melatonin in the horse. What they found was that very low intensities are required and that it is sufficient to deliver light to a single eye and still inhibit melatonin levels to daytime levels. Recently, blue light has been found by researchers to facilitate more accurate and efficient levels of melatonin inhibition in other species.
The light masks were tested by the Equilume research team in multiple field trials across three continents in the process of bringing it to market.
Since launching in 2012 customers agree the light mask is equally as effective as stabling horses under lights to achieve:
- early breeding success
- timely gestation
- healthy foal weights
- sleek, shining show coats
..but with the added benefits of improved health and fertility that 24/7 turnout brings.LIGHT THERAPY FOR BREEDING
The Light mask is a cost effective, mobile solution to indoor lighting systems for breeding stock.
The universal birth date for most equine breeds is: January 1st (Northern Hemisphere) and August 1st (Southern hemisphere)
These birth dates are outside of the natural breeding season and mean that competitive breeders will face the task of advancing the breeding season each year, and this can pose a number of significant problems for breeders such as:
- Prolonged gestation lengths
- Reduced foal birth weights
- Post foaling fertility problems
- Reduction in breeding efficiency
Maintaining breeding stock ‘under lights’ has long been an accepted method of advancing the breeding season in mares and stallions. The Equilume Light Mask has been scientifically proven to be as effective as indoor stable lighting while allowing horses to live outdoors 24/7 in their natural environment. Extended turn out for stock means:
- Reduced stress and behavioral issues
- Optimized reproductive health
- Increased cost effectiveness
- Less labor for staff
Breeders globally have introduced Equilume into their management systems and have witnessed additional benefits from using Equilume, including:
• Increased milk yield
• Higher colostrum quality
• Increased libido and fertility in stallions
• Elimination of post foaling ‘lactational anestrus’
• Reduction in post cover uterine fluid retention
The Light Mask can be used for coat conditioning.
Coat conditioning is fast becoming the most popular application of the Equilume Light Masks across show horse owners and sales fitters worldwide.
Maintaining a slick show coat throughout the competition season is a delicate art. We understand the relevance of temperature and diet but, above all else a consistent quality light stimulus is crucial. Horses will naturally always seek out the darkest corner of a stall or yard and for horses that are kept indoors all day and night they may not be receiving the level of light required to maintain their peak coat condition. With this in mind we decided to design a mask that would provide the horse with that consistency of quality light throughout the day.
The Cashel is a rechargeable model that is active for 15 hours a day and a full charge lasts 7 days. The mask can then be worn indoors or outdoors and can even travel to shows or sales, meaning no more concerns about insufficient stable lighting!
• The process of hair growth, regression, resting and shedding takes time and is not an immediate response to the stimulus - Light.
• Interrupting the hair growth process, by clipping or exposure to stress, can influence the rate at which these processes occur.
• Temperature is a key factor in accelerating and maximizing results; so correct blanketing for turnout is advised.
• Horses maintained under continuous long day lengths will likely become unresponsive to artificial light treatment at some point in the year and blow their coats. It is advised that horses are allowed to experience 8 weeks of shorter winter photoperiod at some point within the year. This allows the horse to reset its annual clock and respond optimally to extended artificial day length provided by the Light Mask.
Usually coat shedding is complete within 6 weeks. However, results may vary
depending on the time of year.
3 Equilume Light Mask Models to choose from: