Did you know that environmental light is the most important cue influencing a horse’s mental and physical well-being?
Like humans, horses need light for more than just vision. Special cells at the back of the eye respond to blue wavelengths of light. As sunlight is naturally high in blue light, this serves to regulate internal rhythms throughout the horse’s body. This system, called the circadian system, controls the activity of nearly every cell in the body, ensuring the body clock stays in tune with the daily light-dark cycles.
Exposure to the wrong kind of lighting at different times of day plays havoc with an animal’s circadian system causing it to flatline. The consequences of circadian disruption are well-known in humans and include sleep disturbances, low alertness, impaired performance, immune suppression, illness and disease. The key to well-being is strong internal rhythms driven by consistent exposure to biologically effective blue light by day.
For stabled performance horses, lighting is particularly important. The equine industry has made amazing advances in nutritional science, veterinary medicine and training technologies, but until recently little attention was given to the level or quality of daily light a horse receives or the role it plays in ensuring optimal health, condition and behaviour.
Ground-breaking research conducted at University College Dublin identified that low levels of blue light could regulate important hormone rhythms in the horse when delivered to only one eye. The subsequent development of the Equilume Cashel Light Mask has been a game changer for performance horses by allowing them receive the optimum level of light whether they are stabled, out grazing or travelling to a competition. It is not just the quality but also the duration of daily light that impacts a horse’s body, the Cashel Mask delivers 15 hours of biologically effective blue light each day to ensure the horse receives the benefits of a long summer’s day throughout the year.
By supporting the horse’s body clock, it helps to:
- Maintain muscle tone
- Ensure a sleek and shiny coat
- Reduce the frequency of clipping
- Strengthen immunity
- Encourage appetite
- Positively influence mood and behaviour
- Extend the period of peak performance
Highly accomplished International Event Riders Phillip Dutton, USA, Liz Halliday-Sharp, USA and Sam Watson, Ireland have all experienced positive results using Equilume Performance Lighting:
“We are big fans of the Equilume Light Masks and Stable Lights and I feel that my horses
focus more on their work and are healthier and happier overall” – Phillip Dutton.
“I have noticed the Equilume products have really helped Cooley HHS Calmaria to relax and focus on her work. My other horses rest and recover better making Equilume an important part of our management programme.” – Liz Halliday-Sharp
“We want the best for our horses & don’t want to miss out on a performance edge. The science behind Equilume makes so much sense and really helps my horses look and feel great, so they can perform at their best” – Sam Watson
CORRECT LIGHTING IMPACTS PHYSIOLOGY AT THE CELLULAR LEVEL
It is hard to believe that a lighting system can impact so many aspects of a horse’s health and welfare. Dr. Barbara Anne Murphy, Founder & CSO at Equilume, explains: “Normal indoor lighting falls significantly short on providing the optimum light spectrum for horses to function well. The Equilume Stable Light and Light Mask were specifically designed to stimulate cells that drive strong, healthy rhythms throughout the horse’s body.
ALL LIGHT IS NOT EQUAL
The goal is to provide the horse with lighting that best reflects and mimics the benefits of the natural environmental day-night cycle. This is essential to generate and maintain circadian rhythms that ensure optimum health and performance. Our research results as well as feedback from clients are very exciting; horses thrive under this system – they put on more lean muscle, increase appetites, improve behaviour and focus during training sessions, coat condition blossoms and they are healthier overall.”
Horses need light for far more than just vision. The constantly repeating cycles of light and dark synchronise an internal clock system that coordinates all bodily functions to a 24-h (daily) and 365-day (annual) rhythm. Blue light is the most biologically effective light responsible for regulating an animal’s internal rhythms. The Equilume Performance Lighting system comprises fully automated intelligent Stable Lights and mobile Light Masks that exploit the benefits of the blue wavelength light for horses.
The Equilume Cashel Light Mask is a rechargeable headpiece that provides the horse with biologically effective levels of blue light. It is a mobile light therapy device designed for both competition and leisure horses which can be used in the field, in the stable and when travelling.
The Equilume Stable Light is a fully automated lighting system that replicates the benefits of sunlight for the stabled horse, providing biologically effective levels of blue light by day and restful red light at night. It is scientifically developed and specifically designed for horses, to provide lighting that best reflects and mimics the quality and consistency of light in a natural day-night cycle.
If you are interested in learning more about the science behind Equilume and purchasing Equilume products for your horse, visit www.equilume.com
Listen to our PODCAST with Dr Barbara Murphy: https://equestrianhub.com.au/equestrian-hub-podcast/