Trainer Magazine

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Equilume™ – Lighting the way in the global equine industry

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An exciting and innovative new product is currently being rolled out across the Northern and Southern Hemisphere’s Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry.  Equilume, an Irish-based company, is poised to become the world leader in the research and development of light therapy solutions to assist the global horse industry maximize reproductive efficiency and performance. The Equilume Light Mask is a breakthrough product developed from novel research conducted at University College Dublin by Dr. Barbara Anne Murphy and Professor John Sheridan. It is an automated headpiece for horses that provides the optimum level of blue light to a single eye to successfully advance the breeding season but with other important applications for trainers.

The universal birth date for Thoroughbreds of January 1st poses a number of significant problems for breeders, including difficulty ensuring mares are reproductively active early in the year, prolonged gestation lengths and reduced average foal birth weights.  The Equilume Light Mask has been scientifically shown to advance the reproductively active period of the mare as effectively as standard indoor lighting regimes. An ideal application is for use on maiden mares in their final months of training to kick-start their reproductive activity before beginning a stud career. For pregnant mares, it prevents prolonged gestation lengths and increases average foal birth weights. An additional response to the light treatment is the early shedding of the winter coat, a desirable consequence for many performance and sales animals. In fact, a recent scientific study conducted by the JRA revealed that an extended light regime early in the year increases muscle mass in Thoroughbred colts.

Dr Murphy’s early research on circadian rhythms in horses suggests that the light mask will also benefit traveling racehorses by preventing jet lag effects on performance. Studies will soon be underway to further validate this application. 

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The mask itself fits comfortably under the headcollar and provides low intensity blue light to the horse’s right eye. It is completely labor free and once activated at 4pm between Nov 15th and Dec 1st, will come on automatically each day at dusk and stay lighting until 11pm. Rigorous testing of the durability and reliability of the light mask have been conducted on farms across three continents over the last two seasons. 

Detailed information on the product, the research, the trials and testimonials from users can be found online at www.equilume.com

Published in North American Trainer Fall/Winter 2013 Issue 30