Equilume® is the world leader in the research and development of light therapy solutions to assist the global horse industry maximise reproductive efficiency and competitive performance. Head-quartered in Co. Kildare, at the heart of the Irish horse industry, Equilume® was established in 2012 as a result of pioneering research by company founder, Dr. Barbara Anne Murphy, whose academic research at University College Dublin identified the optimum light intensity of biologically effective blue light for horses.
Horses need light for far more than just vision. The constantly repeating cycles of dawn and dusk synchronise an internal clock system that coordinates all bodily functions to a 24-h (daily) and 365-day (annual) rhythm. Without biologically effective lighting that mimics sunlight, an animal’s internal clocks can become depressed, or out of synchrony, leading to impaired growth and performance.
Recently it has become known that blue light is the most biologically effective light responsible for regulating an animal’s internal rhythms. Dr. Murphy and her team at UCD determined the precise level of blue light necessary to influence hormones in the horse during the development of the Equilume Light Mask. See published research here.
Most domesticated animals spend a large proportion of the 24-h day indoors and away from natural day light. The benefits of lighting that better mimics natural day light for both physical and mental health are now clearly recognised for humans and are equally important for animal health and performance. By understanding both the qualities of natural daylight and the biology of seasonal animals, we can mimic these positive effects on physiology using custom designed ‘smart lighting’ systems such as the Equilume Light mask. By using biologically effective light that influences an animal’s internal clocks, the following benefits can be achieved:
"Debbie and I used Equilume Light Masks on four barren mares and one maiden mare last season at Jackson Purchase Farm. I was a little reluctant to part with proven ways, but I am happy to say that the masks worked great. All of the mares had breedable follicles and had gone through transition by the February 14th. Four of the mares conceived on the first cover while one was more challenging. In the winter of 2014 we had zero issues with the mares being outside 24/7, often in sub-zero temperatures. Besides the fact that the mares all cycled as I hoped, I am still married, spent less on van and vet charges and had healthier mares. Like extended turnout for any class of horse, daily observation, occasional adjusting of masks and adjustment of feed and hay is necessary. For me the economics were good and the mares simply did better outside. I am a believer!"
We used the Equilume Light Masks last season on a selection of our in-foal mares with a history of long gestation lengths. We found that the masks worked to good effect and resulted in a significant reduction in gestation lengths compared to the same mare's gestations last year. We intend to use them again.
The very best device I have seen in 25years of reproductive practice, second only to the introduction of the ultrasound. It will get them bred early.
"I was delighted with the benefits we gained from our first season using the Equilume Light Masks in 2013. Aside from the obvious efficiencies of not having to box our mares under lights, our barren and maidens had strong heats in early September with excellent fertility. Without any hesitation, we will be using the light masks again next season."
Last season, I really put the Equilume Light Mask to the test. I used it on mares that for years would’nt cycle until April or May. With the EquilumeTM Light Mask the mares were cycling by the end of January. Staying outside with the mask is positive for the horse, for their life, for mares cycling, for their hair coat. I look forward to using the mask again this season. I am sold!
We at Taylor Made used the Equilume Light Masks on over 50 barren and maiden mares this season (2016) to bring forward seasonal reproductive activity. We found that the light masks worked just as well as conventional stable lighting at ensuring early cyclicity. In addition we believe that there are significant advantages to extended turn-out for mares that Equilume facilitates.
"I think that Equilume Light Masks will open the eyes of the horse industry to the benefits of light manipulation in the same way that deslorelin brought focus to ovulation-inducing drugs"
"All mares with the Equilume™ mask showed heat in January and they had normal oestrous cycles. Equilume is effective to control reproductive organs as much as standard method of light control. The mares with Equilume were covered in the early breeding season and 70% of them became pregnant immediately. Equilume saved our time and daily running costs (electricity, bedding and labor etc)."
"I have been excited since being introduced to this concept and have successfully used the Equilume™ Light Masks for the last two breeding seasons, I am confident that they will be a world wide success for breeders. In the difficult breeding year of 2013, Equilume™ was a ‘shining light’ in tightening our average gestation lengths."
"We used the Equilume Light Masks last year with great success. Our dry mares were all cycling and covered early, while reducing our management costs significantly. Our pregnant mares that wore the masks foaled on time with excellent post-foaling fertility, especially mares that had previously struggled to cycle with foal at foot. We would highly recommend Equilume to farms that want to reduce costs and improve breeding efficiency."