The Equilume Light Mask helps breeders meet industry-imposed foal birth dates by increasing the hours of light a horse is exposed to daily. It is widely understood that providing longer day-length for approximately 90 days beginning on either fifteenth of November (Northern Hemisphere) or the fifteenth of June (Southern Hemisphere) acts to reduce the production of the hormone melatonin and stimulates the mare’s reproductive system to activate earlier in the year. Therefore, foals of the same official age can be produced that are older in actual age and have a competitive advantage.

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The Old Way

To achieve early success, many breeders stable horses indoors under extended barn lighting and incur substantial costs associated with bedding, lighting and labour. For example, the average keep fee for a barren mare in Ireland is €22.80 per day*. Therefore, standard indoor light therapy for 100 days equates to approximately €2200 per mare per season. Painful!

*Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association Cost Survey 2014

The Equilume Way

Providing each broodmare with an Equilume Light Mask allows the completely mobile flexibility of indoor or outdoor living as conditions permit. Enjoying a mild winter? Leave them outdoors 24/7 and the mask handles light delivery for you. Bring them inside,  or even travel, as needed, knowing that the Light Mask is automated, delivering optimum light stimulation to the eye right on schedule, every day. This not only saves you a significant amount of money, but it has been proven that field-kept mares are happier, and happy mares have greater success with all aspects of fertility and pregnancy.

Help Your Pregnant Mares
Foal On Time with Optimum Birth Weights

An unfortunate side effect for mares with foaling dates that occur unnaturally early in the year is longer gestations and smaller foals. Environmental light influences the development of the foal in utero and regulates when a mare will foal. Nature intended that foals be born during the longer days of late spring and summer – and nature tends to have her way. Stimulating the longer day lengths associated with the natural breeding season by fitting pregnant mares with Equilume Light Masks has been shown in clinical trials to eliminate these side effects in most mares, instead helping the mare deliver her foal on-time and with an optimum birth weight.

Late-foaling mares represent economic loss to the breeder by reducing the number of foals a mare can produce in consecutive years. Mares that foal during the darker days prior to the natural breeding season (e.g. Thoroughbreds) have longer gestation lengths by an average of 10 days. However, 20% of Thoroughbred mares experience annual gestation lengths that exceed 355 days.

Light is the primary influencer of gestation length. Light therapy prior to foaling has been scientifically shown to increase average foal birth weights and prevent prolonged gestation. See our research here.