03 Jul From the horse’s mouth: UK Stud Veterinarian recounts his experiences with Equilume lighting
Stud veterinarian, Dr Pat Sells, qualified from Liverpool Veterinary School in 2007, winning the Pycock Equine Clinical Prize. After a period playing a James Herriot role in a rural Welsh mixed practice, he joined the prestigious Rossdale & Partners in Newmarket. His interesting career has also taken him to the beautiful Waikato, where he became resident vet for Windsor Park Stud, one of new Zealand’s premier Thoroughbred nurseries. Now based at the picturesque Chasemore Farm in Surrey, one of the finest stud facilities in England, Pat shares his thoughts on Equilume lighting.
“In my opinion, the introduction of Equilume’s blue wavelength lighting to breeding mares constituted the biggest technological step forward for equine reproduction since the ultrasound machine became widely used for scanning in the 1980s.
I first started using the Equilume light masks in New Zealand when they came out in 2014, and they worked effectively and suited the farming system there. For breeding farm practice in the UK however, I find the Equilume Stable Light system to be superior. The benefits are comprehensive: the circadian effect on dry mares seems more profound than when using fluorescent lights, in that medical intervention is needed less frequently to stimulate cyclicity. Foal birthweights are higher, particularly in early season mares and those mares that consistently go longer in gestating are (as a group, on average) shortened up.
The difference in electricity consumption alone justifies their purchase from economic and environmental perspectives. Beyond all these considerations, I think the evidence that microbial decay is caused by blue light wavelengths is interesting. I have noticed fewer neonatal infection issues since the introduction of the Equilume lights at Chasemore, particularly diarrhoea, presumably due to the lower microbial load in the stable environment. Really, from every perspective as a vet and a breeder, these lights tick the box.”
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