Blue Light Influences Breeding Success – for dry and pregnant mares

Sponsored Content - Monday May 3

The horse’s natural reproductive period coincides with the light-filled days of summer. The desire to breed mares early in the year means that many foals are born at a darker time of year than Nature intended.

Click to learn more about Equilume light masks.

This has consequences for breeding efficiency. Often, early foaling mares experience longer gestations, have lower foal birth weights and can have trouble cycling post-foaling. As well as hormones that control reproduction, lengthening daylight stimulates important growth hormones that allow foals to mature in utero and mares to produce more milk and good colostrum. Specifically, it is the blue light wavelengths from the sun that drive these seasonal hormonal changes.

Published scientific studies confirm that extending daylength for dry mares using blue light from Equilume Light Masks will advance reproductive cycles as effectively as stable lighting, with the bonus that mares can be kept at pasture. For pregnant mares, extended daily light from light masks was shown to prevent prolonged gestations (reduction of 10-15 days) and optimise foal birth weights (average 4 kg increase).

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New research presented this month at the Equine Symposium at the British Society for Animal Science’s 2021 Virtual Conference showed that pregnant mares wearing blue light masks in the final 100 days of gestation had shorter pregnancies, earlier post-foaling ovulations and more mature foals at birth. The exciting studies, conducted by researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria also found that foals from mares wearing light masks in the final months of pregnancy stood 15 minutes faster after birth than foals born to mares that did not receive additional light.

The Equilume Belfield and Curragh Light masks are specifically designed for breeding stock to receive ‘long day’ light signals when they are maintained outdoors at pasture. 

For dry mares blue light treatment  should begin approximately 75 days prior to the start of the breeding season, and for pregnant mares 90-100 days before their due dates.

Mike Fleming of Bhima Thoroughbreds.

“We have been using the Equilume Light Masks for the last 7 years with great success. Our dry mares are 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.”

Mike Fleming, BHIMA, Hunter Valley, AUS

 

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