Let There Be Light: Length Of Day Used As Mare Management Tool

Mares have been put under artificial light in order to encourage the onset of seasonal reproductivity for years; extending the length of “daylight” to about 16 hours is a common management tool on may farms.

Research has shown that blue light, which has a shorter wavelength, is very effective at suppressing melatonin secretion and initiating ovarian activity. This led to the creation of the Equilume, a flymask-like device that fits on a horse’s head and provides low intensity blue light into a single eye.

Additional research has shown that wearing this mask in late pregnancy also has benefits. Foals born in April, May and June weighed more than the foals born earlier in the year. Additionally, the increase in day length is associated with shorter pregnancies.

A series of studies completed in Ireland and Kentucky showed that mares that wore the Equilume mask had pregnancies that were 11 days shorter on average. Additional studies showed that mares that wore the mask had foals that were nearly 8 pounds heavier than foals born to mares not wearing the mask.

The scientists concluded that the series of studies highlighted the role seasonal changes in the length of day have on pregnant mares and normal fetal development during the natural breeding season. They also conclude that there is potential to improve breeding efficiency by having the mares wear the Equilume in the later stages of their gestation.

Read more at Horse Journals.

The post Let There Be Light: Length Of Day Used As Mare Management Tool appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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