Technology: The future is here
Gaining the edge could be made easier, thanks to the latest technologies to boost equine wellbeing and hone performance – with some of the techniques a little less than traditional
Equilume Stable Light System
The right lighting has been proven to make a significant difference to a horse’s wellbeing and performance. After all, horses evolved outside, exposed to regular changes in light and dark and high intensities of daytime light from the sun. This ensured that their body clock, or circadian system, functioned optimally.
Modern management of horses requires that they spend a large proportion of the 24-hour day indoors, unexposed to optimum daylight and frequently disrupted by white light at night.
Poor lighting and exposure to the wrong kind of lighting at different times of the day play havoc with an animal’s circadian system and can negatively impact their immune function, performance capacity, appetite and rest.
To counter this, Equilume has developed a customised system that provides lighting designed to support and maintain the horse’s circadian system and acts to influence health, performance and overall wellbeing by naturally strengthening the horse’s internal rhythms.
The lighting system provides blue-enriched daytime light, which mimics natural daylight and boosts metabolism, accelerates healing, maintains topline, produces a sleek coat and reduces the growth of bacteria and fungi in stables.
Gradual light transitions that mimic dawn and dusk help to reduce stress, while at night, red lights facilitate rest and have a calming effect that riders have noticed can help with behavioural problems. They also avoid the need to turn on lights, as white lights at night are a major cause of circadian disruption.
In addition, a special programme automatically regulates seasonal changes in day length, which means performance capacity is optimised all year round. Horses experience spring sooner and autumn later, extending the season of peak performance and ensuring they put on muscle and are in the best possible skin throughout the year.
When travelling, horses can benefit from the lighting system by using the Cashel mask.
“Health, muscle growth, mood, energy, rest and recovery are all areas that I feel are negatively impacted on dark, gloomy days. The Equilume team have the science to show that the same is true for horses and that its lighting solutions work to improve these factors. Equilume helps my horses feel great so they can perform at their best.”
SAM WATSON, INTERNATIONAL EVENT RIDER, IRELAND
“I read about the Equilume light concept, so I decided to try one of its Cashel Light Masks. The horse I selected was a talented but somewhat difficult horse to train on a daily basis. I was told it would take about six weeks of use with the Cashel mask to see the full benefits on the horse. After just three weeks I saw a remarkable improvement in the horse’s attitude and willingness to enjoy his work.”
PHILLIP DUTTON, OLYMPIC EVENT RIDER, USA
Another technology receiving attention worldwide is the use of radio frequency, which can be used on horses to both enhance performance and accelerate recovery and rehabilitation after injury.
Indiba Animal Health uses a specific frequency – 448kHz – that regulates key biological and metabolic processes of cell physiology so tissue cells receive combined electrical and thermal stimulation.
This stimulation regenerates tissue, which results in an accelerated repair of tissue injuries, pain and inflammation control. This improves blood flow to tissue allowing greater nutrient and oxygen intake, which increases tissue flexibility, reaches deep structures and reduces pain. It also aids recovery after exercise due to the drainage of catabolites (e.g. lactic acid). For injured horses, it also enables quicker wound healing, reaches deeper areas and has a drainage, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect as it regenerates healthy tissue.
“Indiba has really changed the way I am able to treat and manage performance horses and the results speak for themselves. I have local vets referring injured patients to me, who have been amazed by the recovery they have made, often when they had themselves run out of options. Now they get referred straight to a course of Indiba, often avoiding invasive veterinary treatment and drug use.”
KIMBERLEY MALLETT, PERFORMANCE ANIMAL PHYSIOTHERAPY & REHABILITATION, SWINDON
“Fuiloda G can get tense over her back and regular physio and Indiba treatments help keep her relaxed and able to produce better work. I notice the difference after treatments, but the effects also last and we’ve been able to improve her way of going over time. We like that we can work the horses straight after treatments and they don’t need any time off or withdrawal period.”
RAFAEL LOSANO, OLYMPIC EVENT RIDER, BRAZIL
Find out more…
Article originally published in the Autumn 2021 issue of British Eventing Life magazine.