While it’s well-known that LED lighting is cost- and energy-efficient, some British stable owners observe that LEDs may also improve the physical health and well-being of their racehorses, too.

Lighting Decisions for Horse Facilities

Farmers and riders have long experimented with horse barn lighting options. There are obviously a number of requirements for these kinds of lamps—not only do they have to provide high-quality light, but they must be watertight and extremely corrosion-resistant.  While the T5HO vapor-tight high bay fixtures are often recommended for horse barn lighting, it may be time to consider a new-technology upgrade.

Keith Foster, who owns Exhibition Seeds, and Stephen Fry, of HydroGarden, suggested full-spectrum LED lights. They recommended the lights be put into two horse stalls at Phil Kirby’s Sharpehill Stables in North Yorkshire, England, and Kirby agreed. Kirby installed the LEDs in two of his horse stalls, leaving them on from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM each day for six weeks. They haven’t looked back since. 

horses-respond-to-led-lighting-muscle-increased-appetite

The stall of one of the racehorses in Kirby’s observations.

LED Success in the Stable

After just two weeks, both horses required an increase in daily food rations, and Kirby noticed clear improvements in each horse’s skin, muscle tone, appearance, and gallop. Kirby told HydroGarden that the two horses with LED lights in their stalls performed better than the other horses relying  on what little natural light was available.

The Science Behind LED Effectiveness

LED lights promote the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which carries energy to cells. When the ATP level of each horse was increased, cells could more efficiently use nutrients and eliminate waste. This benefited every aspect of each horse’s health. Similar studies in Italy and Singapore found that LED lights can improve the body’s ability to heal muscle strains and wounds, too.

LED-lighting-in-stable-atmosphereIncreasing LED Lighting During the Winter

Unfortunately, Kirby had to stop the LED trial short when summer approached, as the horses needed softer ground for running than what was available in the region. Kirby plans to add the LED lights to two additional stalls in the coming fall to give the horses the full effect of the lighting through the winter months, when natural light is harder to provide. He also plans to use the lights from October to March on foals and yearlings with the hope that the young horses will achieve better size.

Human Applications of LEDs

Given how well the racehorses responded to the lights, it isn’t too surprising that humans can benefit from LEDs as well. Not only have LED “tail lights” been utilized to increase the safety of horses and their riders, LEDs help regulate our circadian rhythms, keeping us and our horses in competitive, performance-ready condition.


racehorse-stall

Lighting the Way to a Healthier Future

We’ve only just begun to explore the benefits of LED lights, but we expect them to work just as well for horses as they do for humans. I have a feeling the equestrian community will soon see that LEDs are an easy way to help their horses (and save owners some money, too).

Would You Bet On It?

Do you believe in the possibilities of LEDs as much as I do? Would you be more willing to bet on a horse that had been exposed to LED barn lighting?

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