Lights On: LED Lighting Encourages Stress-Free Shipping - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Lights On: LED Lighting Encourages Stress-Free Shipping

Loading and transporting horses in trailers can be fraught with danger, especially if the horse doesn't want to load or doesn't travel well. According to new research, however, actions can be taken to alleviate some equine angst before the horse ever steps onto the trailer.

Dr. Claire Neveux, a research engineer in equine welfare, sought to determine if lighting inside a trailer might affect the horse, particularly while loading and at a standstill. 

Neveuz and a team of scientists used 20 trotting horses that were fairly inexperienced with loading and trailering for their study. They asked each horse to load into the trailer multiple times (called the “loading phase”) and then remain in the trailer for two minutes with the experimenter (called the “stationary phase”). 

The trailer the horses loaded into had adjustable LED lights, which the researchers adjusted between warm white light (3000K), neutral white light (4500K), and cold white light (6300K). To determine how the different lighting influenced each horse's reactions, the scientist monitored the horse's behavior and heart rate.

The team found that the horses were less stressed and loaded more quickly into trailers that had lots of light inside them. The horse's heart rates came down more quickly when the horses were loaded and stood under artificial white LED lighting. 

The author noted that many other factors could play into how a horse loads and travels, including past trailering experience, the horse's personality, and his environment. 

Read more at Equine Science Update.  

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