In order to understand why such a seemingly small stimulation as temperature fluctuations has a training effect on horses, it is important to realize how horses live in the wild, what they are equipped for and what mechanisms they lack.
Horses are prairie animals, not cave dwellers or woodland creatures. Steppes or prairies offer little protection by way of trees or geological formations. In nature, horses experience major temperature fluctuations – in the course of the seasons, but also between night and day, with a difference of up to 40 degrees Celsius. In addition, they are exposed to lots of light, full solar radiation, wind, rain and snow. Therefore, horses have excellent heat and cold tolerance. Their short-time thermoregulation consists of sweating, raising their fur and changed circulation in the skin's capillary system; in the long-term, temperature is regulated by changes in the fur and fat stores. They are used to nights being much colder than daytime, and that they are exposed to wind and fresh air more or less constantly.
By keeping horses in stables, providing not enough outdoor grazing time, and training them in indoor riding arenas, we significantly reduce their natural exposure to sunlight. But as prairie animals, horses need lots of light. UV rays promote growth and are involved in bone formation and muscle metabolism (producing vitamin D in the skin); they also help to generate red blood cells (a quasi-training effect). UV rays strengthen the immune system and thus increase resilience against infections; the body's own defenses are boosted, the circulatory system is stabilized, which increases power reserves.
Exposure to UV rays improves wound healing. UV rays have a disinfectant effect against viruses, germs and bacteria. The hormonal system is activated and results in higher performance in studs. In mares, the formation of vitamin D3 significantly increases fertility and receptivity in a natural way. The tendon apparatus is warmed and relaxed.
Lack of daylight results in anemia in both horses and humans. This means that less oxygen is transported through the blood, but also results in reduced muscle performance capability because the carbohydrate balance is disturbed. More water is stored in the body (anti-training effect). Large windows in the horse stable promote horses' wellbeing, but they are not a replacement for actual daylight, since they absorb UV rays.
Treating horses with Summerwind Horse Solariums counteracts this lack of sunlight. Sunlight not only gives health and vitality to us humans, but also helps our horses to stay resilient, energetic and healthy. Mental wellbeing is boosted, the horses are more even-tempered and able to focus, which in turn improves performance. Ergo, light equals energy and life.
For these reasons, your horses should be exposed to UV rays.
Solariums are not only for high-performance horses
The performance-boosting and health-promoting effect of UV radiation should also be regularly used on leisure horses, because they, too, often do not get enough sunlight in winter, even in open stabling situations.
Horses in training
Using Summerwind Horse Solariums in preparation for exercise significantly activates circulation and thus boosts performance. Especially in winter, it is important to warm up horses and to loosen their muscles before work. A solarium session widens the capillaries; oxygen supply from the blood to all muscles is improved.
After work and an appropriate walking phase – which is needed to degrade lactic acid and normalize lactate levels so as to prevent the muscles from becoming too acidic and thus sore, the animal should be treated to a solarium session to extend the relaxation of muscles into the resting phase. Also in cases of excessive training, which may result in muscle inflammation (edema formation due to small muscle ruptures), heat therapy alleviates pain and results in quicker recovery, since the radiation stimulates the blood flow. Can also be used to prevent laminitis.
How often should you sun your horse?
In order to give your horse the minimum radiation required to stay healthy and develop resilience, three applications/solarium sessions per week are needed. If the goal is to activate all life processes of the organism, daily sessions required. The same applies to therapeutic measures. For horses in performance or training, it makes sense to treat them to a solarium session after every work session.
Just 20 minutes a day
20 minutes a day are enough to activate and optimize all the benefits of sunning. This daily dose of sunlight pays itself off by saving costs for vet visits, medicine and healthcare. The lamps should be ca. 60 cm away from the horse's body.
Circulating air system
Summerwind Horse Solariums have an integrated circulation air system that prevents post-exercise sweating since the humid air generated in the drying process is conducted away from the horse's body with warm air. This results in evenly distributed drying.
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