Equine Health Update Issue 1 Volume 16 - Page 22

and seasonal changes in the equine pelage has previously been reported [33]. For many competitive equestrian disciplines such as showing and showjumping, the development of a smooth coat in summer is a sought after and a valuable characteristic of the natural equine breeding season. The ability to advance the onset of shedding using light therapy is a management technique already utilised by some sport horse trainers; however, the associated cost of housing could be considered prohibitive by many more. The ability to provide light therapy in a cost effective manner while the horses remain outdoors offers a novel method of achieving desired winter coat loss earlier in the year. In conclusion, this study has shown that timed lowlevel blue light to one eye provided by a head worn mask is as effective as indoor barn lighting at advancing the equine breeding season, but with economic benefits for the breeder and welfare benefits for the horse. Authors’ declaration of interests A priority preliminary patent application was filed in Ireland in May 2011 (Patent # S2011/0245) by University College Dublin entitled ‘An apparatus and method for inhibiting melatonin synthesis in a horse’ which describes an invention similar to the light mask used in the current study. collection, study execution, data analysis and interpretation and preparation of the manuscript. M.H. Troedsson contributed to study design, data analysis and interpretation and preparation of the manuscript. C.M. Walsh contributed to study design, data collection, study execution, data analysis and interpretation and preparation of the manuscript. E.M. Woodward contributed to study design, data collection, study execution, data analysis and interpretation a