Specialist knowledge in the use of Valoya LED lighting to improve the performance of plant growth has led to successful trials in LED therapy on two of racehorse owner Phil Kirby’s most promising runners, thanks to the involvement of Exhibition Seeds and HydroGarden.
Trials began in March when Valoya LED B-series Full Spectrum lights were introduced to two of the horseboxes at Phil’s Sharpehill Stables in Middleham, North Yorkshire, following a suggestion by Keith Foster, owner of horticultural and seed specialists, Exhibition Seeds, and Stephen Fry, commercial sales manager for Coventry-based hydroponic manufacturers and wholesalers, HydroGarden.
Recent studies in Singapore and Italy have given excellent results when LED lights have been used to heal strains and wounds. LED therapy is reported to stimulate the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the major carrier of energy to all cells and provides the chemical energy that drives the chemical reaction of the cell. Increases in ATP allow cells to use nutrients faster as well as get rid of waste products faster by increasing the energy level in the cell.
Renowned as a successful trainer, Phil Kirby had 104 winners in the 2013 to 2014 season across the disciplines of both Flat racing and Jump racing, with continued success in 2015. Keith Foster is also a racehorse owner and has two horses at Phil’s stables. He suggested that the right level of light spectrum, created via LED lights, may help to improve the fitness of Phil’s horses and their performance even further. Phil decided to install LED B-series Full Spectrum light units in two of his horse boxes.
The lights were placed 1m above each horse’s head in the middle of the stable, creating a light spread of 160 degrees so the horse box had good light all around. The lights were connected to a PowerPlant LightSafe 26 Amp Contactor/Timer and left on from 5am until 9pm, seven days a week. In effect, giving the horses summer light levels when it was only spring.
After just two weeks under the Valoya LED B-series Full Spectrum lights, both horses needed to have their daily food ration increased, which in turn resulted in them developing very good skin. Both of their general appearances became much better than the other racehorses in the stable, that were only receiving the normal light for March/April, about 12 hours of very poor light which came in through the stable door to create a dimly lit box.
Phil spoke about his observations during the six week trial: “The horses which had had the LED lights developed excellent muscle tone and their generally improved wellbeing was very evident on their daily gallops. I also noticed that the horses were travelling better than another of my horses which had just had natural light. They were both working incredibly well. It was unfortunate that because of the timing of the trial that the horses ran out of suitable ground to race on as summer approached. They both need soft ground to race on and the summer ground soon became too firm. So at this point I decided to turn them out for their summer holidays with a view to coming back to the trials later in the year.”
Phil is intending to reintroduce the Valoya LED B-series Full Spectrum lights trial on two more horses in the autumn when he moves into his new yard and can give the horses the full benefit of the LED lights in the shorter days of winter. As a partner in Castleton Bloodstock and breeder of young thoroughbred racehorses to sell in the UK, he also plans to use them on his young foals and yearlings from October to March so they will achieve a good size for the sales as yearlings.
He added: “I think that it’s on the breeding side where the Valoya LED B-series Full Spectrum lights will really come into their own. Strong well bred yearlings and foals attain a much better price at the sales and I think the lights will prove to be a great asset. Breeders in the south of UK and France have the advantage of better natural light so the Valoya lights should help the foals in the North. I’ve already invested in additional units so I can start using them in the autumn.”