LED Lighting for Horses

2 The Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection set the target for illuminance in stables at a minimum of 80 lux for livestock over at least 8 hours a day as part of humane farming. This level is also reflected in the recommendations of the German Equestrian Federation. The word “minimum” emphasises that this is the lower value. Higher illuminance levels meet the animals’ high light requirements. The importance of light for horses No matter what use the horse is put to by humans, mutual trust is of great importance for a good working relationship. Horses are by nature prey animals and constantly observe their environment. One crucial aspect is vision, for which suitable lighting conditions are important. But light does not just influence horses’ vision. These animals also react to the number of light hours, the intensity and also the colour of the light. This means that, among other things, their fertility or shed- ding depends on light availability. Horse vitality also depends on this. Primarily, this refers of course to natural sunlight. Artificial light, however, does provide an additional light source and can have a positive effect on the animals’ welfare when used appropriately. Light requirements The natural habitat of horses is the steppe. Wide, tree-free areas are characteristic of steppes. Depending on the season, there is plenty of daylight under the open skies. In the course of evolution, horses adapted to their circumstances. This means that the animals have high light tolerance, but they have also develo- ped high light requirements. This comes to the fore particularly when we compare their natural habitat with that of farm animals such as cattle and pigs. Type of animal Horses Cow Pig primary habitat Steppe Forest edge Forests Light tolerance and light requirements large medium small Source: inspired by Schnitzer, Prof. Ulrich, 1970: “Untersuchungen zur Planung von Reitanlagen“ [“Studies on the planning of equestrian facilities“], KTBL Bauschrift Heft 6, Kuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der Landwirtschaft, Frankfurt [KTBL Construction Paper 6, Association for Technology and Structures in Agriculture, Frankfurt] Horses see differently