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Horse solariums are becoming increasingly popular in racing and competition yards due to their variety of benefits.
Horse solariums are commonly used to warm up the horse’s back muscles before exercise. They are also extremely useful in cold and wet weather as horses can dry off quickly underneath. Solariums equipped with infrared light also encourage blood flow and tissue healing.
Until recently, horse solariums were considered a luxury in the equestrian world. However, there are now many competitively priced products to suit every budget. As a result, they are becoming increasingly common in yards, both big and small.
Here is all you need to know about equine solariums!
Benefits Of Horse Solariums
Equine solariums can improve the health and well-being of horses in many ways. While they are effective on all horses, hard-working race and sports horses benefit the most.
Lower Risk Of Injury
Depending on the type of horse solarium, the emitted heat can penetrate superficial and deeper tissues. This stimulates blood flow, cellular metabolism, and muscle relaxation.
Horses with uptight muscles are more prone to suffer an injury than horses with relaxed musculature. Like massages, solariums encourage the horse to release tension and loosen up.
Easy Warm-Up And Warm-Down
A significant advantage of having a horse solarium on a busy yard is reducing warm-up time. A 20-minute session before work is ideal for warming up the horse’s muscles ready for exercise.
Solariums also come in handy when the work has already finished. By promoting the breakdown of lactic acid after exercise, the equipment effectively prevents muscle stiffness, further reducing the risk of injury.
Maintain Performance Over The Winter
Due to the poor weather conditions, many horses lose fitness over the winter months. It takes them longer to warm up and cool down, and reduces their willingness to work.
According to research, horses that received light therapy for one hour every day were better able to physically and mentally cope with work over the winter. Certain solariums also work as a substitute for natural sunlight, which is lacking during the winter months.
Increased Blood Flow
As already mentioned, horse solariums promote healthy circulation in the horse’s muscles. This is especially beneficial to riding horses, where the saddle and the rider’s weight reduce blood flow in the back muscles.
Horse solariums with infrared light bulbs also increase the take-up of sugars from the blood. Increased circulation stimulates hormone production in mares and stallions, which is advantageous when breeding.
All types of solariums are effective in drying horses quickly. This represents a major advantage over the winter when drying horses after exercise takes longer.
Many equine solarium models are fully waterproof, allowing yards to install them above wash stalls conveniently. Since competition yards often routinely wash horses down after riding, having a solarium becomes essential in preventing chills.
Here is a short video of a Q-line solarium drying a horse:
The heat of solariums also stimulates the production of natural oils in your horse’s coat and encourages molting. As a result, horses have a smoother and glossier coat that is sure to be noticed on shows!
Moreover, solariums equipped with UVA-B lamps help horses replenish their vitamin D supply. Vitamin D3 enables the horse to absorb calcium and phosphorus, and its production is stimulated by sunlight. Solariums are a great way of supplementing vitamin D3 to horses with limited turnout time.
Faster Healing & Recovery
Last but not least, horse solariums can even save you money on vet bills! Exposure to infrared heat promotes tissue healing and recovery, which is crucial in horses doing high-intensity exercise.
Solariums can also help heal saddle sores and eczemas, clear sinus congestions, and prevent muscle strains. Overall, they are a great form of therapy for horses, making solariums a worthwhile investment for many stables.
Types of Horse Solariums
Horse solariums vary by shape, size, and the type of heat they emit. While each model on the market has its unique features, they all serve the same purpose: helping horses and their performance.
Most modern solariums are very cost-effective to run and come with a 2-year warranty. They either feature heat bulbs, infrared bulbs, or a combination of them. High-end designs also have added fans in the unit to distribute the heat more evenly.
The most common type of horse solarium is the overhead model. The canopy of this design extends over most of the horse’s length, providing excellent heat coverage. They are typically hung 8 feet from the ground, allowing horses plenty of headroom.
Overhead horse solariums can have anywhere between one to nine rows of bulbs. As a rule of thumb, the more rows they have, the more they cost. While overhead horse solariums are the most popular model, some have concerns about horses getting scared and hitting their heads.
This type of horse solarium is fundamentally different from the previous model. Instead of a coherent unit with light bulbs, they are made up of individual lamps with parabolic reflectors. Although they don’t provide as great coverage as overhead solariums, they offer buyers more mounting options.
Heat lamp solariums can be hung from the ceiling or mounted on the wall at various heights. Since they radiate heat from the side, there is no risk of the horse hitting its head.
Heat Lamps are also relatively inexpensive to purchase and install.
Standing horse solariums offer the greatest heat coverage out of all models. Extending from the back to the upper legs, the equipment provides therapy to most of the horse’s muscles. The gap above the horse’s head also makes this solarium one of the safest models on the market.
Once installed, these ultimate drying tunnels will delight both horse and owner. The only downside of this model is its hefty price tag, which makes it inaccessible to most stables.
Portable equine solariums are essentially a miniature version of the overhead model. Designed to go in trucks or on the roof of a trailer, they are ideal for traveling equine enthusiasts.
How Much Do Horse Solariums Cost?
Horse solarium prices are typically between $800 to $15,000 and cost 10 to 50 cents an hour to run. Most people are unaware of how energy-efficient solariums are, which further adds to their affordability.
Once you have purchased a solarium for your stable, the running costs are minimal. As the demand for horse solariums slowly increases, so does the efficiency of new products. Over time, the equipment will pay for itself in terms of all its benefits to horses.
Do’s and Don’t of Horse Solariums
Buying a horse solarium shouldn’t be a rash decision. Before investing in such equipment, you should consider whether it is suitable for your stable.
While solariums are therapeutic for all horses, they can live happy and healthy lives without one. If your horse has a mild workload and plenty of turnouts, a solarium will add little quality to their lives. If, however, you operate a busy yard with performance horses, a solarium could save you both time and money.
When deciding whether or not to buy a horse solarium, consider the following questions:
- How often will I use it?
- Is there enough space to fit it?
- What type of solarium do my horses need?
- Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
Don’t forget that overhead solariums need plenty of clearance underneath to be safe for use with horses. Your stable ceiling needs to be at least 3.5 meters (12 feet) high to accommodate the equipment.
Since horse solariums are mostly permanent fixtures, you’ll also need to designate an area/stable for its use.
Horse Solarium Brands
To help you choose the right product, we have compiled a list of the most popular horse solarium brands in the United States and overseas:
Drimee Equine Therapy Lighting
Since 2017, Drimee has manufactured top-quality horse solariums in the United States. Their product range includes an overhead solarium featuring fans and infrared bulbs and an infrared truck solarium. Prices are in the range of $600-$3,500.
Drimee’s Sirocco overhead solarium is the company’s best-selling product. It can perform both drying and cooling, and is widely used for infrared therapy. The solarium comes with a control panel allowing full control of the heat and brightness and a 60-minute manual timer.
See more details here on the Drimee website.
Q-line Horse Solariums
Q-line manufactures some of the most powerful and high-end horse solariums on the market. Their prices start at $5,000 and go up to $15,000. The company’s products are available in North America exclusively through Vitafloor USA.
Q-line equine solariums provide ultimate relaxation and comfort to horses before and after riding. With 40% more output than the competition, these solariums are highly effective in stimulating blood circulation and preventing injuries.
All Q-line products are made of heat-resistant, lightweight plastic with rounded edges for safety. They are all overhead models featuring circulation fans that evenly distribute the heat and provide maximum comfort to your horse.
See more details about Q-line products here on vitafloor.com.
This company manufactures highly efficient and affordable horse solariums in the United Kingdom. All of their products are easy to install and require very little maintenance. Prices are in the $1,200 – $1,400 range.
Horse Solarium.co.uk offers four different overhead solariums to suit every need. Their fully infrared model is perfect for warming horses up before exercise. If your goal is to wash and dry horses quickly, a model with heat lamps is also available.
The remaining two products feature a combination of infrared and heat lamps. Whatever your need, Horse Solarium.co.uk has got you covered!
Visit HorseSolarium.co.uk for more details.
Shadow Equestrian Heaters
Another UK-based company offering equine solariums is Shadow Equestrian Heaters. Shadow manufactures ultra-low glare infrared heaters with 80% less light output than the competition. These heaters protect the horse’s sensitive eyes while providing the same benefits as other solariums.
Shadow equestrian heaters are small units with no enclosed framework to prevent head bumping. They are also fully waterproof and perfect for hanging above wash stalls. Prices are in the range of $800 – $1,800.
Visit heat-outdoors.co.uk for more details.
Sundance Horse Solariums
Sundance Horse Solariums offer a wide range of products, from small overhead units to complete drying tunnels. Some of their solariums feature UVA-B light bulbs, which provide horses with a feeling of a warm summer day.
Sundance horse solariums come with an electric lift system that allows for easy height adjustment. They also manufacture coin cabinets that can be used to take payment for solarium use in your barn. The price range of Sundance products is $900 to $11,000.
Visit sundancesolariums.com for more details.