The Best Equine Lighting
What is the best equine lighting? What makes certain types of lights more suitable for horses than others? And what are the best kind of lights for your stables, yard, or arena?
Horse owners, stable managers, and manège managers all know that the health, safety, and wellbeing of the horses in their care take priority over everything else. Having the right lighting in place makes caring for, observing, exercising, and training the horses much easier.
In the late spring and summer months, outdoor lighting generally isn’t an issue as the days are longer and natural light often lasts well into the evening. In the autumn, winter, and even early spring, however, artificial lighting is often needed outdoors for the training and care of horses as well as day-to-day maintenance tasks. Indoor lighting, especially in areas with few natural external light sources and where tasks and activities are carried out outside of daylight hours, often requires appropriate lighting all year round.
What are the best kind of indoor lights for horses
Before discussing what type of lighting is best for horses in stables or other indoor areas where the horse is not being trained or ridden, it’s first appropriate to discuss the different types of light.
There are three main types (or families) of lighting that could be considered when deciding what kind of lighting to use for horse care; ambient lighting (which can be split into outdoor and indoor), accent lighting, and task lighting.
All three families of lighting also have different types of lights that can be used within them, in terms of equipment, such as LED, halogen strips, floodlights, directional gimbals, spotlights, and more.
Ambient Lighting (Indoor and Outdoor)
Ambient lighting can be split into two main groups (indoor and outdoor) and is sometimes referred to as general lighting. The main purpose of ambient lighting is to provide a uniform level of illumination, lighting up as much of an area or space as possible. It is often used for the purpose of creating a safe environment for people, things, or animals to move through, creating a clear, well-lit view of the room or area.
Indoor Ambient Lighting
The types of lights that you would use to create ambient lighting indoors would be fittings such as ceiling lights, chandeliers, wall-mounted fixtures, or even floor and table lamps. These are generally used to spread light across as much of the space as possible, creating a good, general coverage of light, with the aim of making as much of the contents of the space visible as possible.
Outdoor Ambient Lighting
Much like indoor ambient lighting, outdoor ambient lighting is used to light as much of an external area as possible to ensure good visibility and reduce the risk of accidents, or to increase security around buildings and other areas.
Examples of outdoor ambient lighting fittings include spotlights, canopy lighting, post lanterns or lamps, wall lighting, or recessed lighting in overhead structures.
Accent lighting’s main purpose is to bring focus to a particular feature or create a specific effect. For example, our ColourPoint and ColourPoint Mini can be used to bring attention to particular architectural features or landscape features such as trees or statues by uplighting them using a variety of colour options.
Examples of accent lighting fittings include undercabinet lighting in kitchens, directional lighting, recessed downlighting, track lights, and tape lights.
Task lighting is designed less for general lighting and more for precise illumination. Task lighting should illuminate the specific task or activity being carried out (and often the immediate area around it as well). Task lighting should also ensure the light stays on the task and does not shine into your eyes.
Examples of task lighting include desk, table, or freestanding lamps; downlights or directional gimbal fixtures; pendant lighting; and track lighting.
What kind of lighting should you use for equine stables and horse arenas?
Looking at the different types of lighting mentioned above it is quite clear that, in terms of the best lighting for horse training and other activities like dressage or show jumping, task lighting and accent lighting wouldn’t be best suited. They may be useful for certain areas of an equine arena or stables, such as task lighting in a workshop or accent lighting in a reception area of a professional arena. However, they would not be suitable for use in areas where the horses are trained and looked after.
In areas where the horses are to be stabled, transported, and trained or exercised, you want as much uniform lighting as possible to reduce shadows and dark spots to a minimum as these can sometimes spook a horse. Therefore, ambient lighting would be best suited, as you can provide a broad spread of light across the areas that you need illuminated and reduce shadows to a minimum.
What kind of lights would best suit stables and horse arenas?
Considering that ambient lighting would be best suited to stable areas and horse arenas where activities like training, horse show jumping, dressage, and horse-riding lessons may take place, what ambient lights would work best?
There are several different types of bulbs that you can use within your lighting design or setup.
Metal Halide Bulbs
Metal halide bulbs are quite commonly used in barns and other areas with a large footprint such as arenas, paddocks, or aisleways. They can be very bright, which is great for illuminating the area required and reducing the amount of shadow, but they can often take a minute or two to reach their full brightness. Once turned off, they can also take a little while to come back on when you need them to.
Incandescent bulbs can get very hot. Because they produce a lot of heat, they’re not particularly well suited for areas where animals or livestock are kept. The temperatures that the bulbs can potentially reach put horses at risk of injury should they touch or come into close proximity of the bulbs. They are also not the most economical of lighting choices either, burning out relatively quickly and needing to be replaced more often than other bulb choices.
Fluorescent bulbs are a good choice for horse barns and arenas as they can be quite bright, illuminating the area well, are energy-efficient, and usually have a long life span. They don’t reach the kind of temperatures that incandescent bulbs can reach either, making them a safer option for horse lighting.
LED technology has come a long way since it was first introduced over half a century ago. LED bulbs produce a high-quality light source, they last up to 10 times longer than some other types of bulbs and can consume just a quarter of the energy to produce the same output. What’s more, LED lights don’t get as hot as other types of lighting, making them a safe option when working with horses and other animals. LED lighting is often the preferred choice for many horse owners or stable and arena managers, producing a well-lit area with fewer shadows.
LEDs are the most highly recommended lighting choice for horse arenas, paddocks, barns, and other indoor or outdoor areas.
Benefits of LED lighting
LED lights are especially good for outdoor areas or areas that can be susceptible to damp and cold conditions like paddocks, barns, and indoor arenas.
- LED bulbs produce a brighter light than traditional bulbs, providing more illumination.
- LED lights last much longer than other types of bulbs, requiring less replacements.
- LEDs use significantly less energy than other types of bulbs.
- LED lights produce little heat and so require less time to warm up. They come on instantly, even in very cold weather.
- LED lights are usually much more durable than other bulbs. Many types of LED lighting are housed in durable, weather-proof materials, making them especially suitable for outdoor use.
All the above reasons make LED lighting the perfect solution to almost every horse lighting application. There are, however, a few things to bear in mind when choosing which LED lights to purchase and install. Ensure the LED lights you purchase are made of high-quality materials; this will prolong the life of the lights, provide better illumination than cheaper alternatives, and give you a higher energy efficiency. Purchase LED lighting that has a weatherproof rating, especially if using outdoors or in potentially damp and cold conditions.
LEDs are a great choice for horse lighting if your horse barn or arena isn’t connected to mains electricity. There are many solar or battery powered LED lighting solutions available that offer good battery life. This also has positive implications towards planning permission for lighting installation too – read our blog on planning permission for horse arena lighting [insert link to planning permission blog].
If you’re interested in LED lighting for your horse arena, barn, stables, paddocks, or any other area, our CORE Flood is a great battery powered LED floodlight. It produces 20,000 lumens with a rugged outdoor rated housing and can light up an area of 15,000 square feet with just 4 floodlights.