Horse Solarium – Why take the Plunge?
If you were planning your perfect yard, what facilities would you include? For the vast majority of people, a horse solarium would definitely make the list. Here Serena Hickson from FMBs Therapy Systems tells us all about solariums, what type to look for, when to use, and the kind of costs you might look to incur if you decide to take the plunge.
Solariums are incredibly useful bits of kit; that’s one reason so many yards have them. There are different types, which have different additional features, but for many people they are an essential item that’s used each day on the yard, to help support their horse’s well being and happiness.
In their most basic form, a solarium is a unit that emits infra red light via a number of bulbs. Some of these units are a lot more basic than others, and this is reflected in the price. Some have a handful of bulbs, screwed into fairly basic fittings that do this. Other units are much larger and the bulbs are better integrated into the design. As you can probably guess, the cost varies enormously.
Before you invest, really think about when you’ll use the solarium as it can be used for the following reasons:
- To dry wet horses after washing
- To help warm the horse’s muscles before exercise, as part of a pre warm-up routine, to help improve suppleness and reduce the risk of injury
- To encourage blood flow, whether this is to help the horse relax after exercise or to support the healing phase of back injuries
- Promote relaxation
- Reduce tension in the back area
This is at the most basic level. Additional features can provide additional benefits, for example:
- Fans – fans can be used to support the work of the infra red elements and reduce drying times. They also help promote more even heat distribution across the horse.
- Lights and colours – can be used to help calm or stimulate the horse. Some units are available with blue, green and yellow lighting and provide colour therapy too.
- UV lights – for horses that don’t get a lot of time outside, exposure to UV light can be very beneficial as this is needed for vitamin D generation, which is important for well being.
As for cost, it depends. Very basic models can cost a few hundred pounds, whereas models made from high quality materials with additional features can cost thousands.
If you’re interested, make sure you really think about the questions below before you take the plunge, to make sure you’re getting the best solarium for your needs:
- When will I use it?
- Where will it go?
- How often will I use it?
- What features do I want it to have?
Most solariums just plug in, but you may require help with the installation as some units are very heavy (around 120kg) and, obviously, need to be securely attached for safety. Many have suspension mounting, and you’ll often find that more expensive models are heavier and have more points of attachment. You also need to be aware of minimum ceiling height, as some require more space than others.
For more information on solariums, see www.fmbs.co.uk or call 01494 883433.