The effects of an extended photoperiod (EP) treatment (14.5 hr light, 9.5 hr dark) on Thoroughbred colts and fillies from December 25 at 7-9 months old to the following May at 12-14 months old on coat condition and gonadal functions were investigated. Coat condition was evaluated in April. The colts and fillies in the EP treatment group changed from winter to summer coats (molting of winter coats), whereas those in the control group did not. To determine the day of first ovulation, the plasma concentrations of progesterone were measured once a month in fillies. The day of first ovulation was advanced in the EP treatment fillies compared with the control fillies. The present study clearly demonstrated that the EP treatment advanced the molting of winter coats and advanced ovulation in fillies, even in weanlings.
Keywords: Thoroughbred weanling; extended photoperiod treatment; gonadal function; molting of winter coat; progesterone.