Raise your hand if you have heard of essential oils? Personally, I have been a long-time user. As an essential oil aficionado, I can often be seen with my diffuser on and a calming scent of lavender or energizing peppermint blowing through the house.
The use of essential oils has taken over the holistic human health space, and many reports have shown that these benefits can transfer over to our equine friends.
As a horse lover, I am always looking for the most natural remedies to treat horses. Just like with humans, chemical compounds and drugs are not always in the best interest of our beloved equines. Essential Oils can provide a wide range of benefits.
Today we will be discussing how to use essential oils for horses, and how they can improve the health of your horse! Saddle up and come along as we learn to harness the power nature offers.
Safety First- Essential Oil Precautions
Safety first is always a top priority when it comes to horses. As equestrians, we spend much of our time, energy, and money on our horses. Before using anything new on our horses we always want to make sure it is safe!
Here are some of our recommendations for the use of essential oil.
- Purchase high-quality 100% therapeutic grade essential oils. The adage, “you get what you pay for” applies to so many areas in life and this is one of them. There are even food-grade organic essential oils that go a step above to ensure safety standards.
- Essential oils are for external use. You do not want to put these oils in the ears or the eyes of your horses. Yes, this may be common sense, but I thought it might be worth a mention.
- Ask a vet before using oils on horses who are pregnant or nursing. As much as we don’t like the vet bill, vets are a great resource when it comes to horse health. If you have any concerns about using these oils, please consult your vet.
- Choose a pure carrier oil if you plan on applying to your horses’ skin. It is important to dilute your oils in order to avoid a reaction. Essential oils are very strong, and using carrier oil allows the benefits without the risk of a skin reaction. Some of the best carrier oils are coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil.
- If your horse has a reaction discontinue use. While most horses and humans have no reaction to these oils, it is important to discontinue use is you notice skin, respiratory, or other irritation.
- Do no have your horse eat oils without consulting a vet. While some essential oils are being prescribed for internal ingestion, this has not been commonly studied in horses. If this is something you are interested in consult your veterinarian first.
While that is quite an exhaustive list of safety precautions, most horses and humans will tolerate essential oils without any problems. Without further fuss, we will discuss some top essential oils for horses.
How To Use Essential Oils For Horses
There are several ways to apply essential oils to your horse. They provide so many benefits that modern health experts are coming up with new ways to use them every day. We will be discussing the top three ways to use these oils to improve health and wellness with your horse.
Sniff, Sniff! Your horse breathes in the calming scent of lavender and instantly feels a sense of relaxation. Aromatherapy is exactly as it sounds. It is designed to be therapeutic and soothing.
Aromatherapy has long been used by people to induce feelings of calmness, relaxation, and even help with colds and coughs. Horses and humans are similar in many ways. Horses can benefit tremendously from this type of therapy.
This type of therapy can be best described as inhalation therapy. By smelling the essential oils, your horse can experience a sense of relaxation. This is very helpful for anxious or nervous horses.
Horses are just like snowflakes…no two or the same. When choosing essential oils for aromatherapy it is important to let them do the smell test.
The smell test can easily be done by letting them sniff the oil, if they turn their head away they are not interested in that oil. If they are interested in that oil, they will want to breathe it in more deeply.
It is always best to listen to your horse when trying out essential oils.
Your horse is hot off the cross-country course and has some sore, overworked muscles. Essential oils to the rescue! Instead of using chemical ladened cooling gels, one of the best things you can do is use some essential oils mixed with a carrier oil.
Some of the best carrier oils include coconut oil, olive oil, or sweet almond oil. These oils will blend with the essential oils, and allow you to massage them on your horse.
According to Plant Therapy, “use one drop of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil for a 1% dilution. For a 0.50% dilution, because you cannot measure half of one drop, increase the amount of carrier oil used. If you are unable to add more carrier oil, round down to get a whole number for you essential oil drops”.
Remember, the more you dilute the oil, the safer it can be for topical application. If you have a particularly sensitive horse it will be important to dilute the oil more.
You pick up your horse’s hoof and immediately notice an unusual order. You have smelt this before…it must be thrush. There are many over the counter treatments for flush, but wouldn’t it be nice to find a natural treatment?
Essential oils can be applied directly to the hoof. They can also be diluted and added to a cotton ball. You can swab the hoof with these oils after a thorough cleaning.
As with all health-related treatments, it is important to consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns.
The Best Essential Oils For Anxious Horses
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)- is one of the most common essential oils, and it is known to be extremely calming. Many studies have shown in its benefits in humans when in stress-inducing situations. This is an excellent oil to use on an anxious horse.
- Bergamont (Citrus bergamia)- is an essential oil that is found in Earl Gray tea. It has strong research behind it, showing that it reduces stress levels. It can lessen depression and alleviate anxiety. This oil can increase the risk of sunburn, so it is the best use it overnight.
- Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)- has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression, and fearfulness. According to Dr. Axe, it can calm the heart and even help with sleep troubles. This would be an excellent oil for aromatherapy.
- Frankincense (Boswellia carteri or boswella sacra)– has been known to provide feelings of relaxation and to provide a sense of calmness. It is one of the oldest used oils and was even mentioned in the Bible.
- Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)– is another oil known for providing calmness. This is another excellent oil for aromatherapy. According to Dr. Axe, this oil has been shown safe but can be troublesome for those with a ragweed allergy.
- Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)– This oil reduces jitteriness, and provides a grounding calmness. This would be an excellent oil for a nervous horse.
- Rose (Rosa damascena)- This oil is very calming and is also very popular used to reduce anxiety.
Jitters are gone! These essential oils are sure to provide some relief for the anxious horse!
The Best Essential Oils For Skin Trouble
Many horses deal with skin ailments. These can be a result of weather, allergies, or other sensitives. If your horse has ever dealt with a bout of rain rot or seasonal sensitivities.
- Tea Tree Oil– is widely known as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory proprieties. This can be an excellent addition to horses who experience rain rot or scratches.
- Lemongrass Oil- is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. Lemongrass oil can be an excellent addition for horses with rain rot or scratches.
- Lavender Oil- has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is very soothing. It makes this oil an excellent choice for skin conditions. This oil can also work on bug bites! What an awesome combination!
- Geranium Oil– can potentially be used for rain rot. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown effective against insects.
Many of these oils serve dual purposes and can be combined to help treat your horse. When applying essential oils to the skin, be sure to use a carrier oil. Essential oils are extremely concentrated and little can go a long way.
The Best Essential Oils For Hooves
Bring on the thrush buster! Several oils can be used to help improve the health of your horse’s hooves. We will list some top oils to keep your horse trotting along.
- Tea Tree Oil– this oil is an excellent treatment for thrush and can even help improve hoof abscesses.
- Oregano Oil– This oil has many benefits and can be used to help treat abscesses as it is a potent anti-inflammatory.
- Thieves Oil– According to young living, thieves oil is a concentrated blend of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils. This powerful brew can be applied directly to the hooves to help with an abscess or thrush.
- Thyme Oil- has some seriously strong antibacterial properties. It is also a strong anti-inflammatory. This can be an excellent treatment for thrush and abscesses.
These oils can pack a very powerful punch when it comes to treating fungal and bacterial conditions. According to the Naturally Healthy Horse, you can apply essential oils directly to the hoof or even add them to soaked cotton balls and place them on the hoof.
The Best Essential Oils For Muscles
We love our horses and we know just how hard they work. After a long ride, your horse may experience sore muscles or spasms. If you are looking for a natural treatment, essential oils might be the solution for you.
We will discuss some most common essential oils for sore muscles, and how they can benefit your horse.
- Eucalyptus Oil– If you take one whiff of Eucalyptus oil and you get a refreshing and invigorating scent. This oil is commercially used in arthritis treatments and is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Mixed with a carrier oil, this can be a perfect combination for easing sore muscles.
- Balsam Fir Oil- this oil is well-known for providing relief to sore muscles. This is a superb choice for a sore horse.
- Lavender Oil- has so many benefits, and can provide great relief and relaxation to those tired muscles. It is also considered very safe and is easy to find.
We hope you find these oils helpful, and that they will provide a great benefit to you and your horse.
At Natural Equestrians we are always looking for the most natural treatments to help our horses. Just like with humans, we believe that horses deserve the very best in care.
We hope you have found this article helpful, and that you will be able to use it to benefit your horses. There is so much to learn about essential oils, and we hope that this has piqued your interest in how they can be used around your farm.
To learn more about who we are, please check out the About Isabelle page.
We would love to hear about your experience with essential oils in the comments below!
To learn more about essential oils, you may want to check out these helpful guides!