Essential Oils and Aromatherapy for Horses
With the new essential oil and aromatherapy trend in the equestrian community, you might have already seen some blogs and forums about it. If you have been questioning this trend and haven’t decided to try it or not, don’t worry, you are not alone! We all have doubts about trying something new on our bellowed horses, but with proper research on the use of these natural methods, we can come up with the right decision.
Scientists have discovered that essential oils have numerous positive effects on human biology, but do these oils help horses? If yes, how to use them? Which essential oils are beneficial for horses? We will answer all these questions in our blog.
Are essential oils beneficial for horses?
The answer to this question depends on the needs of your horse and the oils that you use. Essential oils or herbal extracts cannot replace professional veterinary care. Before natural methods, you should make sure that your horse gets all the necessary medical treatment. There is not any concrete evidence on the benefits and healing powers of these natural practices on equines. Although we still need scientific studies concerning the use of essential oils to prove that they can be beneficial, quite many riders and trainers claimed to have seen some positive effects on their horses. After all, horses eat the source plants of these oils in nature. It is known that wild horses can migrate from one place to another just to find a certain herb. Some trainers and grooms use essential oils to help horses with digestion, respiratory, and muscle problems and relieve anxiety. Essential oils, such as eucalyptus and oregano, can also be used in homemade fly spray and hoof spray. The key point is to know about essential oils and the methods to use them. Then, you can try them safely on your horse and see if they help.
How to use essential oils around horses?
Even though essential oils are not here to replace professional medical care, they can be useful supplements in your grooming routine. Always remember to do your research and ask your veterinarian and professional grooms before you start. Know the reason why you will be using the essential oil. Is it for digestion problems, muscle pain, to help your horse’s anxiety, or maybe to help with his respiratory issues? Learn which particular herb and oil help solve which problem.
Essential oils can be used in 2 ways around horses:
- Topically: When applied topically on the skin, essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin. You can apply essential oils topically on your horse to relieve his muscle pain and rid of spasms. Before applying any oil directly to your horse’s skin, always make sure to check his allergic situation. Also, remember that several oils should be diluted with a carrier oil to reduce the risks and accelerate the absorption.
- Aromatically: Using essential oils through inhalation is probably the most common way. Inhaling the essence can help with emotional problems and relieve stress or anxiety. You can get a diffuser and start using it around your horse’s stall, just like how you use it at home.
With the correct methods, essential oils are safe to be used around horses. However, they can cause more harm than good in the wrong hands. Please, read the following warnings carefully:
- Consult your veterinarian about using essential oils. If they don’t recommend it, please heed their words.
- Make sure to choose high-quality and eco-friendly brands. Don’t purchase oils from unlicensed stores.
- Keep in mind that essential oils are highly concentrated. They can be up to 70% stronger than the plant itself. Do not add a few more drops just to “make sure”. Your horse’s senses are more delicate than those of humans, and horse skin is proven to be more sensitive. Small amounts will be enough to do the work while being danger-free.
- Always introduce the oil to the horse before using it. You can bring the oil near your horse’s nose and see how he reacts to the smell. If his ears are pricked forward and he tries to smell more with a calm face, you can use the oil. If he is turning his face and trying to avoid it, don’t force him.
- Use the oils in a well-ventilated area to avoid stressing the horse with an excessive smell.
- Remember that strong essential oils have to be diluted with carrier oils before being used on the skin.
- Do not feed the oil to the horse without a professional’s recommendation.
- Do not use essential oils before a show. Some oils (lavender, for example) are banned from shows and can be considered as drugs.
The Best Essential Oils For Horses
Basil: Basil oil can be used both topically and aromatically. On muscles, it helps relax muscles and relieves spasms. As aromatherapy, it can wake the horse’s and the rider’s senses and help them focus on the training.
Bergamot: With its soothing smell, bergamot is helpful for the anxious horse and rider. It is also good for skin irritations and acute allergic reactions.
Chamomile: Chamomile is one of the most preferred essential oils. It doesn’t only relieve the stress and calm the horse, but it also helps with cramps when applied with a massage.
Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus scent is known the protect you from germs that float in the air. It can be diffused in the barn to protect both the horses and the riders with its calming smell. It can also be used as a muscle relaxant.
Frankincense: This oil can be used to rub on your horse’s chest to enhance his respiratory. It is also helpful for nervous and spooky horses to calm their nerves. Bear in mind that this oil can be harmful when used internally.
Geranium: Geranium is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial essential oil. It can be used to get rid of insects as well as easing the tension when used in aromatherapy.
Lavender: Lavender is another refreshing oil that can be diffused or applied topically on your horse’s skin. It can help to recover from inflammation. It is also great for relieving stress.
Tea Tree: Regarded as a natural antibiotic, tea tree oil can be used to fight against inflammation and itch on the skin.
While being beneficial for treating some ailments, herbs and essential oils are not the solutions for every problem. If your horse is experiencing a serious problem, always get help from a veterinarian before trying anything on your own. Essential oils can only be used as a care routine to help your horse reach his best.
We hope this blog was insightful for you!
Have a great ride