Posted on July 22, 2019 by Chad Pegura | 51 comments
A horse’s sense of smell is much more advanced than that of a human and is strongly linked to their behavior. Essential oils are highly concentrated and haven proven to be significantly effective for helping horses. Their antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties can help a number of ailments. Lavender in particular can help alleviate high levels of stress or anxiety in your horse.
Aromatherapy for horses can also be used for digestive problems, skin irritation or infection, muscle pain, sleeping problems, restlessness, and even mood swings.
Essential oils are natural compounds that come from the bark, seeds, stems, roots, and flowers of plants. Every oil has its own distinctive smell, properties, and are often used in hygiene products or medicine. They can be used one of two ways:
• Topically. Essential oils are easily absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream to provide quick results. They are often used in massage therapy and can help heal wounds.
• Aromatically. Inhaling essential oils is another common way to use. This can help improve our emotional health and well-being as well as our physical health.
When using essential oils, you should make sure to purchase high quality therapeutic grade oils. Steer clear of lower quality oils because they aren't as safe or effective as the higher quality oils.
When used topically, it is recommended to dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil. Some common side effects include; redness, irritation, itching, sneezing, watery eyes and even burning of the skin if not diluted properly first.
Essential oils are effective at treating many common conditions experienced by horses. When using essential oils around all animals be sure to proceed with caution.
Always make sure your animals are comfortable with the oils you are using by first introducing them in small amounts. If you try a new oil with your horse and they turn their head away when you let them sniff the oils, then your horse is telling you they don't approve. This means that you should stop using that particular oil.
Always be sure to use in a ventilated area so the scent does not become over powering for your animals. It’s important to ask your veterinarian about which essential oils to use.
It is also important to always discuss essential oil use with your veterinarian prior to using any of them, especially if your horse has a serious condition that may need more care.
The most popular tool release essential oils into your horses environment is with a nebulizing diffuser. A nebulizer emits the pure oils quickly and effectively over a large area using a cool mist technology.
Stress, Nervousness and Anxiety – One of the most common uses for essential oils and horses is to calm down a nervous horse. If your horse is too wound up and excited try introducing a nebulizing diffuser with lavender essential oil. It’s best to use this technique before your horse gets too carried away. Prevention is better than the cure.
Muscle Pain and Spasms - If your horse is experiencing any kind of muscle spasms or pain, then basil, lavender, or marjoram essential oils can be used in a topical solution. Make sure to dilute your essential oils in a 20:1 ratio with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or virgin coconut oil.
Respiratory Issues – Essential oils can be rubbed onto the chest so the horse can inhale the oil and take advantage of its health benefits. Make sure to always dilute your essential oils when applying topically and directly to the skin.
Overused Muscles - Eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory properties and is useful for treating or relieving the pain associated with sore overused muscles.
Thrush - Tea tree and thyme are essential oils both have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. When diluted with a carrier oil they can be applied directly to the affected area.
Experts have decided the three essential oils that are best for horses are oregano, lavender and thyme. They are often used as an expectorant and can help relieve congestion. Oregano, however, should never be used for a pregnant or lactating mare.
Thyme essential oil is an anti-rheumatic and can be used to prevent or relieve rheumatic conditions. It is also a good antiseptic that can help prevent the growth of bacteria.
Frankincense - Is useful for calming horses. It should never be given to your horse internally.
Geranium - Helps boost the morale of your horse and can elevate its mood.
Tea Tree - is a natural antibiotic and can be used as an anti-inflammatory as well as a pain reliever for your horse.
Lemongrass - Is an antibacterial essential oil that also proves to be uplifting and calming.
Juniper - If your horse is experiencing water retention or pain from arthritis, then this oil can help because it is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and diuretic.
While essential oils can prove to be beneficial for your horse, you should still test each one before use and consult with your veterinarian on the course of treatment that is best for your horse and the particular conditions they are experiencing.