Essential Oils For Horses - Swaddle Up For Wellness
Aparajita Tiwari·September 17, 2023
Compared to smaller animals like cats and dogs, horses have a more significant potential to benefit from regular essential oil usage. Essential oils offer a range of benefits to horses as an alternate, natural approach to therapy.
So swaddle up as I deep dive into the topic essential oils for horses.
Stress, respiratory ailments, and skin conditions are some of the significant horse issues that you can address with the help of pure essential oils.
Along with these, essential oils offer other benefits like:
Muscle and Joint pain relief
Read on to know how and which oils would be the best for each job :)
Should You Consider Using Essential Oils For Horses? - Here's What We Know
While there is very limited or no research around essential oils for horses, some alternate studies can throw some light on this topic.
In recent years, we have seen an increase in trend of caregivers using these oils for overall well being of their horses.
Some of the popularly acknowledged benefits include:
Helps Them Chill Out
Just how the natural aroma of oils help us humans get in a better mood, similarly oils like lavender make horses feel more relaxed too.
They relax the horses and can come in handy for trips and competitions.
Might Provide Respiratory Support
If your horse end up feeling stuffy occasionally, let eucalyptus come to your rescue.
Have pesky insects and bugs been troubling your horses? Essential oils will come in handy. Try citronella or even neem to keep those pests away.
What Essential Oils Are Safe For Horses?
There are quite a many therapeutic as well as cost effective oils to choose from. Some of the comparatively safes oils for horses are:
Lavender Essential Oil
Helps in soothing the horse, not only emotionally but also physically.
Lavender essential oil is known to help with muscle pain and spasm, a common occurrence is physically active animals like horses. This makes it a great option for both topical application and aromatherapy.
Hence, Lavender is a fantastic calming essential oil for horses.
Like Lavender, they function great as soothing agents. Oregano and thyme are also popular for their decongestant properties and can help cure colds and improve respiratory health as a whole.
These properties make them a very popular choice for horses, animals reputed for their speeds as they need their breathing to be in top-notch form for the same.
Lemon Essential Oil
Citrus oils in general are known for their mood upliftment, something horses would also benefit greatly from. Lemon essential oil can also boost immunity, improve kidney function by breaking down calcification.
Not to mention citrus scents such as lemon make a great fly repellent. Caution should be exercised as lemon essential oil can be photo-toxic. Avoid exposure to sunlight when applying topically.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The medicinal oil functions as a nasal decongestant and as a muscle pain relief agent. These effects can be achieved owing to eucalyptus oil's anti-inflammatory properties.
Another viable option for both topical and aroma-based application.
Myrrh Essential Oil
Obtained from the sap of Commifora trees, Myrrh essential oil has a variety of health benefits to offer. It can tackle dental problems such as gum diseases and deteriorating tooth health. In a lighter dilution, it can also help treat wounds and promote skin health in general.
How To Dilute Essential Oils For Horses?
Animals generally respond to essential oils the best via aromatherapy. Their olfactory systems are more sensitive than ours too. It is thus best to use a diluted mix when starting out.
You can alter the strength as per your experience or on the basis of the response given to aromatherapy.
Using 1 drop of essential oil to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil is a safe ratio to start with.
This can be upped to 3-5 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil but going beyond this ratio should be done only after thorough consultation and consideration.
Horses, however, stand to benefit from topical application as well. For massaging, you can use a 1% ratio between the essential oil and the carrier oil.
You can use water based gelssuch as ALOE VERA instead of carrier oils for added skin benefits.
Watch this video: Equine Aromatherapy [Essential Oils For Horses] (02 min 22 secs)
Essential Oil Recipes For Horses - Whip Up Wellness
While each essential oil has it’s own share of benefits to offer, it’s not a compulsion to use just one oil at a time.
Now you might be skeptical, wondering if mixing two oils at random is a smart choice or not?
You’re right, it’s not.
The smart way is to research the oils, the properties they have, which oils would mix together and does your horse benefit from the same?
Now that we’ve established mixing oils is safe (and sane) to do, the next question that arises is “WHY?” and it’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask.
There are multiple ways you stand to gain from mixing oils:
Based on purpose, you can mix oils with similar properties to tackle multiple problems of a similar type at once. The effectiveness of a blend could be stronger than a singular oil owing to possible synergetic effects achieved by mixing.
Mixing the oils can give rise to new scents, which could keep things interesting for your horse and you.
By creating blends yourself and not buying them you can not only cut down on costs but also tailor your oil strengths as per your horse’s needs.
With the trial and error process of creating that perfect mix, you get an opportunity to learn more about horses in general, but you also start to understand your horse on deeper level, which can greatly help strengthen the bond between the two of you.
If you’re unaware, unsure, or just lazy to go through the copious amounts of R&D involved, we’ve got you covered!
Read on to see some mixes we’d like to suggest, and why are we even suggesting them.
The “2-2-2-2 Breathe easy” Blend
Oils required: Lemon, Eucalyptus and Peppermint.
Ratio: In 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (jojoba, coconut or olive oil), mix 2 drops of each oil (hence the name).
As the name suggests, this blend aims to improve your horse’s respiratory health. Eucalyptus helps with decongestion while lemon and peppermint offer a reinvigorating scent that boosts your breathing rate.
Oils required: Frankincense, Lavender and Copaiba (optional).
Ratio: In 2 tablespoons of carrier oil, mix 3 drops of Frankincense with 2 drops each of Lavender and Copaiba.
Frankincense and Copaiba have anti-inflammatory properties which can bring relief to sore muscles and joints.
Lavender on the other hand can have a soothing effect which can thus reduce the discomfort from machine muscles and joints.
The “Wound Relief” Blend
Oils required: Tea Tree, Lavender and Helichrysum.
Ratio: In 2 tablespoons of carrier oil, mix 3 drops of lavender, and 2 drops of both Chamomile and Bergamot.
The mix can be beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety in horses, a common occurrence before travelling and competitions. While Lavender and Bergamot can soothe horses, bergamot acts as a mood uplifter, making the mix come together
Insect Repelling Blend
Oils required: Lemongrass, Cedarwood and Peppermint.
Ratio: Mix 10 drops of lemongrass, cedarwood and peppermint in roughly 130mL of water and add a teaspoon of alcohol which would act as an emulsifier.
All three oils have a scent that is characteristically known to repel flies, mosquitoes and other bugs which can irritate horses or even cause diseases by biting. They ensure a pest-free environment for the horses to rest in while adding a wonderful fragrance at the same time.
Precautions To Keep In Mind
Like humans, horses require certain precautions and considerations to be followed when using essential oils:
Medical consultation: Ensure your vet approves your plans of using essential oils for your horses before proceeding with usage.
Allergies and sensitivities: While consulting your vet, make sure you test your horses for allergies, if any. Apart from allergies, like humans, all horses are not the same. Their preferences and sensitivities would differ. The same oil can elicit different responses from different horses. I would thus recommend you start with a lighter oil or oil mix and gauge the responses.
Sensitive Areas: Like humans, avoid contact with areas such as the eyes, nose or ears as they are particularly sensitive. It is best if these parts don’t come into contact with essential oils.
Pregnancy: Essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy as it can pose a risk to the fetus.
Tips & Techniques
Two indicators that can go a long way in maximising the efficiency of your essential oil usage with horses:
Have the Horse smell the essential oil before usage. If they turn their head after sniffing it, they’ve rejected the oil. Consider using a different oil.
If they’ve approved of a scent and you start using the oil for aromatherapy, there are chances the horse gets bored within a few days.
The horse could be very receptive to the oil one day and be indifferent the next.
This is an indicator that the oil has served its purpose and you should be able to see a visible improve in its condition. What this also means is it’s time to use a different oil.
Horses, as a species are more receptive to essential oils. The usage of oils as an alternative therapy method is also advertised widely. They are, however, more sensitive to smells as compared to us so proper dilution should be ensure before usage to obtain best results.
As always, do consult a vet before using them to check for any allergies and medical complications you should be aware of beforehand.
Alternative therapy aside, it can also be a great exercise for you, as an owner to understand your horse better and develop a stronger bond with them.
The suggestions mentioned here are for educational purpose and do not intend to treat or cure any disease. Please use these recipes and suggestions only after consulting with a medical practitioner.