With the hustle and bustle of modern life, there are few things that get us outdoors or communing with our environment like having a horse. The longer I’m a horse owner, the more I understand how important this connection is for our health and well-being. As a result, I’ve been on a journey to live in a more natural way. This journey is what led me to the power of essential oils and their application in all areas of my life, including my horse’s care.
What exactly are essential oils?
There’s a lot of misinformation about essential oils and their uses. As a result of this bad information, they’ve built a bit of a reputation as “snake oil”. However, the truth is, the effectiveness of essential oils depends entirely on the quality of the oil, the type of plant, and the application. Essential oils are simply a distillation of a plant down to its purest, most concentrated essence.
For example, some plants like thyme and eucalyptus have natural antiseptic properties as a result of the plant’s evolution. These properties are used by the plant themselves as a natural response to their environment. By distilling these plants down to their purest form, you help concentrate these antiseptic properties. So a high-quality thyme essential oil made without additives can be used in cleaning to help kill bacteria safely and effectively. However, a poor quality oil used in another application may not have the same results.
Why essential oils are better than unnatural ingredients
Many products, especially those used in horse care, use unnatural or man-made ingredients. These range from artificial fragrances and dyes to petrochemicals. Most of the time, these synthetic chemicals are designed to mimic natural ingredients, but cost less to manufacturer. You’ll find lavender-scented horse wash that does not contain any lavender. Lavender fragrance may smell like the flower, but it doesn’t contain any of the essential properties of the plant that provide numerous health and wellness benefits. Furthermore, unlike real lavender, lavender fragrance can be made with chemical ingredients that can irritate your horse’s skin or cause an allergic response.
How to introduce your horse to essential oils
As essential oils are a concentrated form of a plant, they are very powerful. Horses are also very sensitive. So it is important that before you use essential oils in your horse care, you introduce them slowly. Horses and essential oils get along really well, you just have to take your time to find the right ones. I recommend taking the following steps when introducing your horse to an essential oil:
- Place 1-2 drops of the essential oil into the palm of your hand. I like to rub it in just a little bit to active the smell.
- Slowly offer your hand to your horse to smell. Horses have an excellent sense of smell, so never just put your hand under their nose. Let them come to you.
- Let your horse take their time to smell your hand and watch for their response. If they like the oil, you can proceed. If they reject the oil, then put it aside for another day.
If your horse gives you the okay, you can proceed with the application of the essential oil.
Horses and essential oil uses
There are a couple of ways to use essential oils in your horse’s care:
- Topical application is a great way to ensure that the healing properties of the essential oils are absorbed into your horse’s skin and into their bloodstream. However, essential oils are very strong and need to be diluted for topical application with a carrier oil. There are several carrier oils that will work such as coconut oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil. Topical application is best for treating wounds, cleaning, and helping with muscle pain.
- Inhalant application of essentials is an aromatherapy method. Basically, your horse will inhale the scent of oil to obtain the properties. I recommend placing a few drops in your palm or using a diffuser in the stable. The inhalant method is best for helping support calmness, confidence, and emotional well-being.
- Products made with essential oils are the easiest way to use them with your horse. They are already formulated to be safe and effective. Equi-Spa offers a variety of products from grooming and hoof care to insect repellent and wound treatments available that harness the power of essential oils.
Just make sure that no matter how you use essential oils, you always use 100% pure essential oils for a reputable source. Otherwise, your essential oils will lose powerful properties.
Ways to use essential oils for your horse’s care
There are so many ways to use essential oils in your horse’s care and grooming. If you are new to essential oils, I’ve formulated two blends to get you started. The first is Show-Thyme Calming Oil which is formulated with essential oils that are known for their anti-anxiety properties like lavender, geranium, clary sage, patchouli, and ylang-ylang. Used as an inhalant, Show-Thyme can help provide a sense of calm. I’ve also found that it works great in a topical application.
The other blend is CMW (Cool Muscle Wash) Massage Oil which is perfect for topical application to help reduce swelling, inflammation, and muscle soreness. With both of these oils, remember to use a carrier oil before applying topically.
Choosing a product with essential oils
At Equi-Spa, we work with only the highest-quality essential oil suppliers. I spent a lot of time vetting suppliers and testing their products to make sure that their ingredients were not only pure, but truly effective before using them in our line. I also ensured that the formulation of each product contained the right amount of each oil to be effective, without overpowering your horse’s senses. Before buying any essential oil product take the time to do a little research to make sure they are truly a good product.
If you’d like to learn more about how to use essential oils in your horse care, follow our Equi-Spa blog or post a comment below. We talk about a variety of different kinds of essential oils and how to use them in horse care. You can also send us an email and we’ll happily answer any questions.