You may have heard of essential oils and that they can be used to help calm your horse. As an avid equestrian and horse owner, there's certainly a long list of situations I can think of that would benefit from that! Vet visits, farrier visits, clinics, horse shows, trailering, weather-who loves the wind #notme! Even grooming with some horses! If you haven't really heard of essential oils yet and are wondering exactly what they are, go HERE!),otherwise let's go over my top 7 essential oils I use to help calm my horses, and how you use them.
First, you might be asking, do essential oils even work on horses? That's a big yes from me...but don't take my word for it, according to ScienceDaily® "research recently published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science found significant signs of stress reduction in horses that inhaled lavender from a diffuser."
A study on PubMed.gov, using Ylang Ylang essential oil concluded that "These findings are likely to represent a relaxing effect of the ylang ylang oil and provide some evidence for the usage of the ylang ylang oil in aromatherapy such as causing a relief of depression and stress in humans." While this study was done with people, relaxing us is never a bad idea as we are half the equation with our horses and it's logical to assume that a relaxing aroma for us could be relaxing for our horses as well.
There can also be additional health benefits to using essential oils with horses. In addition to calming; insect bites, muscle pain, skin care, and our horses immune systems may benefit from some 'equine aromatherapy'.
If you go to PubMed.gov and put 'health benefits of essential oils' in the search bar, you get 302 results of studies done using essential oils for various health benefits. Many of these studies were done with people and on other animals, but it's a logical conclusion that horses could benefit as well.
So, now that you know essential oils can be a natural boost to equine wellness, you might be wondering how to use essential oils with your horse and are they safe?
Essential oils can be safely used with our horses. With a few key factors, such as quality, and dilution with a carrier oil, we can safely incorporate essential oils into our horses health care regime. To dive more into what you need to know to use essential oils safely and easily with your horse, download my free guide HERE
Not all essential oils are created equally! There is minimal regulation in the industry as they fall under cosmetic guidelines and trade secret laws. I like to use Young Living Essential Oils™. They have a Seed To Seal™ guarantee (check it out HERE) which insures that I'm using a high quality and premium essential oil that's safe for my horses.
Now that we know essential oils work, can be safe, and may be a natural solution with health benefits, let's get into how we can use them to help calm our horses.
Every horse is different and can respond differently to an essential oil. I find its best to have several calming oils to pick from. Then let your horses choose, and use the one that they like too. Remember we are in a partnership with our horse! The great thing is that when we use oils to help calm our horses, they help us remain calm and be a calm and confident leader! Thats half the equation!
Pick two oils from the list below and put one in each hand, then offer to your horse and see which one they smell more intently. Some of my horses actually try and grab the bottle from me, so hang on!
When our horses inhale the aroma, it passes over their olfactory bulbs and heads straight to the emotional center of the brain in about 5 seconds, this is the powerful part that allows us to use essential oils to affect our horses emotions quickly.
Let your horse inhale the aroma for as long as they like. Make sure that you get a nice long inhalation as well....how you are feeling affects how your horse is feeling!
Dont wait, start using essential oils now. If you get your horse used to essential oils now and use them during times that are positive and relaxing, you can anchor those feelings in. Then when you use them in a stressful situation, not only is the aroma calming, balancing, and grounding, but it can bring back all those positive feelings.
Once your horse has picked an essential oil, be a walking diffuser. You can do this by applying to yourself, making a perfume, or wearing diffuser jewelry, check out more info about this HERE
Another easy way to wear oils as a perfume is by making a roller bottle. Click HERE for a step by step guide.
When using essential oils to help calm our horses, having them inhale the aroma and us wearing it as a perfume, may be enough. If inhaling the aroma doesn't seem to be working, we may want an additional boost by using the essential oil topically with our horse. To do that, it's best to dilute the essential oil.
If you're wondering how to dilute essential oils with your horse, you can simply take a dollop or squirt of a carrier oil, like coconut oil, (for more info on carrier oils, click here) in your palm, add a couple of drops of essential oil, rub your hands together, let your horse inhale first..then apply to your horses skin. The chest or poll area work well. Be aware that if you are at a show, some governing bodies prohibit the use of essential oils (like Lavender) topically. In that case, let your horse inhale the aroma as many times as needed and make sure you are wearing the aroma as well.
What essential oils are calming for horses?
This is my go to list of essential oils horses tend to like and can work well for calming:
Valor is a go to blend for me from Young Living™. Containing powerhouse essential oils of Frankincense, Black Spruce, Blue Tansy, Camphor Wood, and Geranium. According to Young Living™ Valor® "was formulated based on historical writings about Roman soldiers who were said to apply plant extracts and botanticals to instill feelings of courage and confidence before going into battle, and a foundational daily blend that features a positive aroma to inspire confidence and courage.
I find this blend helps to overall balance my horses emotions. Remember our horses are half the equation. We are the other half and together, we form a partnership. We can use essential oils to balance and ground us and keep us calm, then use them to help our horses in the same ways too.
This list isn't all inclusive, it's my favorites that I've seen my horses gravitate to a lot. Each and every one of us is different and has a different dynamic with our horse, so don't be afraid to experiment or even just try the essential oil that you have and see what happens! Tree oils like Cypress, Spruce, Fir, Sandalwood, and Myrrh, can also be very calming to a horse.
If you're new to using essential oils with your horse, download my free guide where we go over what you need to know to use essential oils safely and easily with your horse, including safety and dilution, click HERE.
Horse health and dealing with their emotions can be tricky. Lucky for us, there are natural tools available that can help. Using essential oils as part of our equine wellness program can tip the scales in our favor!
If you're ready to dive deeper into using essential oils with your horse, check out my mini course "Oily Horse Intro" where we dive into the what, where, how, and why, of getting started using essential oils with your horse...safely and easily! Check it out HERE!