How To Dilute Essential Oils With Horses
Essential oils come in handy with horse care! They are a great way to help keep your horse healthy and happy, and replace toxic chemicals at the barn. We can enjoy essential oils with our horses aromatically by smelling them, topically by applying them, or, if we have an essential oil labeled for ingestion, we can choose to use them as a supplement. 

There are numerous benefits to using essential oils topically, but we want to do that in a safe and effective way. In this article, I'll walk you through diluting essential oils for topical use, so you can get the most out of using your essential oils on your horse, in a safe and effective way.  

Essential oils can offer a variety of benefits for horses when applied topically. They can be used to help with a shiny mane and coat and for skin care. The can be helpful for outdoor annoyances that gather on and bother your horse. They can help to support the digestive system, breathing, and to promote calmness and relaxation. They come in quite handy in replacing hoof products, especially ones that you have to wear gloves to apply, with a healthier alternative. 

Keep in mind that not all essential oils are created equally. You'll want to choose a high quality premium essential oil to use with your horse. I purchase and use essential oils from the world leader in essential oils-Young Living™. With their Seed To Seal guarantee, you know you're getting pure and premium products for you and your horses health! To grab some essential oils click HERE (This is an affiliate link and I earn a small commission from your order at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my small business! I'm so excited to help you get started, that I'll connect with you once you order and send you something special)

When using essential oils with your horse topically, you'll want to dilute the essential oil. 

Why do you dilute essential oils for topical use? 

Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause skin irritation or other problems if used without dilution. Diluting an essential oil minimizes the chance of a reaction. Did you know it can take 27 feet of the lavender plant to make one 15 ml bottle of Lavender essential oil and roughly 75 lemons to make a bottle of Lemon essential oil? These fun facts about Lavender and Lemon essential oil show you just how concentrated essential oils are! 

Since essential oils are so highly concentrated, oftentimes you'll only need a few drops to use them effectively. Covering a large area of the horse topically with only a few drops is made easy by diluting the essential oil. You'll want to use a small amount of essential oil diluted and more frequently, rather than a large amount less often. 

Essential oils contain many volatile components and some evaporate rather quickly, by adding the essential oil to a carrier oil, it slows down the rate of evaporation, and helps to make sure you're getting the benefits of all of the essential oil, and over a longer period of time, as the essential oil is absorbed more slowly. 

Make sure to monitor your horse's reaction to the essential oil after you apply it topically. Discontinue use if they show any signs of distress like chewing on the area, itchiness, raised hair or bumps, and add more carrier oil to the area to further dilute. 

What do you dilute essential oils with? 

There are a few ways to dilute essential oils with horses for topical use. One way is to mix them with water and make a spray. This makes it easy to then spritz the areas of your horse you may want to address. (For a step by step guide to making a spray-click HERE) The only problem is that essential oils and water don't mix.  You'll want to help the essential oil mix better in water by adding an emulsifier. An emulsifier is simply a substance that helps to mix two liquids that don't normally mix together, like essential oil and water. You'll want to use a natural emulsifier. My favorites are either vodka or witch hazel.

Witch hazel is a natural astringent that is produced from the bark and leaves of the Hamamelis virginiana, or witch hazel shrub. The active ingredient in witch hazel, called tannin, helps to shrink swollen tissue and tighten pores. Witch hazel is also a good source of antioxidants, which can help to protect skin from damage caused by free radicals. This makes it a good choice for diluting with the goal of skin support in mind.

Vodka can also act as a natural astringent or toner. It's useful as a preservative and has antibacterial properties. It's also a product you might already have in your kitchen and wouldn't therefore require an extra purchase. It's safe for skin when mixed with water and doesn't add any aroma to your essential oil mix.  

You can also dilute essential oils with a carrier oil. Carrier oils are simply fatty oils that are used to 'carry' essential oils. Essential oils like fat and blend well with fatty oils, making them ideal for topical use. They help to make the essential oils less concentrated and help them spread out better. Carrier oils differ from essential oils in that they are the fatty oils extracted from nuts and seeds. 

My favorite fatty oils to use as carrier oils are fractionated coconut oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil. A research study published on various carrier oils, including these particular carrier oils, concluded benefits of: promoting skin barrier homeostasis, antioxidative, antimicrobial, anti-inflamatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties as well as promoting wound healing, with topical use. 

Fractionated coconut oil is a type of oil that has been processed to remove all of the long chain fatty acids. This leaves only the medium chain fatty acids, which keeps it a liquid versus regular coconut oil which will harden depending on temperature. Its mild, non greasy, absorbs well, and odorless, making it my go to for dilution. Plus, it's non-toxic and non-irritating, making it a safe choice for horses. It's readily available and cost effective. 

Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer, and it can be beneficial when used for skin and hair. Coconut oil will harden in cooler temperatures and is also a thicker carrier oil with a tendency to feel greasy after application. It works well when diluting and making recipes for hoof care. 

Olive oil is a great natural moisturizer for the skin. It is high in antioxidants, which can help to protect the skin from free radical damage. Additionally, olive oil is a good source of vitamins A and E, both of which are beneficial for the skin. It's also an oil in which pretty much everyone already has in their kitchen, so you don't need an additional purchase. It also a thicker carrier oil and can tend to have a greasy feel. It also will impart its own aroma in your mix. 

Sweet almond oil can also be used for diluting essential oils with horses. It's a light, non-greasy oil that absorbs quickly into the skin, making it a good choice. Almond oil is also high in Vitamin E, which can promote skin health.

To dilute an essential oil with any of these carrier oils quickly and 'on the fly' , simply add a squirt or dollop into the palm of your hand, add your essential oils, rub your hands together, and apply where needed. You can also dilute an essential oil ahead of time, or pre make a recipe. Grab my free quick guide 'Getting Started Using Essential Oils With Your Horse'  for my dilution chart and some recipes. Click HERE!

Generally diluting an essential oil 2-10% is adequate for most horses. Keep in mind age, size, sensitivities (like redheads), and which essential oil you are using (for example-Oregano, a 'hot' essential oil), can factor in and require more dilution. If you dilute an essential oil, apply it, and notice a reaction, simply add more carrier oil. 

Making a roller bottle is a great way to dilute essential oils ahead of time and have them always at your finger tips ready to go. For a step by step guide to making a roller bottle-click HERE!

If you show, you'll want to keep in mind that some governing bodies have rules and regulations regarding essential oils and actually list some essential oils on their prohibitive substance lists. You'll want to check with the governing body of your show before using essential oils topically close to a show or during a horse show. Fortunately many of the benefits of essential oils can be had simply by inhaling the essential oil and reserving topical use for afterwards. 

Topical use can be a great way to enjoy all the benefits of essential oils with your horses. When using essential oils topically, diluting them ensures that we are using them safely and effectively. As you can see its simple and easy to dilute essential oils with products that are probably already in your pantry. 

If you're ready to explore all the benefits and ways essential oils can help you and 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!


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