Hey fellow equestrians! If you're anything like me, you're into natural horsemanship and always looking for 'tools' to add to your toolbox and apply in your horse care routine. Have you ever tried using essential oils? They're one of my favorite ways to add some natural wellness to your horse care.
With so many options out there, it can be tough to know which essential oils are the best fit for your horses. It's actually one of the questions I get asked the most 'Which essential oils are good for horses?' It's a tough question to answer, because there are hundreds of essential oils and blends you can purchase(I've literally used probably at least half of them with my horses), and it depends on what you want to use them for. But, I do find myself reaching for the same oils over and over again, and since one of my goals is to help other horse lovers use essential oils without overwhelm, I've created a list of my top 10. Plus, two of my favorite blends. Do you need them all? Nope, pick a few and try them out! Every horse is different, so experiment and see which ones you and your horse like best.
Lavender is the perfect choice for horse owners who want just one essential oil to get started with! Popularly known as “the Swiss army knife” of aromatic oils, lavender has a peaceful floral scent that can help reduce tension and promote relaxation during stressful situations like trailering or vet visits. Even more impressive? A study published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science found tangible signs of reduced stress levels when horses inhale this calming aroma. This study on PubMed.gov "evaluating the aromatherapy recommendation for pain in the Holistic Nurses' Pain Relief Tools for Patients and Self Care" reports "a safe, cost effective intervention for pain to improve quality outcomes".
Not only does it make your barn feel peace-filled (perfect for grooming sessions!), but lavender also offers many health benefits from healthy skin & coat maintenance to muscle and tendon support - making it truly an all-purpose powerhouse among aromatics! And if you're looking for my favorite detangler recipe using this powerful oil, click HERE.
Next on the list is frankincense , a woodsy oil that has an earthy, rich, and deep aroma. I love that the aroma of frankincense is both soothing and balancing, creating a calming and grounding effect during grooming sessions, and promoting relaxation during training. To dive more in depth about specifically using frankincense with your horse, click HERE. Frankincense also has properties that can help to support overall wellness and the immune system, and it also can be very beneficial for supporting skin during the healing process.
If you're looking to keep your horse calm and relaxed, cedarwood essential oil is a great choice! Not only does it have an incredible earthy scent (think fresh rain in the forest), but studies can be found on PubMed.org for its use as an insect repellent and for hair growth. Try adding this grounding oil into hoof care DIYs or natural fly sprays for extra soothing effects - plus, who doesn't love sniffing something divine? You can find some of my favorite recipes HERE!
Vetiver oil has a deep and grounding scent that can be very balancing, promote relaxation and reduce tension in horses. It's also helpful for outdoor annoyances and skin support. When your horse inhales the aroma or you apply vetiver, the grounding and soothing properties help to reduce tension, making it perfect for horses who may be nervous, anxious, or easily agitated. It's become an essential tool in my toolbox for helping to keep my horses mellow, content, and mentally balanced. This helps with cooperation and understanding for a harmonious bond.
If you've got a horse, you've also probably turned your hands green at some point as well, applying different hoof products. That's where tea tree essential oil comes in! Not only does this potent oil have properties that can be beneficial with 'gunk' that may be affecting your horse, it also has a refreshing aroma that's earthy and slightly medicinal. Tea tree is known for its cleansing properties on skin, hair, and nails; so adding it is a worthy addition if you're looking for an essential oil for skin and hoof DIY's. When you apply it to the skin or hooves of your equine, it can help prevent unhealthy skin and gunky build up. You can apply it directly to the affected hoof or dilute it with a carrier oil for skin application. Plus, it's a natural way to combat some of the stinky smells that can come with horses.
Who knew something as simple and delightful as lemon essential oil could be so powerful? It's quickly become a staple in my barn because of its refreshing, invigorating scent that uplifts my mood. Not only does it make the place smell great, but there are also numerous uses for both me and my horses to benefit from - cleaning brushes or buckets is just the beginning! I've even noticed an increase in focus during training with my pony when I offer him some good ol' sniffing time before we start working. As citrus oils can heighten sensitivity to sunlight though, best practice would be sticking to aromatherapy sessions rather than topical applications unless you keep them out of direct daylight.
There's nothing quite like the fresh, invigorating scent of peppermint essential oil. As a horse owner, I've discovered a wide range of uses and benefits for this wonderful oil (dive into peppermint oil HERE). Not only does it have a cooling and refreshing effect, but it can also help soothe muscle tension and support clear breathing. Plus, it's handy for those outdoor annoyances, which is a huge bonus during those pesky summer months. I love using it as a natural alternative to harsh chemicals when it comes to my fly management. I also love to cool my horses off after exercise and support their hard work and minimize any chance of muscle spasm, muscle pain, or inflammation, so I like to use an after exercise rinse as a preventative. Peppermint's a great addition and you can find my recipe HERE. You can even make your own all natural horse treats with peppermint oil, grab the recipe HERE.
Incorporating eucalyptus essential oil into my horse care routine has been a breath of fresh air - literally! The invigorating scent of eucalyptus not only smells refreshing, but it also helps to support my horses' respiratory health. Its natural properties have been beneficial in promoting clear breathing, especially during seasonal changes or when dealing with respiratory challenges. It's a must-have in my barn for supporting my horses' respiratory wellness and keeping them feeling their best.
Copaiba essential oil has also become a staple in my equine wellness routine. This powerful essential oil is derived from the resin of trees native to South America and boasts an impressive array of health benefits. Copaiba essential oil contains a high amount of beta-caryophyllene, which has been examined for anti-inflammatory activity with positive results. Copaiba oil has been a game-changer when it comes to supporting my horse's joint, tendon, and ligament health. Not only is its aroma earthy and grounding, which can add a level of calm to my feisty pony, but Copaiba oil can also be applied topically making it one of my go-tos for massage oils, DIY liniments, and joint potions.
Last but not least is Cypress essential oil, a fresh and woody oil that I like to use to support my horses connective tissue, tendons, and ligament health. If I'm making a DIY liniment to promote healthy legs, muscle function, and aid in recovery after strenuous exercise, I'm adding cypress! I also like to add cypress essential oil to a carrier oil and use it as a massage oil to help prevent muscle tension and promote healthy blood flow. Whether used alone or in conjunction with other essential oils (I like to add wintergreen essential oil, sweet marjoram, lemongrass, and helichrysum essential oils), cypress oil has become a go-to for supporting my horse's overall mobility and comfort levels.
When it comes to the health and safety of my horses, I trust Young Living™ Essential Oils. With their Seed To Seal guarantee, they provide products that are realigned with nature’s highest standards. That's why DiGize™ and Valor ™ essential oil blends from them made my list! They use 100% pure and premium essential oils and offer a wide range of essential oil products - perfect for ensuring peace of mind and toxin free choices.
Valor™ is a blend of Black Spruce, Blue Tansy, Camphor Wood, Geranium, and Frankincense oils that promote feelings of courage, grounding, and strength in horses. I always have this essential ol blend in my pocket when I'm at a horse show, it helps to calm my nerves and keep me emotionally balanced so I can manage my horse in the way that he needs. Remember, there's always 2 in the partnership and what affects you will affect your horse too. Using this blend is also simple and convenient as it's pre-diluted. You can simply add a few drops to your hands, inhale deeply, and also let your horse smell as long as they want. Then rub the residue on the back of your neck, you'll become a walking diffuser for the rest of the day! To read more about becoming a walking diffuser for your horse, click HERE.
DiGize™ essential oil blend contains the essential oils of Tarragon, Ginger, Peppermint, Juniper, Fennel, Lemongrass, Anise, and Patchouli. According to Young Living™ DiGize™ "contains antioxidants and may support the digestive system when taken internally.* I like to add a few drops to a carrier oil and rub on my horses abdomen a couple of times a day to support digestion.
Overall, both DiGize™ and Valor™ are excellent essential oil blends that every horse owner should consider adding to their collection. Not only do they provide numerous benefits, but they can also help you up-level your horses wellness routine.
Did ya notice that many of the essential oils can be used for the same purposes?! So don't let choices stop you in your tracks, grab any one of the essential oils or blends listed above and start enjoying the benefits of essential oils in your barn today!
If you're ready for the next step and want to dive head first into more essential oil knowledge and how to use them with your horse, I invite you to my mini course 'Oily Horse Intro" where you'll learn 'The What, Why, Where, When, and How' of getting started using essential oils with your horse- CLICK HERE!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Young Living products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.