Can You Use Rosemary Essential Oil on Horses?

Can You Use Rosemary Essential Oil on Horses?
In the field of equine wellness, the search for natural remedies has prompted many horse owners to investigate the potential benefits of essential oils. Among these, rosemary essential oil holds a special place in my toolkit for crafting DIY horse care solutions. With its versatile properties and pleasant aroma, rosemary oil offers a range of possibilities for supporting the health and well-being of our equine companions. From muscle-relieving formulations to respiratory aids, its versatility invites exploration. Let's delve into the world of rosemary essential oil and uncover how it can contribute to the holistic care of our horses.

Understanding Rosemary Essential Oil:

Rosemary essential oil, derived from the leaves of the Rosmarinus officinalis plant, has a rich history steeped in tradition and herbal lore. Originating from the Mediterranean region, this resilient herb has long been cherished for its culinary, medicinal, and aromatic qualities. 

Traditionally used for its stimulating and invigorating properties, rosemary has been employed in various folk remedies to promote circulation, alleviate muscle tension, and support respiratory health. 

Its distinctive scent is characterized by a refreshing, herbaceous aroma with hints of pine and citrus, that can promote a sense of freshness and clarity. 

Rosemary is also on the 'Generally Recognized as Safe' (GRAS) list, which is a compilation of substances deemed safe for use in food and food packaging by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is commonly used as a food preservative. 

The Equine Advantage: Benefits of Rosemary Oil

  1. Muscle Support and Tension Relief: For horses engaged in competitive sports or working roles, rosemary oil's wellness properties can offer relief from muscle tension and discomfort.
  2. Respiratory Health: The inhalation of rosemary oil vapor may aid in supporting respiratory congestion and promoting clearer breathing, making it a valuable ally in supporting overall lung function in horses.
  3. Skin and Coat Care: Rosemary oil's properties make it a valuable inclusion in topical solutions for managing skin conditions and supporting the overall health and appearance of a horse's coat. A study on revealed that rosemary effectively inhibited skin inflammation and restored the skin's protective barrier function.
  4. Mane and Tail: Rosemary's potential for promoting hair growth, especially in men, has garnered attention in scientific research. A review of 11 studies on recommends considering rosemary oil as part of male Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) treatment. I personally incorporate rosemary essential oil into my homemade mane and tail detanglers for its beneficial properties.
  5. Mental Stimulation: This study published on confirms the stimulating effects of rosemary oil, highlighting its influence on brain wave activity, autonomic nervous system function, and mood states. As a rider, incorporating rosemary oil into your routine by inhaling its aroma or applying it before a lesson or during a show can support your mental clarity and focus. Take advantage of its revitalizing properties by indulging in deep inhalations during your afternoon slump for an instant pick-me-up.

Harnessing the Power of Rosemary Oil: Practical Applications for Equine Care

Integrating Rosemary into your horse's care routine is simple. Here are several ways to utilize rosemary oil effectively:

1. Massage Rub for Muscle Relief

For a quick and convenient application, blend a few drops of rosemary essential oil with a dollop of carrier oil in your palms, then massage into the desired area. This method is efficient and effective. For more information on diluting essential oils and what to use as a carrier oil, click HERE. However, if you enjoy DIY projects like I do, combining rosemary oil with other essential oils creates a fantastic massage rub with added benefits.

This is one of my favorite DIY massage oil recipes:

  • 1/4 cup of carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil)
  • 10 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 10 drops of copaiba essential oil
  • 10 drops cypress essential oil
  1. In a clean, durable plastic container (I prefer using squeeze condiment containers from Amazon), blend the essential oils with the carrier oil until thoroughly combined. It's important to note that essential oils can deteriorate plastic over time, so opting for high-quality and chemically resistant plastic containers helps with longevity. 
  2. Apply the blend to your hands and gently massage it into your horse's muscles, focusing on areas of tension or soreness.
  3. Avoid areas where tack and equipment will go if you will be riding. 
You can also make a roller bottle and rub directly on your horses chest, or apply to your hand and rub in. Simply add 5 drops of each essential oil listed above into a 10 ml roller bottle (available on Amazon) and fill up with a carrier oil. For a step by step guide to making a roller ball, click HERE.

2. Chest Rub for Respiratory Support

Just like for a massage rub, you can simply add a few drops of rosemary essential oil into your palms, add a dollop of carrier oil, rub your hands together and rub into your horses chest. Or you can use this recipe and let your horse benefit from additional properties of copaiba and eucalyptus. 

DIY Chest Rub

  • 1/4 cup of carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil)
  • 10 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 10 drops of copaiba essential oil
  • 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  1. In a clean glass or high quality chemical resistant plastic container, add the essential oils to the carrier oil and mix well.
  2. Rub a small amount of the mixture onto your hands and gently massage it onto your horse's chest, avoiding sensitive areas like the nostrils and eyes.
  3. Repeat as needed to provide respiratory support, especially during cold weather or when your horse is experiencing congestion. If your horse is prone to coughing during warm up, this makes a great pre ride routine.

3. Wound Spray for Skin Care

  • 1 cup of distilled water
  • 10 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 10 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon  of alcohol free witch hazel (emulsifier and additional skin-soothing properties)
  1. Add the essential oils and witch hazel to a high quality chemical resistant plastic spray bottle. 
  2. Fill the rest of the way up with distilled water (better than tap as the impurities have been removed)
  3. Shake well each time you spray. 
  4. Spray the solution directly onto minor wounds, cuts, or scrapes on your horse's skin to help cleanse and soothe the affected area.

4. Mane and Tail Conditioner for Hair Health

This is probably one of my favorite DIY recipes! It's very easy to make and this essential oil combo gives off a very calming aroma, making this a perfect addition to help your horse relax as well as keep the mane conditioned and tangle free. 

  • 8 oz. spray bottle
  • 2 TBS All Natural Conditioner (I like to use Young Living's Copaiba & Vanilla Conditioner) You can also sub out a carrier oil for this like fractionated coconut oil or olive oil.
  • 6 ounces of distilled water
  • 20 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 20 drops of cedarwood essential oil
  • 20 drops of lavender essential oil
  1. Combine the conditioner and essential oils in the spray bottle. Swirl to mix.
  2. Add the water and shake it really well until the conditioner is fully blended with the water and essential oils.
  3. Spritz the conditioner onto your horse's mane and tail, then gently hand comb or use a large tooth comb to pick through (this helps eliminate breaking hair or pulling it out). 
Begin at the bottom of your horse's tail and gently work your way up or if using on the mane, start at the bottom of each section of hair, working your way up gradually. This method helps to keep hair breakage at a minimum.  

Shake well each time you spray and spray as often as needed if you are getting tangles out. If you are using as a preventative, I usually will comb through my horses mane a couple times a week. You can even use this as a coat conditioner. I live in a hot and very dry climate, so I like to apply it during brushing, as it helps keep the dust down.

Quality Matters: Choosing the Right Essential Oil

It's essential to remember that not all essential oils are created equally, and quality is paramount when it comes to the safety and effectiveness of these natural remedies. As a responsible horse owner, I invite you to prioritize quality by choosing reputable sources for your essential oils. 

Personally, I rely on Young Living™ Essential Oils, a trusted industry leader known for its commitment to quality and transparency. With their Seed to Seal® process, which ensures the purity and potency of every oil, along with their transparency in sharing sourcing and production practices, I have complete confidence that I'm using only the highest quality essential oils with my animals. In fact, I've had the pleasure of personally visiting many of their farms, where I've even had the opportunity to lend a hand in planting and harvesting! You can grab a bottle of rosemary essential oil and explore their range of products through my affiliate link HEREThank you for supporting my small business—it helps me continue to serve you, and it's always at no additional cost to you.

By incorporating these practical and natural solutions into your horse's care routine, you can harness the power of rosemary oil to support their physical health, emotional well-being, and overall vitality.