Essential oils are steadily gaining popularity as more and more people learn about their usefulness. While they are by no means a replacement for veterinary care, they can be helpful as a supplement to help your horse stay healthy and happy. Once you know the basics of which essential oils are safe for horses and what benefits they offer, using essential oils for horses is something you can make part of a regular routine. Before you jump in feet first, it's important to do your research to make sure you're using essential oils safely and to your horse's best benefit.
Ellen Roberto has a B.S in Animal Science and is a certified Reiki Master as well as a DoTerra Wellness Consultant. She began using oils on herself and had such great results, she began looking into using them on her Equine Reiki patients. We asked her to give us some general information on how to use essential oils for horses.
Which oils are good to use on horses? (and what are they used for, i.e. lavender for calming)
Roberto: My go-to oils for horses are: Lavender, Vetiver, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Balance, Eucalyptus
How do you know if your horse likes the oils or not?
Roberto: Bring the oil up to your horse’s nose. You’ll definitely receive a reaction - either positive or negative.
- Interest - Ears pricked forward, leaning toward bottle, Flehmen response, licking and chewing, yawning or stretching, head down - eyes partially or fully closed, deep breathing.
- Lack of Interest - Turns away.
What are some of the ways a horse owner can use these oils? (Whatever you want to share, recipes, etc.)
Roberto: Essential Oils when combined with other ingredients can be used for relaxation, fly sprays and for a variety of ailments/issues. They can also be used as an Aromatouch Technique for Horses (and people).
Roberto has an amazing hoof spray she recommends for after each trim.
She mentioned Frankincense for wound relief and to prevent scarring. She makes an Aloe gel with 10 drops Melaleuca, 10 drops Lavender, and 5 drops Yarrow, Chamomile or Helichrysum.
Have insect problems? Terra Shield is a non-toxic spray you can use on yourself and your horse. In addition, Lavender or lemongrass helps with mosquitoes, Thyme or Geranium for ticks and Patchouli for midges. All these can be added to the Terra Shield.
Are there any essential oils you should NOT use on a Horse?
Roberto: To date the only oil that I've read causes issues is Wintergreen. And some of the citrus oils can cause some sun sensitivity, but I've not personally experienced that with the horses, I suspect because of their hair. I also don't apply the oils directly, I always dilute in my hands first. I have never had the horse ingest them either.
Here are Roberto’s Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to essential oils for horses:
- DO - offer the oil to the horse without restraining or enclosing him
- DO - dilute oils if being used topically or internally
- DO - be patient and allow your horse to process each oil
- DO - limit the number of oils you offer the horse - less is more
- DON’T - put oils on the halter
- DON’T - put oils in a water bucket (if sole source)
- DON’T - put oils directly in eyes, nose, or ears
- DON’T - force oils on horses
- DON’T - use oils right before a competition (24 hour rule)
If you would like to know more about using oils on your horse, feel free to contact Ellen Roberto on her Facebook page.
Horse Courses by Elaine Heney
- Listening to the Horse - The Documentary by Elaine Heney & Grey Pony Films
- Shoulder In & Out Training for better balance, bend & topline development with your horse
- Over 110+ Polework Exercises & Challenges to Download
- Dancing at Liberty & Creating Connection with Your Horse (11 lessons) - Grey Pony Films