Essential Oils for Horses

Aromatherapy
Rene Maurice Gattefosse' in the early 1900's fathered aromatherapy, as we know it today. He was interested in using essential oils, the aromatic or volatile part of a plant, as medicine to treat people. Before he began using these oils with people, he tested them on dogs and horses. When he was pleased with the results, he began working with people and through his studies and those of others that would follow modern aromatherapy was founded.

The term aromatherapy can be very misleading. There are products in our stores that are called aromatherapy products. Mango shampoo, strawberry candles, honeysuckle bubble bath, and others profess to be aromatherapy products just because they have a scent. An aromatherapist would not use these products as they are made with fragrances. Fragrances are synthetic materials made in laboratories. Essential oils used in aromatherapy are not synthetic but come from real plants. Usually they are steam distilled.

Essential Oils
How do you tell if an oil is real or synthetic? If it comes in a clear bottle, inexpensive, powerful scent, and has a fruit name like apple, banana, cherry, coconut, grape, watermelon or some floral name like lilly of the valley, hyacinth, sweet pea, or wisteria, these are give a ways that the oil is not real but cooked in the lab. True essential oils are always in a dark bottle with varying degrees of prices. A bottle (10ml) of real steam distilled rose oil is over $100. Then some oils can be inexpensive like peppermint essential oil at $5. Essential oils have a variety of scents. They can be very pleasant to smell as well as medicinal and there are some that do not smell good at all. Usually essential oils are sold with common and scientific names so you can identify the plant source. Then there is the country of origin. Fragrances come from labs not countries. Then there should be information on how they are processed. Usually this will be steam distillation.

Not all animals can be treated the same. What applies for a horse may not apply to a dog. One must be careful using essential oils with cats. Essential oils can be toxic to cats. They process differently than dogs and sometimes they just cannot metabolize the essential oils and they act like toxins building up in their body. Sometimes this can cause death. So we do need to be careful when using these oils.

Essential oils are very concentrated. It takes pounds of plant material to make a few drops of oil. An animal may have no problem with the plant but have a bad reaction to the oil. Many will tell you that it is natural and could not possibly harm you. You know better. Essential oils can harm you if used incorrectly.

Equine Aromatherapy
In England, equine aromatherapy is practiced by licensed essential oil practitioners using kinesiology to prescribe essential oils. Kinesiology is a way of testing the body to find out what the body needs. It is often used by chiropractors here in the United States. For horses, another person stands next to the horse and it is this person that is tested not the horse. Essential oils are not regulated and essential oil practitioners are not licensed in the United States. Essential oils are not considered pharmaceuticals here in the US while they are in Europe. Essential oils are considered to be like herbs, natural plant substances.

Commonly horses are treated for lameness, wounds and abscesses, cardiovascular problems, pulmonary problems (coughs, emphysema, etc.), intestinal parasites, and emotional uneasiness. In all these instances, essential oils will improve resistance to disease by increasing the animal's vitality and allowing the elimination of accumulated toxins.

Essential oils can be used with horses in the same manner as people use them. They can be taken internally, in massage, and diffused in the air. There is some controversy over the use of essential oils internally. Many essential oils can be safely taken internally. If they are issues of liver disease in a human or a horse, the use of essential oils should be kept at a minimal or eliminated. Before administrating oils internally, it is best to make sure that the oil is safe.

Essential oils can be used in massage. There are several massage therapists in the area that work with horses and essential oils. They can help the horse to feel better and eliminate stiffness, soreness, and stress from their bodies. One does not need to be a trained massage therapist to give a horse a massage.

Essential oils can be used in diffusers to bathe the horse's environment in essential oil vapors.
There are many essential oil diffusers on the market. They often need electricity or fire to work. Misters can also be used and they only require a glass bottle and an atomizer. Essential oils are diluted in alcohol and water and then misted in the area or on the horse.

Commonly used oils with horses:

Basil, Sweet Eucalyptus Geranium Tea Tree
Chamomile, Roman Eucalyptus, Lemon Juniper  
Cypress Frankincense Lavender


Fixed Oils

Avocado
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Hazelnut

Using the Oils
Not all oils are the same and not all horses are the same. Picking oils or blends for your horse is up to you and to them. To see how well the horse will handle an oil, take a few drops in your palms. Rub them together and offer the oil to the horse. Let the horse decide if they will accept the oil or not. Never force an oil on your horse just because you are told that this is what your horse needs. Your horse needs to accept the oil. If the horse does not, you must go to another oil.

Some oils are best used in massage while others are best diffused and some can be taken internally. When and how to use an oil will come with experience, so start slowly. Your confidence will rise when you see how well the horse responses.

Sweet Basil is good for pulmonary, muscular, and emotional issues
Roman Chamomile is good for emotional, muscular, and wound issues
Cypress is good for cardiovascular, muscular, and insect repellant issues
Eucalyptus Essential Oil is good for pulmonary, wounds, and muscular issues
Lemon Eucalyptus is good for insect repellant, muscular, emotional issues
Frankincense Essential Oil is good for pulmonary, emotional, and wound issues
Geranium Essential Oil is good for emotional, wounds, and insect repellant issues
Juniper is good for muscular, insect repellant, and wounds issues
Lavender Essential Oil is good for muscular, wounds, emotional, and cardiovascular issues
Tea Tree Essential Oil is good for pulmonary, insect repellant, itching, and wound issues

Blending Oils
You can always use oils singularly. Most find that combining oils give added benefits and results. It is easy to combine oils. Sometimes you will use fixed oils to dilute or carry the oils so they will go farther. Other times you can mix with water and alcohol to make misters.

All recipes have been calculated for a horse's size not humans or other animals.

Inflammation and Skin Irritation
50 drops lavender
50 drops chamomile
50 drops geranium

Blend into 2oz of Hazelnut, Pecan, or Fractionated Coconut Oil. Shake, cap, and label.
Pour blend onto palm of hand and apply to irritation

Poor Circulation and Congestion
100 drops cypress
75 drops lavender

Blend into 2oz of Hazelnut, Pecan, or Fractionated Coconut Oil. Shake, cap, and label. Pour blend onto palm and rub in. Can used after exercise. For best results use after dousing limbs into cold water. Can be use to prevent congestion from regular exercise or work.

Joint Pain, Stiffness, and Lameness
100 drops juniper
50 drops lavender
50 drops chamomile

Blend with 2oz of Hazelnut, Pecan, or Fractionated Coconut Oil. Shake, cap, and label.
Use before retiring the horse if there is a problem. This blend applied in the morning can ease the pain and the horse will exercise and play which could cause damage. When there is no damage like rheumatism or lameness, it can be used before and after exercising.

Aches and Muscular Pain
100 drops sweet basil
50 drops chamomile

Blend with 2oz of Hazelnut, Pecan, or Fractionated Coconut Oil. Shake, cap, and label. This is a good blend to use as a warm-up. Good prevention of aches and inflammation.
Can be used before or after exercise.

Coughs and Respiratory Issues
Worming is recommended at the beginning of treatment as some coughs are the result of parasitic infestation.
Recommended for diffusing. It can be rub into the chest. Diffusing oils are not blended with fixed oils. If rubbed onto chest, they are blended with fixed oils.
Diffusing can be achieved with a mister but for long lasting results an electrical diffuser or vaporizer is needed.


1/3 oz blend
100 drops eucalyptus
100 drops tea tree
50 drops frankincense

Add drops to 1/3oz brown bottle. Place the insert and cap into place. Shake. Label
This blend can be taken internally. 10 drops a day until condition clears. Can be added to food until the horse is use to the oils
Use this blend for the diffuser
Add this to a mister with water and alcohol
Add 50 drops to 1oz of Fractionated Coconut Oil and Massage into Chest

Stress and Anxiety
Nervousness in horses can come from many sources. This blend can help many of them.

1/3oz blend
100 drops lavender
100 drops basil
50 drops chamomile

Add drops to 1/3oz brown bottle. Place the insert and cap into place. Shake. Label
This blend can be taken internally. 10 drops a day until condition clears. Can be added to food until the horse is use to the oils
Use this blend for the diffuser
Add this to a mister with water and alcohol
Add 50 drops to 1oz of Fractionated Coconut Oil and Massage into Chest

Mosquito and Fly Repellant
1/3oz blend
100 drops lemon eucalytpus
100 drops tea tree
50 drops geranium

Add drops to 1/3oz brown bottle. Place the insert and cap into place. Shake. Label
Use this blend for the diffuser
Add this to a mister with water and alcohol. Mist the horse.

DO NOT USE ESSENTIAL OIL THERAPY TO REPLACE PROFESSIONAL VETERINARY SERVICES.