Growing up reading the Heartland books, I was fascinated by alternative therapies for horses, especially the use of essential oils. Now I have been sent a set of horse specific essential oils, I wanted to share with you a bit more information about what they are before writing my review.
Many people swear by essential oils to help with a variety of problems. However, in a world of modern medicine, these alternative treatments are often viewed as “Hippy Healing”. But with many modern treatments have side effects and often a hefty price tag, I think all horse owners would benefit from having a greater understanding of what essential oils could do for their horse.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are basically plant oils. They are all natural and come from different parts of the plant such as; the flower, stem, seeds, root etc. The extracted oil gives the plant it’s individual smell.
Modern medicine has developed over time thanks to our advancement in technology and knowledge. Thanks to us using plants to help in the healing process for thousands of years, many of our modern medicines originate from plants. But despite all of these technological advancements, natural healing is still used world wide and can be very effective.
If they are just plants, why do you need the oil?
Due to how the oils are extracted from the plant, they are much stronger than the original plant. The essential oil can be 70 times more potent than the original plant. This is why it is incredibly important to never apply oils to the skin without diluting them first.
How could essential oils benefit your horse?
Horses are good at knowing what will make them feel better and in the wild they would search out the plants they needed at the time to feel better. Due to how we keep our horses, they often don’t have access to a variety of plants to eat.
Different oils can be used to:
- relax the horse
- clear airways
- soothe skin irritations
- help heal injuries
- act as a fly repellant.
There is a lot of information out there about the benefits of different plants, but it does seem to be that there really is something out there for every issue.
Why should you consider using essential oils?
I think the most appealing thing about natural treatments such as essential oils is that realistically, worst case scenario it doesn’t help the issue. It was this logic which lead me to try natural treatments to manage Scottie’s sarcoids rather than traditional medicine.
But possibly the most appealing thing about essential oils is how easy they are to use. The horse just needs to be able to inhale the scent. Either directly from the bottle or indirectly from a diffuser of some sort. There’s no wrestling to get a syringe in their mouth or watching them turn their nose up at their feed.
Staying safe with essential oils
While the oils are all natural and safe. They can be very potent and could cause irritation. There are some oils you can put directly onto the horse or in their feed once they have been diluted. But there will be some exclusions to this, so if you are unsure do not apply directly to the horse or add to your horses feed. I recommend talking to an expert before adding these oils to your horses feed. But there is plenty of advice out there on different plant oils and their benefits. So there is no reason you can’t experiment with these using diffusers.
Our Natural Horse essential oils
As I mentioned at the start of the post, I have been sent a set of essential oils from Equine-Innovations to review for you. This set includes 3 mixed oils; Keep Calm,, Breathe Easy and Improve Performance. As well as various diffuser types. With it being so dusty and Scottie having a bit of a cough at the start of exercise at the moment, I have already started using the Breathe Easy oil and will keep you updated with our progress.
I’d be interested in knowing exactly what oils are in these blends. I custom make my own blends for use in my sports massage practice and am very particular about what I will use because of the horse’s sensitivity.
As far as I am aware, they are not blends which have been diluted… so not safe for direct contact with the horse. (But I could be wrong about that)
Breathe easy: Bay Laurel, Pine, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Thyme, German Chamomile, Bergamot.
Improve Performance: Nutmeg, Yarrow, Lavender, Rose Otto, Vetiver.
Keep Calm: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Blue Tansy, Orange.