Classic Equine Connection

Aromatherapy for horses

Posted by Classic Equine Equipment Blog on Apr 12, 2023 2:42:04 PM

There are many “alternative” treatments for your horse – chiropractor, acupuncture, and equine massage are just a few. However, most of these require special training to do them correctly. But with some basic education, aromatherapy can be used by anyone for a variety of ailments. horse Classic Equine BlogAromatherapy is the use of essential oils to improve physical and/or emotional well-being. Essential oils are found in tiny pouches on the surface of plants. There are several methods of extracting these oils, including cold pressing and distillation. Oils can also be directly applied to the skin where they will pass through the layers and into the bloodstream. Oils can also evaporate in the air and send messages to the emotional part of the brain through smell.

The ancient Egyptian priests were among the first to understand and use the properties of herbs and flowers. They used simple observation to determine which herbs might work best for which part of the body. The bright red cinnamon was used for its stimulating properties. The cool blue-purple of lavender was selected for calming.  

For years, horses have practiced their own form of aromatherapy. With their highly attuned sense of smell, they instinctively knew which plants offered what their body was missing and would seek out those plants. In this way, our horses actively take part in the aromatherapy process to this day, smelling various oils and helping you select the correct one by rejecting those that do not appeal to them.

Always consult with your veterinarian before treating your horse with aromatherapy. You should also enlist the help of an aromatherapist and do some research. Many of the oils can be dangerous if applied directly to the skin, while others have “warning labels” on when and when not to use them.

Essential oils can help with behavior problems. Jasmine can help with spooking, cribbing, fear, and being headstrong. Lavender is great for both the horse and rider. It is a good antiseptic and has been known to accelerate skin growth and reduce scarring.

Essential oils can be found in health food stores, or in the health food section of some grocery stores. Essential oils should be stored in opaque bottles as sunlight can destroy their properties. Store in a cool, dry, dark place for a longer shelf-life.

If you are interested in learning more about aromatherapy and Bach Flower Remedies and how they can help you and your horses, here are a few books:

A Modern Horse Herbal by Hilary Page Self

Aromatherapy for Horses by Caroline Ingraham

Bach Flower Remedies for Horses and Riders by Martin J. Scott and Gael Mariana

And remember that aromatherapy works great for people as well!

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