Essential Oil Therapy for Equines

What is Essential Oil Therapy? Its a bit like aromatherapy for people, but its for animals, and does not involve massaging oils into the body. Animals are far too hairy or feathered for that kind of thing.  Besides how would you get a horse up on a massage table?

Essential oils are extracted from plants and have therapeutic effects on the body, and animals usually prefer to inhale or lick the oils.  If horses were free to roam and select their own foliage, firstly for nutrition and secondly for medication, that’s what they would be doing (Wild Health by Cindy Engel is a good book for those who wish to discover more about this). So the selection of plants is brought to our domesticated animals as environment enrichment in 5ml brown glass bottles. In the six years I have been studying oils, and observing behavioural responses to them, it still never fails to fascinate me.  I also love to watch other peoples amazement with their horses, or other animals, when they select different oils. It also seems like a lovely moment of bonding between them. I managed to capture some photos of those moments on a recent workshop for Equine Owners.

I wish I could inhale a bottle of essential oil and let go of stuff. Horses lip curl, yawn, their eyes soften, their heads lower, they sometimes go off into a trace perhaps processing something, they relax. Some horses know immediately they need to lick the oil instead and use the front or back of their tongue which has different route into the body. If you are wondering, yes I have sipped essential oils diluted in a tea cup of warm water and it can be likened to drinking bubble bath water. That said, although ‘perfumy’, Juniper and Sandalwood helped me manage a bladder issue immediately, whereas various antibiotics and a minor op hadn’t worked over a two year time period. A passing healer told me if it was the bladder, it was because I was p’d off. I wasn’t too convinced it was all caused emotionally. I left a certain career and this health issue went away. I returned to the career a while later and the issue came back immediately. From that moment, I stopped underestimating how much emotions can impact on physical health. Our body is clear at communicating about what needs changing or what needs attention, sometimes people, myself included, can spent most of our time in our heads ignoring what the body needs – until of course you can’t ignore it anymore. Animals are far more connected and I believe this is why Essential Oil Therapy has such an effect.

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