Essential Oils for Horses: Why and Purity

Essential Oils for Horses:  Why and Purity
We use essential oils in all areas of our life to reduce the number of toxic chemicals we come into contact with and to stay above the wellness line. We use oils to clean, cook, garden, and to keep pests at bay. We also use oils for personal care, and to support the body systems of our family and our pets. Essential oils aid us to prevent many unpleasant health issues. Oils can be used on people and animals with similar results in both, with few exceptions. All oils mentioned here are good for your horse but double-check before using on other animals.  

Essential oils are: 
  • Non-toxic to the horse.
    • Just like the human body, toxicity is a huge problem for our animals. 
  • Easy to use.
    • Essential oils for horses can be used exactly in the same manner as with humans. Horses can inhale the oil directly from the bottle or from your hand. They can be placed directly on the body or placed in their feed. 

  • Extremely beneficial for training and rehabbing horses.

    •  I mostly train young or green horses, or re-train problem horses that have people problems! The emotional component of this training is the most difficult portion and it is what makes me good at my job. The oils  are another tool for the toolbox. I can cut through training issues faster than I ever could before and I can see horses releasing emotional baggage before my eyes. Sometimes it is miraculous! 

  • Good for riders too!

    • Riders are continually dealing with fears, insecurities, and nerves.  These emotions and others affect our horse on a daily basis. The oils can help release many of these emotions, produce a synergistic effect between horse and rider, and ultimately improve our riding! In addition, a healthy rider/ caretaker can take much better care and be more of a participant in the horse/ human relationship.

Purity 
In the United States, there is no rating system for essential oils. The closest we get is an FDA requirement that states in order to label a bottle of essential oil "pure" or "therapeutic grade," the contents of that bottle must contain at least 5% essential oil! I don't know about you, but I prefer my essential oils to contain 100% essential oil- not some unidentified substance that could be hazardous to myself or my animals.
Before you purchase, check to see if the company grows its own plants, owns its own fields, and controls the  entire process from Seed to Seal- from the farm to the sealed bottle.  Pesticides, pollution, previously farmed land- all of it can affect the quality of an oil. 

How do I use Essential Oils for Horses? 
This is true for both people and horses: there are 3 main ways to get oils into your system:  topically- rub it on the skin;  digest and cook with it; or diffuse and inhale, which can be the most effective method because it doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system.  
How do I know which oils to use for Equine Aromatherapy? 
Using the oils is a bit of a learning curve for sure, but the best thing you can do is research oils for a particular use or choose oils that you would use for yourself.  

Want more information about using more natural methods for you and your horse? I have a great Facebook group that discusses just that!  I'd love for you to join us HERE.

Mother's Day- a Mother Worth Honoring

Originally Published In May of 2017.

     Every mother deserves to be honored. It really doesn't matter what she has or hasn't done. Being a mother is not easy and honestly, the longer I am a mother, the more I learn about the complications that come along with motherhood. Especially when it comes to what and how much of life a mother shares with her child.

     In the last year, I have learned a lot from my mother about what her life was really like when I was a kid. I have been blessed to discover so much of what she was dealing with when I was growing up and how it has shaped me as a mother. It should be no surprise to my mother that I have the deepest respect and appreciation for the sacrifices that she made to protect me from as many hurts as possible and also the support she gave me that allowed me to form and chase my passions. I could not ask for anything more from my mother. And that is not because we had an easy life and a fantastic relationship. It is because she instilled in me a  confidence that gave me the frame of mind that I knew I was and am capable of ANYTHING that I wish to pursue. I watched her struggle and was never quite grateful enough for everything she was going through to give me what I wanted- and she was patient enough and strong enough to endure my ungrateful attitudes because she knew that my world view didn't include all of the things she was constantly doing for me.

     Mother's Day is not just a day that I celebrate my mother, grandmother, mother-in-law and several other human mothers in my life. There is also a  special horse named Rompaway Ocala, that I think of every Mother's Day.

     Several years ago, in typical spring fashion at our family's Standardbred racing farm, we were prepping for foaling. Ocala was in her late teens and due any day. She was extremely healthy and really did not show her age at all. As usual, there was an air of excitement and a divvying up of foal watch duty. 
I received an early morning text that Ocala had foaled in the night and that my sister needed to be relieved of duty since she had been up all night with mom and baby. I was excited to get to the barn and to share such an exciting and beautiful surprise with my young daughter. When we arrived, we found a very beautiful baby and a very healthy mare. However, I also learned that the foal had not successfully stood on its own yet- and after being in this world for several hours, this was not good news. 

     My sister spent her evening milking the mare and feeding the foal, but something was wrong because the milk just came out of his poor little nose. I relieved my sister and took over trying to love life right into that foal. The vet came and went, doing everything he could to no avail.  Everyone spent the day brainstorming and trying to help our new little colt stand and eat. Nothing we did helped. Ocala remained calm and let us help and work with her and baby into the afternoon.

      Eventually, our tiny friend's body began to fail him. Within 24 hours of birth, he died. To say we were crushed and heartbroken doesn't seem to convey the magnitude of our dismay. My step-father and his friend (and fellow trainer/breeder) took the tractor out to the field to dig a small grave and Ocala continued to smell and nuzzle her baby's body. She was actually very calm considering. However, when the men came back to retrieve the foal, her real mom feelings began to show.

     I  will never forget the panic in her eyes as her colt was removed from her stall and she began to spin in circles and attempted to find a way out of the barn to her baby. Her screams are forever seared into my mind. I felt for her, from mother to mother.

     Just a short time after we finished filling in the hole and I had explained to my daughter what had happened and why Ocala was so upset, we received a call from another breeder in the state that she had lost her mare shortly after she had delivered a strong and healthy foal. They were desperately searching for a mare that would be able to nurse this foal in order to not lose him too. In an effort to save the foal we loaded Ocala up within an hour or two of her loss for a several hour ship to the other farm where a new foal was scared, alone and hungry. 

     This was a risk. Not all mares will just allow another mare's foal to nurse from her and some will even attack another mare's foal. Ocala, however, is a mother through and through.  Without hesitation, Ocala put aside her pain and loss and took in the orphaned foal as her own. This was such a relief and honestly, it is still awe-inspiring. Ocala demonstrated exactly what it is to be a mother- self-sacrificing and radiating unconditional love. I'm not sure I, or anyone I know, could have done what Ocala did at all, let alone with so much grace.



I  am happy to report that Rompaway Ocala is now completely retired and enjoying life in a very green pasture- she has raised her many children well.

Rescued and Stressed

I started learning about essential oils to find out what they could do for my physical body and that of my husband and daughters. What I found was that essential oils are very powerful and can impact emotions as well as the physical body AND they can be used safely with my dogs, cats, and horses!! That's HUGE! The day after my Young Living Everyday Oils Starter kit arrived at my house, I brought home a 6-month-old lab-pitt mix puppy. His former family loved him but had recently received a serious medical diagnosis that would make it impossible to give our sweet pup (Ardy) an adequate home. When we arrived home, my oils were still spread out on the coffee table. Ardy was obviously stressed- he had just been picked up by a stranger and brought to a totally new place. I took him off the leash to let him explore and he quickly made his way to the coffee table. His little nose was basically attached to the bottle of Stress-Away essential oil on the edge of the table. He plopped right down and continued to deep breathe it- cap still on the bottle. Stress-Away, Peace and Calming, Valor (all 3 are in the Oils Starter Kit), and Trauma Life essential oils (and several others) are FANTASTIC for people and animals whether they are a little stressed or are feeling anxious. Another fabulous option is the CBD Calm Roller. I can't promise you that if you use these you (or your pet) will be cured of anxiety (so much plays into this!), but I can say that you will FEEL better 😉 When using oils with your dogs, remember that they are intelligent beings and they know what they like and don't like. Trust their instincts. Offer an oil before applying it to them- if they run away- that's a HARD NO 😂 

Wearing an oil yourself or diffusing it is a great way to see if your dog likes it. REMEMBER that when you are diffusing around animals they need to have the option to leave the area with the diffuser and switch up what oils you diffuse regularly. Dogs and cats do not metabolize oils the same way that we do. For more info on cats and oils, check out this post by Lindsey Elmore: https://lindseyelmore.com/essential-oils-and-cats-are-they-all-doomed/     I personally choose not to apply oils to my cats, but they LOVE the diffuser (most of the time) and will nap right next to it when it's on. 

We have "rescued" all three of our dogs from circumstances that were less than favorable and they have all come with their own needs and issues. Our oldest, Maggie (17 next month!!) loves Frankincense and other oils that offer her old body comfort. Our middle pup, Domino, has struggled with separation anxiety and still has bad days. Ardy has also struggled with separation anxiety. One of the best things I did for the boys is make a spray to apply to the beds before we leave. The spray is in a 2-ounce bottle half water and witch hazel (alcohol-free) and about 25 drops of Trauma Life essential oil. Something else to consider is how you may be unknowingly encouraging anxious behavior. Here is an article that really helped us when we first encountered separation anxiety: https://www.cesarsway.com/dealing-with-dog-separation-anxiety/  Good Luck ♥️
 
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