10 uses for essential oils on your farm

When carefully selected and diluted, essential oil blends can offer numerous benefits to us and our horses. Use these DIY recipes to integrate these healing substances into your daily routine on the farm!

Essential oils are health-promoting substances. They repair, oxygenate, and act as defenders against pests, germs, and infections. These compounds (terpenes, ketones, phenols, esters, etc.) extracted from plants and trees are not only capable of healing themselves – they’re also able to heal humans and animals by supporting our physical, mental, and emotional health. So how can you take advantage of these incredible benefits? Read on for some DIY essential oil recipes that can be easily made and stored for use around your farm.

1. Fly spray

2 ounces olive oil or neem oil (does not have the best smell)

1 cup white vinegar

Epsom salt water – 1 cup Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water

2 teaspoons garlic powder

6 drops black pepper essential oil

6 drops citronella essential oil

Combine the olive or neem oil, vinegar, Epsom salt water and garlic powder. Divide into one ounce spray bottles and add essential oils.

Alternative recipe:

Substitute the garlic powder for garlic-infused water. Remove the oil from the recipe.

Take fresh organic garlic cloves and place them in a glass container with distilled water – one liter with one head of garlic. Let it sit for several days.

2. Wound salve

1 cup Bentonite clay

20 drops lavender essential oil

Combine clay and essential oil. Apply liberally to minor wounds to promote the healing process.

3. Tick spray

1 cup distilled water

2 cups distilled white vinegar

2 tablespoons vegetable or almond oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

4 drops peppermint essential oil

4 drops eucalyptus essential oil

4 drops citronella essential oil

3 drops Palo Santo essential oil

3 drops cedarwood essential oil

3 drops thyme essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a large spray bottle. Spray onto your horse’s body – focusing on the legs and underbelly – every four hours during turnout.

4. Colic rub

1 tablespoon carrier oil

2 to 4 drops peppermint OR fennel essential oil

Combine and apply directly to the horse’s belly button.

Note: It is important to be in contact with your veterinarian during a colic. This rub should be used only at your vet’s discretion as a form of complementary support.

5. Proud flesh prevention

1 ounce distilled water

6 drops tea tree essential oil

6 drops clove essential oil

6 drops rosemary essential oil

In a spray bottle, combine water and essential oils. Spray on your horse’s legs twice daily.

6. Calming blend

1 ounce distilled water

Lavender essential oil

Frankincense essential oil

Cedarwood essential oil

Valerian essential oil

Roman Chamomile essential oil

Vetiver essential oil

Jasmine essential oil

Choose three essential oils and add six drops of each to distilled water in a spray bottle. Spritz the essential oil blend on your horse’s neck and chest 15 to 20 minutes prior to a stressful event.

7. Grooming and detangler spray

2 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil

2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin

1 teaspoon witch hazel

2 cups distilled water (approx.)

6 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil

6 drops rosemary essential oil

6 drops sandalwood essential oil

Add all ingredients to a spray bottle. Spritz onto the horse’s mane, tail, or body prior to grooming.

8. After-bite spray

1 ounce distilled water

6 drops lavender essential oil

6 drops chamomile essential oil

4 drops basil essential oil

Add ingredients to spray bottle and shake well. Spray directly on bug bites, or spray gauze pad and place on larger bites.

9. Hoof conditioner

1 cup fractionated coconut oil

2 tablespoons sweet almond oil

4 drops frankincense essential oil

4 drops lavender essential oil

Combine ingredients and stir well. Rub into your horse’s hooves.

10. Muscle rub

1/4 cup grape seed oil

1/4 cup wheat germ oil

1/4 cup sweet almond oil

1/4 cup olive oil

5 drops wintergreen essential oil

5 drops peppermint essential oil

5 drops oregano essential oil

5 drops eucalyptus globulus essential oil

5 drops elemi essential oil

5 drops vetiver essential oil

5 drops lemongrass essential oil

5 drops thyme essential oil

Add all ingredients to an eight-ounce pump bottle. Shake well and massage onto horse’s sore muscles.

How to choose quality essential oils for therapeutic use

The quality of essential oils and how to safely use them for horses are the two top criteria for having a successful experience.

Each essential oil has many individual constituents. Since every plant and tree offers a different set of constituents, so too does the oil that runs through them. This cannot be replicated by chemists.

The beginning of its life from a seed, the soil it is grown in, and the air and water that nourishes its life are all factors that determine an essential oil’s purity. Carefully extracting and distilling it, at the correct time of harvest, and at the correct temperature, is what preserves the constituents of each plant.

When these processes are altered in any way, the purity of the oils will no longer produce the desired results and in some cases can be extremely toxic.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying essential oils:

  1. The genus and species name of plant should be listed on the bottle.
  2. The oils should be bottled in dark glass.
  3. Low-cost oils below market value are low quality products for fragrance purposes rather than therapeutic use.
  4. Buy from a reputable company.
  5. Oils should be low pressure steam distilled.
  6. Third party lab tests results should be available to the public. If they aren’t available on the company’s website, call them directly to inquire.
  7. The company should control the farming of the plants from seed to bottle.
  8. The soil in which the plants are grown should meet USDA organic guidelines.
  9. The oils should contain no synthetic ingredients.
  10. Essential oils should not feel oily or greasy when applied to your skin.
  11. The company should be able to tell you that they have safely used their oils with animals.
  12. The company should also be able to tell you how to safely use essential oils for animals and people.
  13. You should be able to easily contact the essential oil representative and ask questions prior to a purchase.