Horses can be naturally nervous creatures. Being a prey animal, they are naturally ingrained to be fearful. Instincts have a powerful hold over them and they rely on the ole ‘fight or flight’ technique. When a horse spooks, they are either going to fight (rear, buck, strike, etc.) or get the heck out of dodge! This can be extremely difficult, and even dangerous, for the handler, especially if your horse is a massive 17hh warmblood!!
I spent 4 days last week at a horse show and was reminded of how stressed, fearful, and out of control that horses can get when put into a new, chaotic situation such as a large horse show. There are golf carts, dogs, people everywhere, tractors, bicycles, other horses acting up, and so many other obstacles that put pressure on the show horses. We as owners need to remember too that our horses are not always just acting up to be disobedient but they may be honestly, true to their core, scared for their life. Sometimes they are just testing us and being stubborn but that is not always the case. Maybe the horse had a very traumatic, maybe abusive, experience in their past that something at the show reminds them of. We can’t forget that they aren’t always just being naughty for the heck of it.
Anyways, that brings me to my point of using the essential oils to help calm and relax. I will go over some of the oils that I use often to help promote relaxation.
Frankincense – Once again Frankincense makes the list! This oil is seriously good for anything and everything. This “King of Oil” has so many great uses that help at the horse show: soothes depression and anxiety, balances mood, and helps with nerve tension and mental fatigue.
Lavender – Well, this is a ‘duh’ oil for this article. Lavender is renowned for its calming effects. The scent of Lavender calms and soothes the mind and body, eases muscle tension, and is all around an amazing aroma! Be careful not to use too much because it will literally make you want to fall asleep!!!
Eucalyptus – This is a newer oil to me. I purchased it before it wasn’t expensive and is noted for being relaxing and helping to clear the mind. At the horse show this week, I had a horse who is fairly sensitive to oils and was a bit hesitant to try the lavender. We offered him a smell of the Eucalyptus and he couldn’t get enough!! The difference from the horse we had witnessed the day before was night and day. Now this didn’t solve all of his fear of the horse show, however, did help us make some leaps in the right direction.
It is important to remember that essential oils are not magic. It is not “TA DA! He is cured!” They are a great aid to help you but are not a full solution when it comes to a situation like this fear at a horse show.
I would love to hear about other oils that you all use to help calm and relax an anxious horse. Please let me know in the comments 🙂