Working With
Your Horse

Working With Your Horse

Working With Your Horse

How To Offer Herbs and Powders

How To Offer Essential Oils

Offering Nutritional and Herbal Powders To An Arthritic Donkey

Ingraham Data Card


how too...


Inhalation through the VNO is the fastest route to the emotional centre of the brain, followed closely by inhalation via olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity. Offer from the bottle, dab on the stable door or wall.


Apply appropriate undiluted oils to isolated areas such as wounds, sarcoids, infection and inflammation and check for pain, such as along the neck, back and TMJ. For muscular problems and large areas apply in a loose aloe vera gel.

Aloe vera gels are useful to protect the skin from irritating oils, particularly where there’s less or no hair, or if the application is over a large area. The gel needs to be loose enough to spread. Some gels may need water added, but don’t dilute it so much that it drips off your hand when trying to apply it. Take care applying extracts that are photo-reactive in sunlight, unless sun light is needed to activate the beneficial properties of the oils.

Water Buckets

Select up to six of the most needed oils. Try to give as much diversity as possible.

  • Add approximately 15-25 drops of each essential oil to individual water buckets.
  • Use stickers to mark which oil is in each bucket, placing the sticker at the water level so that you can see how much of each has been taken.

Some horses may just want to stand over the bucket and inhale the aroma. If leaving buckets in the field, putting them in car tyres can help keep them steady and remember that you won’t know which horse is selecting what, or in what volume.

If an essential oil water bucket is drunk overnight add a greater number of drops to create a stronger concentration to the next bucketful. Always have fresh water available. Essential oils that are dermal and mucous membrane irritants don’t appear to be irritating when drunk from a cold-water bucket.

Ingraham Data Card


how too...

How Often Do I Offer The Remedies?

If the condition is acute, or antibacterial oils have been selected, initially they may need to be offered relatively frequently to get on top of the condition. This is usually for the first one to three days. The easiest way forward with this is to put the oils in buckets of water as well as offering them on your hand when you can.

Otherwise extracts may initially be needed once or twice daily. It is a matter of ‘feeling your way’ in the first few days in order to know how often the extracts are needed by your horse.

The average time span for taking the remedies is three days to two weeks. Some may be taken every other day and others every third day. Sometimes an oil that was inhaled on day one is taken orally the following day and sometimes a plant oil rejected day one may be the key oil on day two. If you have resolved the problem but then see it returning, the horse will need a
top up or more frequent application.

White Horse Selecting G Chamomille


Horses will generally lick the oil from the hand. If a faster route of entry is needed, they will lick with the underneath of their tongue.

Selecting nutrients and herbal remedies from shallow buckets

Horse With Selection Buckets

Offer nutrients, powders and herbs in individual buckets at the same time so the horse can alternate between them, in order to get the correct dose.

Key Learning Points When Offering Essential Oils To Horses

Positive Reactions

(look for one or more of the following)

Positive Responses To Look For
Soft, blinking or heavy eyes
Change in breathing, swallowing, flehmen
response (VNO). Sniffing or movement of the nostrils
May become runny
Body language
Your horse may lick the aromatic particles from your hand either using the top or underneath of the tongue, or from a water bucket

Reactions - When A Remedy Is Not Immediately Needed

Turning away from the aromatics with none of the above signs. Be aware that the oil may be needed later


What should I do if my horse isn’t selecting the essentil oil(s) that I am offering?

a. Give up and think he is not interested in essential oils
b. Offer rosehips and barley grass in individual buckets (physical)
c. Offer angelica root and rose water in separate water buckets and leave overnight (behavioural)
d. Work quickly through the essential oils to try and get his/ her attention

If I offer barley grass powder, how should I prepare it before offering?

a. Put several handfuls in a shallow bucket
b. Add water and offer it in liquid form
c. Put a splash of water on the bottom of a bucket/scoop, cover the bottom with barley grass

How do I know if it is the end of the session?

a. Your horse will walk away from you and the remedies and show no further interest
b. They make a flehmen response