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Beat Stress: Can Aromatherapy Calm Your Horse?

If you have an anxious horse, this is a must!

June 19, 2020

Stress is everywhere! From competitions and trailering to injuries and stall time, your horse is exposed to a number of stressors on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Aromatherapy has proven to help people with their stress, so can it help horses? New research is showing that certain essential oils have the ability to calm horses!

In this particular trial, Albion College student Kylie Heitman observed eight horses on two different trailering trips. Each horse was trailered for 15 minutes. While in transport, some of them were exposed to lavender oil diffused into the air. The others only received a diffusion of distilled water.

Each horse’s heart rate and cortisol levels were measured before and after the trip. Interestingly, the cortisol levels were significantly lower in the ones exposed to lavender oil. Although, the heart rate only decreased a small bit.

As most horse owners know, trailering can be stressful. It appears this study showed that lavender can calm your horse to some extent. Why not give it a try for yourself! On your next trailering trip, farrier visit, annual dental exam or injury, it may be worth it to diffuse some lavender oil or another calming one. Some others include cedar wood, frankincense and roman chamomile.

Source: Experimental Biology 2017. “Can aromatherapy calm competition horses?.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2017.

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