Peppermint Ponies

Where better to spend Valentines Day but in a field full of ponies?

The Juniper herd requested an Essential Oils Therapy session today and thankfully I carry at least peppermint oil in my pocket when visiting so we had to make do with one oil – they didn’t seem to mind as they are all ‘peppermint ponies’.  Peppermint is a firm favourite of equines as those of you who have ever had polos in your pocket may have noticed.

As a lot of you know, Jac has been with me for 3 years now so inevitably he is good at communicating when he wants an oil session.  If he needs to inhale the oil, lick the oil from my hand or have it rubbed on his coat.  As a trained practitioner I sometimes work undiluted with some oils and Jac will take breaks to have some water to do his own dilution (which you can see some of in the video).  Of all the Flehman responses I have seen over the years to oils or other interesting scents, I have never seen Jac show one yet – which highlights even when observing responses behaviourally we are all different.  Jac does yawn to release things, licks and chews, and lowers his head before snorting some of which are seen in the video.  As captured on film Jac will also walk off when he is done. I have known Storm and Lily for a few months now, they are both still keen on peppermint.  Storm used to lick the oil but now only needs to inhale, whereas Lily still likes to lick the oil which is possibly supporting her knees which are a little stiff as she is an equine gal in her twenties.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Essential Oil is fairly inexpensive, has a long shelf life, and has well documented therapeutic properties such as an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, circulation stimulant, muscular-skeletal support (aches, sprains – good for box rest and long trailer journeys), and supports the respiratory system, regulates the nervous system and aid digestion system (my oil of choice in a colic situation awaiting the vet). It also supports some skin conditions such as itchiness and sun burn, however as peppermint can be a slight dermal irritant it is best diluted. If you are interested in learning more we are running our next Essential Oils workshop in Glastonbury at Paintedhorse on the 4th March 2017.

Oh and its not all about horses. Dog owner? There’s a workshop for you on the 5th March.

Cat owner? We have something lined up for you a little later in the year.

Essential Oil Therapy for Equines

What is Essential Oil Therapy? Its a bit like aromatherapy for people, but its for animals, and does not involve massaging oils into the body. Animals are far too hairy or feathered for that kind of thing.  Besides how would you get a horse up on a massage table? Essential oils are extracted from plants and have therapeutic effects on the body, and animals usually prefer to inhale or lick the oils.  If horses were free to roam and select their own foliage, firstly for nutrition and secondly for medication, that’s what they would be doing (Wild Health by Cindy Engel is a good book for those who wish to discover more about this). So the selection of plants is brought to our domesticated animals as environment enrichment in 5ml brown glass bottles. In the six years I have been studying oils, and observing behavioural responses to them, it still never fails to fascinate me.  I also love to watch other peoples amazement with their horses, or other animals, when they select different oils. It also seems like a lovely moment of bonding between them. I managed to capture some photos of those moments on a recent Essential Oils Workshop for Equine Owners.

I wish I could inhale a bottle of essential oil and let go of stuff. Horses lip curl, yawn, their eyes soften, their heads lower, they sometimes go off into a trace perhaps processing something, they relax. Some horses know immediately they need to lick the oil instead and use the front or back of their tongue which has different route into the body. If you are wondering, yes I have sipped essential oils diluted in a tea cup of warm water and it can be likened to drinking bubble bath water. That said, although ‘perfumy’, Juniper and Sandalwood helped me manage a bladder issue immediately, whereas various antibiotics and a minor op hadn’t worked over a two year time period. A passing healer told me if it was the bladder, it was because I was p’d off. I wasn’t too convinced it was all caused emotionally. I left a certain career and this health issue went away. I returned to the career a while later and the issue came back immediately. From that moment, I stopped underestimating how much emotions can impact on physical health. Our body is clear at communicating about what needs changing or what needs attention, sometimes people, myself included, can spent most of our time in our heads ignoring what the body needs – until of course you can’t ignore it anymore. Animals are far more connected and I believe this is why Essential Oil Therapy has such an effect. If you would like to read more, please click here.