When you first start offering essential oils to your horse, it may not be clear what the preferences are.
With younger horses they may look like they are interested in every bottle you waft under their nose, you may find the only indicator is the strength of breath they take to get more of the scent they like.
The horse in this pic got me very excited when he dropped his tongue out at the bottle. However his handler stated he did this all the time, be it when being groomed, riding or just ‘because’. He was clear though with his likes and dislikes and would turn away from the ones he disliked.
Other horses may indicate their preference by stepping forward for the essential oil they prefer. Older less expressive horses may simply lean forward.
The more time you take and not rush the selection, the better you become at picking up the subtle signs. It may be the look in the eye changes, the horse choose his favourite by not moving away from one particular essential oil.
The sign I always enjoy is the flehman where the horse curls his top lip and lifts his head to capture the scent. Even then, some horses will do this with nearly all the scents I offer so to determine a preference I may reoffer and find he then only selects a few, or I offer one essential oil that is quite different to see if he truly like the first selection.
Remember not to offer too many in one session, eventually he can become overpowered and switch off to what you are trying to achieve.
Sometimes you will have very demonstrative selections, other times you need to read more subtle signs. The key with either type of response is to watch closely at the way the horse responds and see if you can pick a pattern. The overly demonstrative can be just as hard to decide on his preferred scent as the one who may only slightly flare one nostrils as he hangs his head over the bottle.
Grapefruit is a refreshing and uplifting scent for this time of year, be you in the warm Australian sunshine for Christmas or experiencing the wet in England or the cold in the US at the moment. If your horse is unsettled by your current weather conditions anywhere, Sweet Orange will give them a reassuring hug. For those in colder climates, a waft of Ginger will help warm them from within. For those in the Southern Hemisphere Peppermint can help cool an overheated horse experiencing the stifling effects of a heatwave.
All these scents just need to be wafted under the nostrils from the bottle, no need to physically apply for these purposes.
Frankincense is always appropriate at this time leading up to New Year, helping you release the stress of the past year from you and your horse by warming a few drops in the palm of your hand and wiping your own and their auric field with that intent. It helps start the new year with a cleaner slate and open you up to what the spiritual aspects of the year to come may have to offer.
written by Catherine Bird