When using aromatherapy with foals, I have used them comfortably from one week old in my practice. I like the idea of allowing them to bond with their mother before introducing them to the foals olfactory nervous system, and then after that I have I have safely used them both for the scent reaction in their behavioural centres as well as physical application to muscle issues from the ‘trauma of birth’.
My main rule of thumb if you are applying essential oils to a young horse, stick strictly to your 2.5% dilution, moreso as to not irritate their sensitive skin, and to also keep in mind they are smaller so what enters the body will circulate more quickly and you don’t want to give their liver or kidneys any surprises to filter.
If you are not sure if you should apply essential oils to your foal, ask him or her. They will be curious about the scent than an older horse, but the odd one will make him breath more intently or turn away quickly. As they have a shorter attention span, make your selection simple, and limit it to offering no more than 6 essential oils in a session.
Some essential oils I have found useful with foals:
some foals come into this world with shoulder soreness, especially if they have had an assisted birth. Chamomile on its own in a nice carrier like aloe gel or jojoba oil to the deep cranial pectoral muscle (just foreward of the scapula where the neck joins the shoulder) will help with the sort of muscle spasms I have encountered with these foals.
these essential oil is from the peel of the orange. It is useful when a foal has been orphaned or is having trouble bonding with its mother. The scent of the orange gives the impression on the limbic system of that of a warm motherly hug. It is very welcoming and helps the animal inhaling it to open up to its emotional environment.
older horses don’t often choose this essential oil. However young foals find it calming, especially when they are encountering the sudden influc of new sights and sounds around the farm. Particularly useful for the shy foal who appears a bit overwhelmed by his new environment.