Why do we suggest using essential oils for calming?
Does your horse suffer from anxiety at competitions impeding her performance in the ring?!
Anxiety and Stress is a completely normal and valid reaction from any horse, throughout anytime of disruption to their routine.
Especially when taken to an event, when the adrenaline is pumping, there’s strange sounds, smells, noises and the owner’s anxiety is also at an all-time high.
However, that doesn’t stop it from being very frustrating given all the time preparing, training, grooming and travelling to competitions.
As you know we LOVE essential oils here at Perfect Ponies HQ. Not only because they smell amazing but because their therapeutic value is incredible.
Essential Oils are chemical compounds and if used correctly are as powerful as conventional drugs. (Please note, we think conventional medicine is wonderful and we are not suggesting stopping prescribed treatment but used in conjunction. Essential oils can be a wonderful therapy)
We have been wanting to release a calmer for some time now. We have looked at the current market of calmers. They mainly consist of things to be ingested. From cookies, pastes and supplements. The majority have to be fed over a period of time to allow the trace minerals to be absorb into the blood stream and varying ingredients in theses calmers haven’t been clinically proven or are known to have adverse effects of different horses.
It’s actually quite frightening that with no governing body for the animal industry. There are so many products on the market that have little or no research behind them.
This just doesn’t sit right for us!
We have developed our own calmers; our ‘Relax’ range.
Our calmers are a cleverly blended, combination of essential oils proven to improve focus, clarity, combat stress and induce relaxation thus lowering the heartrate and increasing the RMSDD. Both the Balm and the Spritz start to work instantly. They are 100% natural, safe, FEI rule compliant and have been develop and supported by lots of research and evidence globally from veterinary and medical sources.
To understand how our ‘Relax’ balm and spray works, we firstly want to explain some of the physiology and chemistry behind the horse and our products.
A little bit of science behind the magic.
A single essential oil contains as many as 100 chemical components which work together to give the oil it’s unique properties and aroma. Each component plays a role, but some are more dominant and determine how an oil will act on the horse’s body and mind.
The chemistry of oils are made up of major, minor and trace components. They all work together to optimise the oils aroma and therapeutic value. Which is why it is paramount to choose the correct combination of oils, so they holistically work together to heal Mind, Body and Soul.
The Horse’s skin is a very complex organism. It is the horse’s largest organ, ranging from 12-24% of his weight, dependant on age. There are three main layers that make up your horses’ skin. These various cellular and tissue components consist of the epidermis, dermis and subcutis. This intricate composition of cells, tissues, chemicals, nerves and energy is simply called skin. Yet it does the one of the most important jobs on the horse’s body, it acts as the horse’s protector.
- the horsehair provides a mechanical protection and acts as a filtering system and insulator.
- the superficial layer of the epidermis with its highly developed, tough, durable and flexible membrane acts as a chemical and waterproofing structure.
- the skin provides protection from the sun’s rays and it regulates your horse’s temperature through its sweating mechanism.
- Ultimately, the skin communicates the well-being of your horse’s health. It is a vital, sensory organ that provides information about the condition and well-being of our horse.
How does the horse absorb the Essential Oils through inhalation?
Due to small and simple molecular structure of the Essential Oils, they are easily absorbed when inhaled. These airborne molecules interact immediately with olfactory system – the part of the brain connected to smell) molecules entered via the nose, pass to lungs and circulate through the rest of the body.
As the molecules reach the brain, they affect the limbic system – the part of the brain linked to emotions, the heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress and hormone balance.
So how do essential oils play such a vital role in the healing and therapeutic process???
The molecular structure of essential oils is small and simple, making it easy for them to pass through the skin. Essential oils enter the body through the body through the skin via the ducts of the sweat glands and hair follicles. The skin produces its own sebum and the essential oils absorb readily into this fatty layer. Once they have passed through this layer the enter the blood stream and pass through the rest of the body. Thus, the healing process begins.
Recent studies published in the; Journal of Equine Veterinary Science have proven that inhaling Lavender, significantly reduced signs of stress.
The study took place with two sets of horses. One set of horses had inhaled lavender and the second hadn’t. Both sets of horses had heart monitors on and visual observations.
During the study an air horn was set off and the horses were monitored to see how they initially reacted to the air horn and secondly how long they took to calm down in their observed behaviour i.e. heart rate returning to normal, neck lowering, licking and chewing etc.
In every horse that had smelt lavender, the initial reaction to the airhorn was significantly less. The heart rate returned to normal more quickly than those who hadn’t inhaled lavender and also their physical signs of relaxation returned more rapidly than those who hadn’t smelt lavender
A second, very interesting study was also documented regarding Lavender enhancing performance. A monitor tracked 9 Dressage horses for 21 minutes in total.
– 7 minutes before the introduction of essential oils
– 7 minutes during the introduction of essential oils
– 7minutes following the introduction of essential oils
Although, the heart rate didn’t change; what changed is what’s called the parasympathetic component of heart rate variability.
One of the parameters of heart rate variability is RMSSD. Which in laymen’s terms is the relaxation part of the autonomic nervous system. If the RMSSD increases, then this indicates the horse is relaxed.
This study proves, that those horses who had inhaled the essential oils had significantly increased RMSSD compared to the baseline. This data was again supported by the horses observed behaviours, including signs of relaxation, such as neck lowering, licking and chewing.
The information that we have collated on the calming effects of Essential Oils is astounding. Although we know that Lavender is one of the most notorious calming oils. We also know that there are many other wonderful oils that have many positive properties for reducing anxiety, stress, promote focus and calm those nervous horses.
We have developed two products with our magical blend of calming essential oils.
Our calmers are a clever combination of essential oils proven to improve focus, clarity, combat stress and induce relaxation thus lowering the heartrate and increasing the RMSDD Not only are they super easy to use. They start working instantly and are fully FEI rule compliant.
How to use our ‘Relax’ range?
Relax Balm – Take a pea size amount and rub between the palm of your hands, apply in and around the muzzle. This also adds a subtle shine (do not apply near eyes.)
Relax Spritz – Shake well and activate the oils. Lightly mist over the horse, we recommend by following with a soft brush, to disperse the spritz evenly throughout the coat.
As a bonus, this is a very light conditioning spray that leaves a subtle shine, without leaving a slippery residue.
We really hope you like our Calmer’s, follow the link below and get yours now!
If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch 🌿🍄🌸🌻🌿