• Likes a smell
    horses don't just smell using their nostrils, they curl their lip to open their vomeronasal organ
  • the look in their eye
    you will learn to see how it changes when they are processing thoughts and memories
  • Ears have expression
    a good indicator of what's going on in between them...
  • The golden rule
    always let your horse choose then you can't go wrong!

horses & oils

How horses can heal themselves

It’s something that scientists have been trying to explain for a long time and is called zoopharmacognosy. In spite of its rather complicated name, zoopharmacognosy is simply a science that studies how animals naturally self-medicate (to heal themselves) by foraging for plants in their natural surroundings and their essential oils, along with other plant extracts and natural materials (such as clay or mud) in captivity. 

a whole new language.

Part of the hedgewitch ethos is to encourage you to try some simple zoopharmacognosy with your own horse. There are real benefits from learning to read your horse’s body language, not least your horse begins to understand that he can communicate with you and suddenly has a ‘voice’ – it really is a whole new language! You’ll start to notice your horse trying to tell you things…

hedgewitch can supply you with a small number of quality essential oils which are popular with horses but recommend a consultation with a qualified applied zoopharmacognosy practitioner to offer your horse a full range of essential oil and plant extracts to fully address the needs of your horse. For a full list of practitioners in your area click here.

There are 5 core principles ( the Ingraham method) which you should be aware of when offering essential oils to any animal and hedgewitch advocate that you follow these principles when using our products. Click on titles for more information.

    1. Always gain the animal’s consent

      Offer the oil or product to your horse to sniff and only continue to offer or use  if interest is shown. Signs your horse likes an oil are sniffing, trying to lick or grab the bottle, curling the top lip and ‘smiling’, yawning or simply not moving away. Signs can also be as subtle as a softening of your horses eye and a thoughtful expression. A sign that your horse doesn’t like an oil is moving away from the oil. If this happens be patient and see if he comes to you before discounting use.
    2.  Never put plant compounds in the food of an animal

      it is difficult for your horse to separate out any compounds he doesn’t actually need or that may be slightly toxic to him.
    3. Always allow an animal to select the plant compound

       listen to your horse by interpreting his body language and never force an aroma on a horse because you think it is what he needs. For example, he may want something calming so you think first of valerian root but he may prefer roman chamomile, hops or hemp.
    4. Never diagnose a condition from the animal’s choice of oils

      for instance juniper berry is known to support the liver and kidneys. If your horse selects juniper berry, it doesn’t mean that there is anything clinically wrong with these organs!
    5. Be patient

      allow time and learn to read the body language of your horse.