Like humans, horses can sometimes benefit from using natural products. From garlic sprays that act as a fly shield, or applying witch hazel on recent cuts — natural grooming products can easily become a part of your grooming regimen.
Many products contain organic compounds, including: fats, oils, waxes, sterols, proteins and triglycerides. The beauty of these ingredients is that your horse’s living cells are made of the same types of organic compounds. As you think about purchasing, here are a few ingredients that can be beneficial to your horse’s health:
- Aloe Vera – Made from the leaves of African lilies, this moisturizer is a great treatment for cuts, sunburn, insect bites or other minor skin irritations.
- Chamomile – is an eco-friendly skin care remedy with anti-inflammatory properties. Look for chamomile in shampoos and conditioners.
- Citronella – Frequently used for fly spray, citronella can still be quite effective in its diluted form at repelling pesky flies. As with any product, always, be careful when spraying it around your horse’s sensitive areas (nose, mouth, eyes and ears).
- Eucalyptus – As a common ingredient in fungicide, insecticide and analgesics, eucalyptus is also ideal for sores, cuts and small wounds.
- Garlic – can often be taken as a food supplement to help horses repel flies. However, it can also be added to fly sprays. Due to its odor, garlic repels biting insects.
- Marigold – is another excellent ingredient that works as a fly repellent. It can also be used for skin irritations and inflammatory issues.
- Ocean Water – is not generally sold in a store and requires you to head down to the ocean on a clear day to bottle a small amount. With this in mind, ocean water (free of seaweed and other bacteria) can usually treat hives and other skin irritations. After giving your horse an oatmeal bath, sponge on a small amount of ocean water to its coat. The salt properties of the water may help alleviate itching symptoms.
- Pennyroyal – is a well-established herbal remedy with many uses including antiseptic and insect repellent.
- Rose – was popular through the Middle Ages to treat complaints ranging from headaches to liver congestion. Today, it is recognized for many benefits including antiseptic, antiviral and bactericidal agents.
- Witch Hazel – can help treat scrapes, insect bites, hives and cuts. It is favored for its anti-inflammatory properties. Some equine enthusiasts even use it to help relieve sore muscles post competition.
Types of Grooming Products with Natural Ingredients
Now that we’ve covered a list of the popular ingredients found in horse grooming products, let’s turn our focus to the types of products that feature these ingredients:
- Fly Sprays – often contain the ingredients above —look for labels such as, natural, organic, or herbal. These types of words can help steer you away from synthetic substitutes.
- Shampoos and Conditioners – are another popular grooming product that can contain these ingredients. The following types of lables can help you find a product without harmful chemicals — synthetic free, herbal remedy, natural ingredients and organic only. However, even if a bottle is labeled with these claims, thoroughly investigate the percentages listed, as well as the other documented ingredients.
- Hoof Conditioners – can be made from natural ingredients with a propensity for their anti-fungal, antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
- Brushes – can be constructed from natural ingredients too! The handle might be built with wood, and bristles can be comprised of natural horsehair.
As you begin your search, it is always a good idea to keep track of your purchases and uses. Some horses may react differently than others to the use of a new product. As always, if you’re not sure which natural ingredients to incorporate into your horse’s grooming routine, be sure to consult a trusted veterinarian. With this in mind, you should keep a daily log of your horse’s reactions to a new product. This way you can more easily tell what products are successfully helping your horse.
Ashly Snell works in Digital Marketing for Dover Saddlery. As a devoted equestrian for years, Ashly currently enjoys being with and caring for her two Dutch Warmbloods.