Essential Oils for Horse Hooves

essential oil

I mentioned recently that one of my new loves is essential oils.  I am learning to use them for all sorts of things–from my own skin care to my dogs’ flea and tick control.  As it turns out, essential oils have a plethora of beneficial uses–even for horses.

I’ll admit, I’m a skeptic by nature, and I cringed the first time I applied an essential oil (diluted in a carrier oil) on my face.  But the more I learn and experiment with these oils, the more impressed I am.  They really do seem to work.  And they’re completely natural.

I know of several natural hoof care practitioners that recommend essential oils for various hoof conditions in horses as well–so that’s what I’ve decided to focus on today.  As with any equine condition and especially conditions of the hoof, you need to take the whole horse into consideration.  Many problems with hooves are linked with diet or environment, so if you don’t make changes there as well, the hoof problem may persist despite your best efforts.

How Essential Oils Work

By their nature, essential oils easily penetrate living tissue, where they are absorbed into the blood stream and spread throughout the body.  Each essential oil has specific chemical properties which have been shown to promote healing–some are anti-inflammatory, many are disinfecting, and others can encourage cell rejuvenation, for example.

How to Apply Essential Oils to the Hoof

Essential oils should only be applied to a clean hoof, so make sure you clean the hoof well with a hoof pick and scrub off any excess dirt and debris (I use a little wire brush like this one.)  Depending on the condition, you can either put 2-4 drops of the essential oil directly onto the affected location several times a day, soak several cotton balls in the essential oil and then pack them into the affected area. (Use duct tape or a hoof boot to keep them in place for 24 hours.), or use the essential oil diluted in a hoof soak. Some essential oils even come in a spray bottle, which you can easily spray onto the hoof.

Essential Oils for Common Hoof Conditions

Thrush: Thrush is a fungal or bacterial infection of the frog which can sometimes be difficult to recognize (see this post for more information on thrush), although a deep crevice in the central sulcus can be an identifying sign.  It can be linked with a variety of factors including improper hoof care, past injuries, diet, hoof hygiene, and environmental conditions.

Thrush in hoof

Essential oils for treating thrush include:

Abscesses:  An abscess is an infection in the hoof which can be extremely painful for horses.  It can be caused by laminitis, puncture wounds, stone bruising, or other forms of internal damage. The infection causes inflammation which has nowhere to go inside the hoof capsule–and this pressure is what causes so much pain.  When the abscess finally opens up (either on its own or with help) the pressure is released and the horse feels immediate relief–but this could take weeks in some cases.

Essential Oils for Hoof Soaks:

To encourage the abscess to drain, use one or more of the above essential oils, mixed with Epsom salt and warm water.  Soak hoof for at least 20 minutes if you can.  (I like the Davis soaking boot.)

Once the abscess has opened up, you can use one of the following essential oils on the open wound.  If the abscess has opened up along the coronary band, I would dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil such as jojoba, almond, or grape seed oil at a 2% dilution (7-14 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.)

  • Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • Oregano Essential Oil
  • Thyme Essential Oil
  • Thieves Essential Oil
  • Melrose Essential Oil
  • Clove Essential Oil

White Line Disease:  WLD is a fungal infection of the hoof that causes hoof wall separation.  The cause of the disease is multi-factorial and some even argue that it’s not a disease at all, but a condition we’ve helped to create with improper diets, poor/ improper hoof care, and soggy environments.  But despite the cause, fungus definitely seems to be a major culprit of WLD that needs to be dealt with.  Using essential oils with anti-fungal properties can help.

Essential Oils for WLD:

Important Note:  Always buy 100% pure, undiluted essential oils for best results.  To read more about using essential oils with horses, see this post. 

Another note:  If you decide to buy some essential oils to use for yourself or your horses, please consider using the links above–I earn a small percentage from my amazon affiliate sales, which helps me keep The Naturally Healthy Horse going!



Experience Essential Oils

How Essential Oils Work for Your Body






Hi! My name is Casie Bazay. I'm a mom, a freelance writer, and a certified equine acupressure practitioner.

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9 Responses

  1. Regina says:

    I love EOs! I use them on myself as well as at the barn…I have a rule of thumb for using items on my horse “If I can’t use it on myself, I will not use it on him!” EOs are wonderful, easy to use and all natural (only organic please). I use Young Living, not all oils are created equal. My advice…try them! The more you learn, the more you will enjoy! Much love!

  2. elvie Keir says:

    Thanks for shring, these oils are great, all natural too, As an herbologist i know all of these oils as I too have studied Aromatherapy, Theives is so good in capsule form too, Oregano, thyme, Which i personally grow, it is excellent for the lungs, should one require natural help. Check it out, I havve studied 40 yrs. E.

    • then5925 says:

      Thanks, Elvie! Always good to learn more about essential oils. 🙂

    • Brandy says:

      Thank you for the info. Casey!

      I wanted to ask you and Elvie, do you have any experience treating thrush with geranium oil? It’s known for its antifungal properties and I think it’s going to be a good fit for treating my horse. Thyme and Thieves were my other considerations but Geranium is the one that’s calling to me. Also, do you know of any good dietary supplements that might help? I’m also wondering about supplementing Thyme internally for my other mare. She doesn’t have thrush, but ticks are a problem where we live and all the benefits that I’ve read about Thyme seem like they would be good for her ~ especially in helping her detox and stabilize her digestion. Any thoughts about this? Thanks!!

      • Casie says:

        Hi Brandy–I have not used geranium oil for thrush, but any antifungal oil would likely be helpful with the condition. Aside from herbs or oils, I know that many horses who suffer from chronic thrush can likely benefit from supplemental copper and zinc (California Trace is a good multi-mineral). I don’t know about feeding thyme either (maybe Elvie does) but I’ve heard that some people feed apple cider vinegar for ticks and flies.

  3. Meg says:

    Lavender oil worked miracles on treating my horses bad case of thrush I massaged it in three times over the course of three days and on the fourth day it was completely gone I’m ordered a new bottle of it last night and I can’t wait for its arrival

  4. mary anne weber says:

    What can I do for founder?? What oils and how much?

    • Casie says:

      Hi Mary Anne,

      I’m afraid essential oils aren’t going to be much help with founder. I would focus on dietary and management changes instead. I have several posts on this if you do a search (search laminitis or founder). Best of luck to you and your horse.

  5. MaryBeth says:

    what about for Canker?

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