If you are tasked with taking care of horses, you know that in spite of their strength and large size that horses are very sensitive creatures. They can get irritated rather easily by the elements or external forces like flying pests, parasites, bacteria and fungus which is why it’s important to keep them happy and comfortable.
How Neem Oil Can Help Horses
When your horse is suffering from an ailment, the problem often arises of what you should use to treat your horse and whether the ingredients of a product contain chemicals that will bring about side effects that are worse than the problem you’re trying to solve.
There is a shift in the industry when it comes to using more natural products that are not only more environmentally-friendly but also animal friendly and one such product that provides a multitude of benefits for horses is neem oil. Find out more about this product and why it is such a highly recommended tool for horse care below:
What is Neem Oil And Where Does it Come From?
Neem oil is an essential oil which some regard as a super oil because of its many benefits which is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree, which is Native to India, where it has been used for centuries because of its healing properties. Neem trees grow in tropical regions and semi-tropical climates and it’s trees and leaves contain a special substance known as azadirachtin.
Azadiractin contains amazing anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects, making it serve as a natural repellent against flying pests like mosquitoes and midges while being absolutely harmless to mammals.
Neem oil is also an anti-fungal substance making it a highly sought after product especially to heal fungal infections on animals. Neem oil has proven to be really helpful for treating horses during the warm seasons by using it as a preventative measure against swarms of ticks, mites and mosquitoes which like to make life miserable for grazing horses.
In addition, applications of neem oil work to soothe irritations or inflammations caused by insect bites and diseases and is also a moisturizer of dry skin. Recent clinical studies have even shown that neem oil delivers a better curative effect on horses than using cortisone. To sum up, horses can actually make a great profit from neem oil.
Neem Oil Protects Horses Against Summer Itch
In the summertime, horses dread the coming of midges because of an irritating condition known as summer seasonal recurrent dermatitis (SSRD), or what is more commonly known as sweet itch. This condition occurs as a result of a horse’s allergic reaction to the saliva of a biting insects like midges but can also be caused by black flies or mosquitoes.
These pesky insects tear into the skin of a defenseless horse and inject their harmful saliva while feasting on blood. The horse’s skin develops a reaction what causes inflammations and irritations round the tail, croup, ears, chin and mane which are the common areas flying pests bite into. This summer itch is extremely uncomfortable to horses and there is nothing really the horses can do about it so it is especially important that you as an owner intervene and put a stop to the harm.
A neem oil based substance can do a great job in helping to safeguard horses against the nasty bite marks and lesions midges and other flying pests inflict and on top of that, they can speed up the healing of any existing bites and irritations that were already made on the horse’s coat and skin.
A few drops applied onto the mane and tail delivers instant soothing relief for any horse suffering from summer itch.
Neem oil also serves as a natural pain reliever for horses who are bothered by the itchy bites by applying the substance onto open cuts and sores, so if your horse has been trying to rub themselves and have broken the skin, you can apply the oil straight onto the open area.
With neem oil having natural sterilization and antiseptic qualities, the substance will clean the wound, put bleeding to a halt, protect against infection and promote the healing process.
How To Use Neem Oil As An Insect Repellent
Neem oil has repellent capabilities that can be used as a general prevention of insects and mosquitoes. However, using neem oil as a repellent only works if you use the product daily onto your horses and not just a one and done until they bathe as neem oil can break down and lose its effectiveness over time.
The best way to do this is to dilute pure neem oil with warm water in a spray bottle and then simply spray the product onto your horses coat. Alternatively, to make the most of your store bought fly spray, simply add a few drops of neem oil to your sprayer and shake.
This will make your fly spray last exponentially longer as the neem oil binds to your horse’s coat and is sweat and water resistant. The thick oil works much like coconut oil and will remain in place for several days without reapplication.
For biting midges that target the belly, face, and ears, simply apply undiluted neem oil to protect those sensitive areas. Not only will it repel nasty biting insects, but it will soothe and heal previous bites and calm itchy irritation caused by the midges saliva.
Might also want to read: How to Control Flies this Summer
General Skin Care For Horses
With a large variety of different uses, neem oil is an extremely versatile substance that carries beneficial medicinal properties and is commonly used to treat fungal and bacterial skin infections and heal minor wounds.
All natural 100% cold-pressed neem oil contains high levels of Vitamin E and essential amino acids that penetrate deep into the epidermis where the antibacterial agents are able to kill the bacterium at the source.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil reduce pain and swelling while the restorative Vitamin E and amino acids work to reverse damage and promote tissue and hair regeneration.
While the oil packs a powerful odor that is offensive to some (commonly compared to sulfur and peanut oil) our barn chooses to use neem oil over medicated shampoos because we’ve found it be just as effective with better, healthier results.
For isolated trouble spots along the pastern or cannon bone that frequently come into contact with wet grass and moisture, you can apply a generous amount non-diluted neem oil directly onto the legs by massaging it into the scabs.
This works great for treating the area but also as a preventative for future outbreaks.
For full body breakouts, add a generous amount of neem oil to warm water and shake in a spray bottle to combine.
Liberally spray the solution to the entirety of the body and brush in with a gentle curry or body brush.
Apply every other day or until the condition improves.
Not only will this help treat the infection but it will promote hair growth so your four-legged friend isn’t left bald or with dry, irritated skin that is common when using harsh medicated products.
Using Pure Neem Oil On Your Horse
Pure neem oil is highly concentrated and as a result, should only be used in very small amounts. It helps to treat horse skin and coats and heals inflammations and other disturbances of the skin.
Additionally, you can utilize the oil as a preventative measure against mosquito bites. Often, neem oil is manufactured with other essential oils but pure neem oil is not mixed with anything else and will need a carrier oil such as coconut oil or tea tree oil when applying it to horses.
Typically, an owner would trickle small drops on the horse’s coat and rub them in with a little cloth. Because of how concentrated the product is, doing this just once or two times a week is enough for horses to benefit from the oil’s positive effects.
Neem oil is water-repellent and even if there is heavy rainfall or precipitation, the neem oil will still stay on the horse and benefit their skin. Using the product undiluted can be tricky in the winter as the oil works much like coconut oil and will solidify in cooler weather. To bring it back to a liquid state, simply run warm water over the bottle for a few minutes and voila- the oil is liquified and ready to use!
Shampooing Horses With Neem Oil
If you have just returned from a long, tiring ride in the summer with your horse, there’s perhaps no better feeling than taking a nice shower for both the horse and the ride! While just water may suffice for most horses, going the extra mile in taking care of your horse’s coat and skin will be the use of a neem oil based shampoo.
A shampoo with neem oil can give off a natural shine and make the horse’s coat nice and sleek. On top of that, a neem oil shampoo rinse can inhibit any organisms living on your hoses skin and help cure up conditions like rain rot, mud fever, and other curious bumps or lumps that crop up. Use as part of your regular grooming regimen to keep your horse’s skin and coat healthy, shiny, and moisturized.
Then, start washing your horse with water and shampoo and use a small sponge to carefully massage in the neem oil shampoo.
Allow the shampoo to soak for 5 to 10 minutes to maximize the full healing and nourishing benefit. We recommend to generally use a small dose of neem oil because a little really does go a long way.
Beyond pet care, neem oil has a number of organic gardening and home-care uses that were not mentioned in this article.
Neem oil is truly one of nature’s hidden gems as it’s a highly effective and affordable solution to a number of ailments and benefits horses, dogs, and people too!