Encourage healthy mane and tail growth with this nourishing DIY mane and tail conditioner recipe for horses, mules and donkeys. It’s easy to make, smells amazing, and is a great gift for your horse loving friends. You can even use it on yourself 😉
My life with essential oils, aromatherapy and natural living started thanks to a very ill dog we adopted named Buddy. His life threatening allergies threw me into to this world, and led me a on path with animals that has changed my life. That life change included following my dreams and building an incredible equine assisted therapies program, as well as my equine guided meditation and coaching practice here on my farm.
It also meant I have a pile of horses to keep in holistic balance without the use of harsh chemical grooming and care products. It’s important not only for the horses well being, but also for my clients as most were medically fragile young children at the time.
If you have horses, mules or donkeys you know how important it is to keep tails and manes in good health. They aren’t just a pretty way for us to indulge our My Little Pony loving selves!
A horse’s mane provides insulating warmth to the neck when it is cold, and cooling shade when it is hot. It also functions as a protective barrier against predators who will have to bite through mane to get to the neck. I don’t know about you, but all functioning stops when I get hair in my mouth! ha! A long and healthy forelock acts as a fly bonnet and keeps the eyes shaded from the sun.
If you’ve been to my farm you know that I am am a little obsessive over my horses tails. Only trusted volunteers and interns are permitted to care for their tails. Brushes as rarely if ever used unless we come out to mess on our hands.
Like the mane, a horses tail provides protection from biting insects. A long lush tail is almost constantly in motion, even if we don’t see it. The tiniest movement can be enough to disrupt the air flow around a horse and divert biting insects like mosquitos. A big swish and swat can keep the bigger pests like horse flies at bay. For larger predators, an attack on a horse will nearly always come from behind. the tail serves as barrier, with the predator grabbing that first. If you’ve ever been hit hard with a horses tail then you know how powerful it can be when they choose to let loose with it, and they are capable of easily swinging a predator off with it if they have to.
But the tail structure also functions as a rudder and balance mechanism, and be an incredible source of information regarding the overall health of our equine partners. It is used to communicate physical and emotional states not only between the horse and rider, but amongst its herd mates. The condition of the tail can give us indications of dietary imbalances or underlying illnesses. Tail position can tell us if our horse has a neurological or mechanical balance issue requiring further investigation from our veterinary or chiropractic team.
Mane and Tail Health
Considering how important both are to the wellness of our horses, and how much fun it is to spend time grooming them and making them look and feel their best, it only makes sense that you’d want to use products that are as safe and natural as possible.
I used another product for years because it was the only product on the market that had ingredients I knew to be somewhat clean and safe. But it wasn’t until I had a horse with some serious tangles that I realized how absolutely horrid most conditioning sprays and detanglers out there are when it comes to ingredients which include alcohol, silicone, chemical preservatives and more.
Supporting mane and tail health holistically
Bear in mind that these products are designed to fix a problem, rather than prevent a problem from happening in the first place, which is always our goal when thinking holistically.
If you’ve every struggled with the health of your own hair and nails you’ve probably already discovered that all the products in the world can only do so much. Like horses, our own hair is an indicator of our overall health and wellness. When we are stressed out, not eating right, not resting enough, and unhappy it will physically manifest in our hair. The same goes for your horses. While my recipe is an amazing tool, it works even better when it is used on a healthy, happy horse to begin with!
A balanced diet appropriate for your horses needs, including environment, breed, and activity level is your first line of defense. Horses are grazing animals and everything about them has developed and evolved for fresh forage, seasonal changes, and consistent free choice browsing and grazing.
For example, horses need a healthy balance of essential fatty acids just as much as we do. They also need lots of vitamin E, which plays a vital role in neuromuscular development and health. 1000-2000 IU per day is recommended for an average 1000 pound horse. They receive what they would normally need from daily grazing on fresh, nourishing pastures with mixed grasses, grains and legumes. But for most horse owners 24/7/365 perfect pasture keeping isn’t an option.
According to Carrie Finno, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine(1), horses with with a vitamin E deficiency can be at risk for several conditions. These can include equine motor neuron disease (EMND), vitamin E deficient myopathy (VEM), equine neuroaxonal dystrophy/equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (eNAD/EDM), as well as overall muscle soreness and poor athletic performance. Whether or not a horse develops any of these conditions depends on a host of different factors including how deficient the horse actually is, genetics, and when it occurs during the horses life.
Meeting our Horses Needs Holistically
Unfortunately, even high quality hay , forage based products and fortified feeds will come up short in meeting the horses needs for essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which makes supplementation a must. Vitamin E and essential fatty acids lose their strength and efficiency over time, which means hay especially will continually lose its nutritive value over time.
To help combat this loss from the inside, my horses receive freshly ground flax seed each morning and evening, and Elevate Vitamin E supplement from Kentucky Equine Performance. To address it from the outside, I use a gentle and nourishing ingredient spray to promote healthy hair and skin, and function as a natural detangling product.
Nourishing Mane and Tail Conditioner for Horses, Mules and Donkeys
When writing this post I was on the fence about including the recipe that follows. This is a recipe I have used and played with since 2008, and recently updated and am even more thrilled with it than ever. For my equine body and energy work and coaching clients, this is a version of the mist I used to make for you. I’ve shared it recently with most of you, but in case you didn’t receive it, here it is 😉
Before you get to the recipe, I must share the following caveats:
- It is absolutely vital that you only use essential oils that are of exceptional quality such as Young Living. The oils are what make this blend so effective so using inferior oils from big box stores and online retailers will not be as effective and could actually be harmful as they are often adulterated with chemical fragrances and produced with chemical solvents and other not so wonderful things. It defeats the purpose of using natural products if the product you’re using isn’t natural, right?
- Stick with the number of drops and don’t make substitutions. Using more is a waste of oils and could be harmful to your horse. When it comes to essential oils, less is always best!
- If your horse is pregnant please skip the rosemary.
- If you are competing in FEI sanctioned events please not that Lavender is not permitted.
If you don’t want to attempt to make this for yourself, I will happily send you the essential oils, coconut oil and ACV you need to make a 16 ounce bottle, mixed with love and care in an amber glass bottle. When you receive it all you need to do is add it along with distilled water in a 16 ounce sprayer bottle. The cost is $20 including shipping in the US, and I will donate $15 to Sunkissed Acres Equine Rescue in Georgia, which we have worked closely with since 2008 to give abused, neglected and retiring horses new lives as cherished therapy horses.
Buying the oils as a Young Living wholesale member is also an option, and you’ll have what you need to make more than 16 sprayers! If you’re not a member, just message me and I’ll give you the easiest and most affordable option, but it’s easier if I walk you through it 😉
So here it is, the recipe, magical Unicorn Mane and Tail Mist!
This recipe uses Animal Scents Puriclean which is a wonderful and versatile blend made specifically for animal use. Puriclean helps cleanse minor scrapes and scratches, and contains the skin-improvement properties of Patchouli and Mountain Savory.
The remaining oils are Lavender, which is a wonderful for soothing and calming the skin. Then Rosemary which can promote healthy hair growth. Cedarwood can help protect against hair loss, dryness, and bugs dislike it. And last but not least is the Eucalyptus which has insect repellent properties.
- 15 drops Animal Scents Puriclean essential oil blend
- 10 drops Lavender essential oil
- 10 drops Cedarwood essential oil
- 10 drops Rosemary essential oil
- 5 drops Eucalyptus Blue or Radiata essential oil
- 1 tsp Thieves Dishwashing soap or plain castile soap
- 1/4 cup organic fractionated Coconut Oil
- 1/4 cup organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother!)
- Distilled water to fill the bottle to the rim
- 16-ounce glass spray bottle
1. Add the essential oils, coconut oil, ACV and soap to the bottle.
2. Fill the rest of the bottle with water.
3. Add a label (I use thin white paint pens) to spray bottle.
4. Shake vigorously before use; then lightly spray on manes and tails, working it through with your fingers before combing or brushing.
For extra support, replace the water with steeped chamomile or calendula tea.
This recipe has been developed using Young Living Essential Oils and I cannot say how it will perform with substitutions or other brands.
If you would like to purchase the following oils retail, simply click the links below, and at checkout enter my distributor number #24385080. If you would like to purchase them wholesale, contact me and I will help you get signed up!