Plants poisonous to horses?

Discussion in '2005 Archive of Posts' started by JaniceH, May 13, 2005.

  1. JaniceH

    JaniceH New Member

    Alongside the whole length of our third garden (of the cottage we are soon moving to, not there yet) is a horse paddock. :D :D It is owned and maintained (quite nicely actually :d) by a house that is a bit up the road. Between the post and rail of their paddock and our garden is about a metre of ground which will belong to us. At the moment our boundaries are marked by a few trees, hawthorn, greengage trees, a walnut tree, weeds, nettles and unidentified plants. (see pic) We will put in fencing as soon as we can afford it but my problem is that as the horses are eating their paddock they are also stretching under their post and rail and eating whats in the gap and the tips of the trees that they can reach that are in our garden. (it also means that if any horse was to try and jump the post and rail at the end of their paddock,they would end up in our garden!)

    I am obviously concerned (as any horse lover would be) that they might be eating something that is poisonous to them as the owner of our soon to be cottage has not done anything at all to this part of the garden. So until it all comes into flower we cant be sure that this part of the garden is not full of ragwort So one of our first jobs we have to do when we move in, is walk that part of the boundary and remove any thing that would do them any harm. The present owner of our cottage did say to us in all seriousness, 'I did ask the horse owners if they wanted the grass clippings, after all the horses eat grass all the time, but they didnt want them, perhaps you should ask them again when you move in' .....eeerrr no :eek: :eek:

    Has anyone got a definitive list of what is harmful to horses? I know about Ragwort and Rhododendron, but what else?

    Heres a pic, this post and rail goes down the whole side of our third garden, its about 100feet long.

  2. Silver1

    Silver1 New Member

    Black walnut is VERY bad for horses, I don't know about the others though.
  3. diplomaticandtactful

    diplomaticandtactful Well-Known Member

    List from my vet book is

    deadly nightshade
    black nightshade
    st johns wort
    bog asphodel
    lily of the valley
    bulbs of daffodil, hyacinth snowdrop and bluebell
    greater celandine
    alder buckthorn
    hemlock water dropwort
    white bryony
    meadow saffron
    herb paris
    black bryony

    if you are able to identify all of these these you are a better gardner than i am
  4. Zingy

    Zingy New Member

    Yew I think is the one to really watch out for. It kills fast - often while it's still in their mouth :eek: Ragwort and foxgloves are very noticable if you have them - those you want to get rid of asap, also bracken. Oak itself is ok, but acorns are poisonous, so best bet is to fence off oak trees when they're dropping acorns. Buttercups are low level poisonous (they'd have to eat a heck of a lot of them) and they taste quite bitter so horses tend not to bother - hence no major paranoia from horse owners about fields of buttercups.

    Those are the only ones I really know about. No idea what yew looks like though.

    Does anyone know if lilac bushes are poisonous? Got something in my field that looks a bit like it - oval pointy leaves and bunches of something that looks like it would flower into white things.

    As a suggestion (don't mean to hijack Janice!), mods, would it be worth putting something like this as a sticky or something for the summer at least? There's always a lot of 'is this poisonous' threads over summer so it could be useful to have it all in one place where a lot of info could be referred to?
  5. diplomaticandtactful

    diplomaticandtactful Well-Known Member

    yew trees can be seen as a hedge (or within a hedge) or as a standard specimen tree.

    they are very slow growing. their leaves are very similar to a Christmas tree, but a deeper green with a glossy finish. They often have red berries. The trunk is a very dark brown bark and can grow very thick and they can reach telephone wire height and are a very large mop headed tree (but to be that height they would be about 200 years old).

    They were traditionally planted in churchyards to stop grazing as they are so lethal, -all parts of the tree, bark, berries and leaves, are fatal with one mouthful. We have one opposite our field and two in our back yard all with preservation orders on them.

    The horses have grazed for 12 years here without incident, but occasionally you almost die of fright as a bird may drop a piece in the field, or foxes/rabbits other animals pass the berries in their manure in the field. When the tree is in berry I have to be very vigilant.

    Most horses die of heart failure/siezure if they eat yew - it is an instant death. I have learnt, over the years, to try not to be paranoid about it. They tend to be grown mainly on chalk downland which is where we are and in our village there are about 40 of the blighters!
  6. JaniceH

    JaniceH New Member

    Goodness Big Ears :eek: More delicate than they look, these horses, with all those poisonous things!!!

    I know for definate that there is no
    lily of the valley
    bulbs of daffodil, hyacinth snowdrop and bluebell

    Having children and working in a nursery, I can spot most of the common 'poisonous to children' things so that will help. I think I had better buy myself a ragfork to get rid of any other nasty weeds, as we can't use weedkiller either.

    As for the others, I think I am going to have to get myself a jolly good wildflower identification manual!

    I think it would perhaps be a good idea to have a sticky with these, on, as well as perhaps a different countries around the world section, as there are lots of plants around the world that are just as toxic.

    Oh deep joy, now why did moving to a 17th C cottage from a seven year old house seem appealing......

    Because instead of fairies at the bottom of the garden......I have horses :D
  7. TheHoglet

    TheHoglet ♥..luff my skitts..♥

    its very rare that any horse will eat somethin thats poisinus to them, so dont worry.
    my horse eats rhubarb, dock leaves and nettles which grow in our feild :p amd he is fine!
  8. colouredcrazy

    colouredcrazy New Member

    Are thistles dangerous? Foxy loves them, and never seems to mind getting a prickly nose.
  9. Zingy

    Zingy New Member

    No, they're just a pain and take up grazing land!
  10. colouredcrazy

    colouredcrazy New Member

    We don't have any grass yet anyway, thistles are the only things that can survive it I think!
  11. diplomaticandtactful

    diplomaticandtactful Well-Known Member

    thistles aren't a problem our donkeys love them

    probably the only really bad ones are bracken, nightshade, yew, ragwort and worst of all grass clippings....
  12. virtuallyhorses

    virtuallyhorses NZ TB owner

    Unfortunately this isn't true and its a very irresponsible way to think. Certainly SOME toxic plants are bad tasting - but that is not a way to stop animals from being poisoned - many household products are bad tasting and kids are poisoned every day. Neither dock nor thistle are toxic, rhubarb however will affect kidney function so if your horse is eating rhubarb you must stop this immediately - he may seem fine, right up until the time he dies of kidney damage. :(
  13. virtuallyhorses

    virtuallyhorses NZ TB owner

    oh and other things to add to your list

    caster bean plant
    tomatoes - same as potato any green bits
  14. Mama Bear

    Mama Bear New Member

    More poisonous plants for horses

    Angel's trumpet
    flamingo lily
    arbor vitae
    autumn crocus
    apple, apricot, cherry, peach (all but fruit)
    alder buckthorn
    blue cohosh
    broom snakeweed
    black locust
    california buckeye
    calla lily
    carolina jessamine
    All euphorbias (spurges)
    Chinese lantern
    coral plant
    some daisies
    death camus
    devil's backbone (kalanchoe)
    Dutchman's breeches
    European spindle tree
    false hellebore
    field horsetail
    golden trumpet
    grass pea
    greater celandine
    glory lily
    gopher plant
    ground ivy
    golden chain

    This a partial list from my book, I can add more later...for now, off to pick up Silver.

    Mama Bear
  15. virtuallyhorses

    virtuallyhorses NZ TB owner

    Yep, basically Horses and human gardens full of flowers and exotic plants don't mix :)
  16. Bay Mare

    Bay Mare

    Does anyone know about 'Cleavers' (also known as 'Goose Grass'). It's the (annoying) plant that leaves the small 'sticky buds' on your clothes. I know that it's used in Ayurvedic and Herbal medicine so presume that it's edible but can the 'buds' be eaten or is just the plant? (Still talking horses here, not for me :)).
  17. Mama Bear

    Mama Bear New Member


    Cleavers are used mostly for skin problems and as a tonic. There are some possible problems for horses, but as a rule, they shouldn't be toxic. Cleavers contains coumerins, which are blood thinners. They also contain a small amount of salycilic acid (aspirin), which can add to the blood thinning effect. Horses already taking blood thinners, who are prone to bleeding or are on medications that have that sort of effect could have problems.

    In medicine, it's usually used directly on the skin, in either tea or tincture form.
  18. Bay Mare

    Bay Mare

  19. shandy84

    shandy84 New Member

    Too many buttercups can cause colic also ivy if eaten to any large amount can bring out hives and colic, if yu wanted to know the early signs of ragwort let me know and I'll bring you a piece from my field got a couple of bunches that need to be pulled, but it is better to get it no or at least before it seeds as otherwise it acts like rabbits on heat :eek:
  20. dancing-horse

    dancing-horse Member


    Oak-because of the acorns (they can cause colic)
    Flower and fruit of the deadly nightshade
    Berries of the yew tree

    Make sure that no fields surrounding you have poisnous plants because the spores from those plants can fly into your field and Wa La, you have a field full of plants that are harmful to your horse. So, watch out for these. I don't have a picture, but im usre if you look them up you will have a better chance of identifiying them.

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