Equine Poisonous Plants
Do you know which plants are poisonous to horses?
Ragwort is one of the most common poisonous plants to horses. It contains toxic compounds that when eaten, whether fresh or a dead plant, can cause poisoning which damages the liver.
All paddocks that your horse grazes in should be regularly checked for ragwort and any ragwort found should be removed and disposed of carefully, usually by burning rather than throwing away.
Ragwort is easiest to remove when at the rosette stage. The rosette stage is during its first year of growth where the roots aren't quite as tough and its leaves look irregular with jagged edges. If possible, you should pull ragwort after it has rained when the ground is soft to ensure that the entire plant is removed including the roots.
Foxgolves are another common poisonous plant that should be picked and destroyed. If your horse has foxglove poisoning they might show symptoms such as weakness, difficulty breathing and seizures. As foxgloves prefer to grow in the shade you should check in the hedgerows and under any trees in or around your horse’s paddock. Foxgloves have bright purple bell-shaped flowers once grown.
Always remember to wear gloves when handling poisonous plants as they can irritate your skin. For further advice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org