Plants Toxic to Horses

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By Rachel

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Horses love to graze, but not all plants are safe for them. Some plants can be lethal, causing mild digestive problems or even neurological issues. Yikes! Common toxic plants include red maple trees, buttercups, black walnut trees, and wild cherry trees. So, it’s essential to keep your horses away from these harmful plants. Regularly inspect your pastures, provide plenty of hay and feed, and use fencing to keep your horses safe.

Plants Toxic to Horses: A Guide to Horse Health and Nutrition

As a horse enthusiast, I know firsthand how important it is to keep our equine friends healthy and happy. One of the most crucial aspects of horse care is ensuring they have a proper diet, which includes avoiding plants that are toxic to horses. In this article, we’ll dive into the topic of plants toxic to horses and how it affects their health and nutrition.

What are the dangers of plants toxic to horses?

Horses are natural grazers, and they tend to eat whatever is in their path. However, some plants can be dangerous and even deadly to horses. Toxic plants can cause a range of symptoms, from mild digestive upset to severe neurological issues, and in some cases, death. It’s crucial to be aware of the plants that can harm horses and to take steps to prevent them from accessing them.

Common plants toxic to horses

There are several plants that are toxic to horses, and some of the most common include:

Red Maple Trees

Red maple trees are beautiful to look at, but their leaves can be deadly to horses. When wilted or dried, the leaves contain a toxin that can damage horses’ red blood cells, leading to anemia and potentially death.

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Buttercups are a common sight in fields and pastures, but they are toxic to horses. When ingested, they can cause mouth sores, diarrhea, and colic.

Black Walnut Trees

Black walnut trees are another common plant that can be toxic to horses. When horses eat the shavings or bark from these trees, they can develop laminitis, a painful and potentially life-threatening condition.

Wild Cherry Trees

Wild cherry trees are beautiful, but their leaves and bark contain a toxin that can cause respiratory distress, convulsions, and even death in horses.

Preventing access to toxic plants

Preventing horses from accessing toxic plants is crucial for their health and well-being. Here are some tips for keeping your horses safe:

Inspect pastures and fields regularly

Regularly inspecting pastures and fields can help you identify any toxic plants and remove them before your horses have a chance to ingest them.

Provide plenty of hay and feed

Providing your horses with plenty of hay and feed can help keep them from grazing on potentially toxic plants.

Use fencing to keep horses away from toxic plants

Using fencing to keep horses away from toxic plants can be an effective way to prevent them from accessing them.


In conclusion, being aware of the plants toxic to horses is crucial for their health and nutrition. As horse owners, it’s our responsibility to ensure our equine friends have a safe and healthy environment to live in. Regularly inspecting pastures and fields, providing plenty of hay and feed, and using fencing to keep horses away from toxic plants are all effective ways to prevent them from accessing harmful plants. By taking these steps, we can help keep our horses healthy and happy for years to come.

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