As with the majority of horse owners/keepers, I’m well-aware of the dangers of Ragwort. I also take great care to make sure my horses paddocks are as clean and well-tended as possible. I do this by poo-picking every day, and generally checking the fields each day – pulling out any docks, and making sure fencing is safe and in-tact. I try to rotate the grazing too so the fields don’t get over-grazed, and the grass has a chance to “recover”.
Despite all of these efforts though, Ragwort can still be a problem. Unfortunately it’s a fact that Ragwort can often be found growing on roadside verges, and the seeds from a Ragwort plant can be taken on the wind, and land some miles from where it started flying through the air!
In recent days, on checking my fields, I found a Ragwort plant in its “rosette stage”…..So perhaps not as easy to notice as when a plant gets mature with its yellow flowers. Is definitely a case of needing to look down when walking the fields, (and not just watching the horses)!
I have a special fork designed for removing Ragwort (and it’s pretty good for digging up docks too!), and wearing a pair of gloves to avoid any danger to me, I dug the offending plant up, and am pleased to say now that it’s been burnt on a fire. One less to worry about the horses eating.
I will continue to check the fields for any more Ragwort plants – as is definitely not worth the risk.
If you’re not sure why Ragwort is a problem, have a look at this article. Having had a rescued equine who died as a result of liver problems – probably from having eaten Ragwort at a younger age, I believe it’s something all horse, pony or donkey owners should be aware of and try and prevent their animal from having the chance to eat it.
Until next time,