Equine Nutrition and Health Services Blog

Horse Safe Gardens and Landscaping

April 12, 2013

Spring is here and it’s time to get our gardens and landscaping started up again. Now is a good time to think about what should and should not be planted in gardens where horses also reside. Many plants and shrubs are toxic to horses.  Even some fruits and veggies should be kept away from hungry horses.  Here is a list of some of the vegetation to avoid in and around horse pastures and in gardens:

• Red Maples
• Cabbage, broccoli, onions, chives, kale, elderberry, pokeweed, and rhubarb
• Bouncing bet, corn cockle, and English ivy.
• Prairie groundsel, rattle box (Crotalaria), and kochia (fireweed)
• St.-John's-wort
• Milkweed, dogbane, oleander, yew, lily-of-the-valley, white snakeroot, azalea,  rhododendron species and purple foxglove
• Japanese yew , oleander,  and white snakeroot
• Castor Beans, hydrangea, and larkspur
• Wild black cherry, chokecherry, Black Walnut
• plum and peach
• Sorghum, hemlock
• Tomatoes and Potatoes
• Horse Chestnut

Many different parts of a plant can be poisonous, and some poisonous plants have multiple parts that can cause problems. Some plants are poisonous to horses only when they are fresh, while others are poisonous only after they have died or are dried out. Some plants are poisonous both fresh and dried.
The most common parts of the plant that are poisonous are:


Lawn and garden clippings can contain several hazards. Pesticides applied to lawns and gardens to control pests and weeds may be toxic too, even if it was sprayed on the previous season. Fresh cut and semi-wilted plant material can cause colic and laminitis due to fermentation and high levels of sugars and fructans. Horses may bolt lawn grass clippings because no chewing is involved and they can swallow large amounts at once.  This can lead to choke and colic. Put lawn and garden waste into your composter or manure pile, not over the fence into your horse’s pasture.

If you suspect your horse has eaten a plant that is poisonous, immediately call your veterinarian and ask what to do for your horse until they get there. If the poisonous plant is located in or near a pasture that other horses have access to, remove the horses from the pasture until the plant can be removed.


Let's Talk About....Manure!!

September 15, 2012
Let’s Talk About Manure!

A frank discussion about horse manure and the obsession horse owners have with it!

Dr. Amy M Gill

Horse manure is one the most widely scrutinized “by-product” of horse husbandry.  Owners, trainers and barn managers are all too acutely aware of the consistency of the manure the horses in their care produce.  And with good reason.  The texture, odor and frequency of manure production can tell a lot about the general health and well being of a horse...
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Protein & Amino Acids in the Equine Diet

August 23, 2012
Proteins are sometimes called the building blocks of life, and when new tissues are made, large amounts of dietary protein are required. The stages in an animal’s life when new tissues are extensively manufactured are:
  • Growth
  • Lactation
  • Pregnancy
Proteins are composed of units called amino acids. Proteins are synthesized from available amino acids that are ingested or synthesized by the horse and are used to build muscle and bone, blood components, enzymes that catalyze biochemical reactions, ho...
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Alfalfa & the Equine Diet – Its Uses and Benefits

August 14, 2012
For horses, the sweet smell and green, leafy look of alfalfa is hard to resist. While horses love the taste of this forage, it often comes with a variety of myths and misconceptions that lead horse owners to under utilize this valuable forage in their horse’s diet. While alfalfa is usually fed as forage, it is also available in cubes and chopped form and is commonly included in pelleted concentrate rations and supplements. Adding alfalfa to your horse’s ration provides excellent-quality p...
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Equi-Palm™ – Alternative Energy Source for Horses

August 3, 2012
The energy or calorie requirement of the horse is one of the most commonly analyzed factors of performance. Horses that compete in energy-oriented competitions need the proper amount of fuel to perform at their best, whether it is racing, eventing, or endurance riding. Often times when the topic of energy sources comes up, carbohydrates are considered the main source of energy. While carbohydrates play an important role in the production of energy, other sources, such as fat, should not be ig...
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Why Do Horses Eat Dirt?

July 24, 2012
One of the most frequently asked question from my clients is “Why does my horse want to eat dirt? Is he missing something in his diet?” Well, the question can be answered several ways, as there is not one particular reason why horses engage in this perfectly natural activity. Horses are supposed to eat a certain amount of dirt on a daily basis. Therefore, I will give several explanations as to why horses eat dirt from time to time and hopefully put to rest any fear an owner may have when ...
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Exercising and Training Horses in Hot Weather

July 17, 2012
As the summer temperatures rise, heat and humidity become an issue for those trying to exercise and train horses without putting both horse and rider in danger of becoming dehydrated, fatigued or suffer from heat stress. Madalyn Ward, DVM in Holistic Horsekeeping provides this advice when trying to decide to ride or not in high heat and humidity:  “Luckily, there are simple ways that you can help your horse stay cool during hot humid weather. During these weather conditions, the first thing...
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Equine Probiotics for Digestive Health – EquiOtic™

July 9, 2012
The horse’s digestive tract is delicate system and often the rigors of training, showing, traveling, and the stresses of injury and illness, can cause disruption of normal function. As discussed in our blog post “Supporting Equine Digestion – Intestinal Micro-organisms for Healthy Gut Function”, one of the best ways to support and maintain a healthy equine digestive tract is to provide it with healthy microbes through the use of probiotics. Equine probiotic supplements on today’s ma...
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Supporting the Equine Immune System – Beta-Stim™

July 2, 2012
From time to time all horses can benefit from an immune boost and Beta-Stim™, a novel and unique equine immune supplement, is effective at helping the horse fend off bacterial and viral infection when exposure occur.

Beta-Stim™ contains Beta-1,3/1,6 D-glucan (also known as Beta Glucan) from purified yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) which is clinically proven to activate the immune system by stimulating production and activation of macrophages, the natural pathogen scavenger in the horse. A...
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Feeding and Managing Horses in Hot, Dry Weather

June 20, 2012
Hot, dry weather is on the rise across the country and will continue throughout the summer months.   This type of environment poses challenges for horse owners in keeping their horses healthy and comfortable.  Keeping horses hydrated and cool are of paramount importance during hot, dry weather.

Water is needed by the horse for body fluid balance, digestive function and thermoregulation.  Lack of water is more rapidly fatal than lack of feed.  Therefore, utmost attention should be paid to water...
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