- Buttercups are toxic – really toxic – but luckily they are bitter tasting and most horses won’t eat them. However, this can become a problem when your horse gets hungry from being in a sparse paddock with nothing to nibble – then the bitter taste may not matter so much.
- Dandelions are not toxic – but they are very high in sugars! With springtime grasses also high in sugars, this can become a real risk for the metabolically compromised horse.
- You should also watch out for cool mornings – temps below 40 degrees overnight create a spike in pasture sugars. Hot afternoons are also an issue – the same thing happens when temps warm up suddenly!
- Poison ivy – another non-poisonous one that can still cause some issues. Your horse can rub on the plant and transfer the oils to you.
- Leftover acorns are a problem because they are toxic AND delicious. While most oak trees shed their acorns in the fall, sometimes they can linger until spring, so watch out for those!
The solution to many of these is the keep plenty of fresh forage and clean water in front of your horse to distract them from expanding their diet into any unhealthy things. You can use BarnManager to create reminders to check on all these plants, and to get the word out to your team. To sign up for a free trial of BarnManager’s horse management software click here. Be safe out there and enjoy the warmer weather!