It looks like El Nino is coming, and so after several years of abundant pasture, we're now heading into a period of dry, which means horses might start to forage more broadly than they have for the past few years.
Australia is home to several plants and trees that can be toxic to horses. Here are 5 trees found everywhere in Australia that are known to be poisonous to horses:
1. Oleander (Nerium oleander) - This ornamental shrub contains cardiac glycosides, which are highly toxic to horses.
2. Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) - Consumption of boxwood leaves can lead to gastrointestinal distress and other health problems in horses. This plant is ubiquitous as a hedge, but definitely one to avoid on your property.
3. Castor Bean (Ricinus communis) - The seeds of the castor bean plant are highly toxic to horses if ingested. This will often pop up spontaneously, so make sure you dispose of saplings as soon as they appear.
4. White Cedar (Melia azedarach) - All parts of the white cedar tree are toxic to horses and can cause colic and other symptoms. This tree is a very attractive ornamental widely planted, so be vigilant.
5. Poinciana (Delonix regia) - The seeds and pods of the poinciana tree can be harmful to horses if consumed in large quantities. This is another popular ornamental tree with very pretty red flowers. If your neighbour as this tree, be quick to rake up pods and dispose. This is also toxic to dogs.
While it's great to provide shade trees and wind breaks in your paddock, it's crucial for horse owners and caretakers in Australia to be familiar with the local vegetation and ensure that their horses are not exposed to any potentially toxic plants or trees. These species are readily available at your local nursery or Bunnings store, so it's up to you to choose wisely when it comes to planting in your pasture.