Fall is a beautiful time of year, especially when you’re living on a farm or pasture. The changing leaves create stunning, vibrant landscapes, and the crisp temperatures are perfect for apple picking and horseback riding. If you own horses though, you also need to consider what the fall season means for your animals.
You may assume autumn is an optimal time of year for your horse’s health, since you don’t have to worry about intense summer heat or freezing winter temperatures. Unfortunately, hidden dangers to your horse’s safety lurk in one of the very staples of a fall landscape—fallen leaves.
Many fall leaves are toxic to horses.
Leaves from certain types of trees contain toxins that are poisonous if your horse ingests them. In fall, the risk becomes even higher as leaves begin to wilt and toxin levels rise during the process. As leaves fall onto your pasture or are blown in from neighboring properties, your horse may eat them while they graze. Sometimes, dried leaves can even be accidentally rolled into bales of hay.
Toxic fall leaves can often be fatal for a horse, by causing kidney problems, gastrointestinal issues, and destroying red blood cells. When autumn leaves begin to fall, be vigilant about raking the lands your horse grazes and occupies. Types of leaves that are toxic for horses include:
- Red Maple
- Eastern Black Walnut
- Cherry, Plum, and other fruit trees from the Prunus family
Even if they’re not a toxic species, eating too many fall leaves can be dangerous to your horse in other ways too.
If they eat too many dense leaves and other dry vegetation often found on your landscape during this season, the material can get stuck in a horse’s esophagus. A horse with its head hung, saliva discharging from its mouth, or feed discharging from its nostrils is choking and should be given immediate medical attention.
Similarly, dry or built-up leaves can get stuck in your horse’s digestive tract too. Gastrointestinal blockages can cause impaction colic, which results in abdominal pain and other issues. Especially if a horse is not drinking enough water, they are at a higher risk of blockage.
At Deer Creek Structures, we’re as committed to the good health and wellbeing of your horses as you are. That’s why our prefab stables and custom-built horse barns are designed and constructed with expert craftsmanship and top-quality materials, to stand strong and protect your horses for a lifetime.
Contact us today to learn more about our premier horse structures!