just wondered iff anyone had any experence of poisoning by mares tail' horse tail' I have lots in my winter field and have a young mare who we are currantly trying to find out why she is not well' she is not really ill but just not well' lethargic and no happy' she is eating well though' the first blood test came back with a low white blood cell count' the second one shows that this is now normal but she is still the same in herself' her coat shines and she is not aneomic' she looks odd as her ribs show but she is not thin otherwise'
I know its considered poisonous but in Scotland where I used to live the local vet told me not to worry about it as they needed to consume mega amounts for very long periods, (still sprayed it off though) Here in Lincs. the soil is a haven for it, and again 2 vets here have indicated not to overly worry but I still do, so i get it sprayed of by farmer each year as it comes back again. Even when a friend hayed some by mistake the vet told her not to worry. Yet every book I read says POISON. Sorry not that this really helps you with your question. Hope your mare improves soon.
We wondered if that is what helped my old pony on his way. He was kept in a field next to the road and was always leaning over the fence to eat the verge (the field was full of good grass!) He didn't respect electric fencing at all, so he kept leaning... Now he has been gone for a couple of years, the verge is full of mares tail.
It's definitely poisonous to horses, I've seen studies where up to 20% in the hay caused poisoning. Animals, especially horses, are more susceptible than humans (it's used as a herbal remedy for people sometimes). Apparently removing the horses from the source of the poisoning can reverse the effects. Basically there are some toxic alkaloids in it that destroy thiamine and have a negative effect on the nervous system. I have some at the bottom of our field where it's damp which is why I did the research on it. I don't cut hay from that area and it's fenced off from the horses. We're planting some trees on it instead (to help dry it up) and we're having our veggie patch down there too.
thanks for your replies' I too read that 40 or so years ago horses died of eating it, as it was more palatable in hay, and the fields were not drained like now so more got in hay. I do feed her dandelion and rose hips as these are high in thiamin' which is what the enzime in Horse tail depleats' the only thing that does not ring true about the poisoning is that it says the horses loses its appetite which is not true with her' she can't get enough food but is still ribby' anyway she seems a bit better today'