Common Ragwort (senecio jacobaea) is sometimes called Tansy though they are different plants. Ragwort is harmful to livestock. Horses and ponies tend to ignore the plant if it’s growing in their paddock, if they have preferred food available. ( it’s better not to take the risk though). The greater danger comes if it is cut in hay.The leaves contain several different alkaloids making it poisonous to certain animals (horses and ponies in particular), the poisons remain in the plants that have been dried for hay and then when eaten can cause damage to the liver.
However it does have it’s uses. There are 30 species of insect that feed exclusively on Ragwort, 7 of which are deemed nationally scarce. Caterpillars which feed on Ragwort absorb alkaloids from the plant therefore becoming distasteful to predators. Some of these caterpillars have been used as a biological control method in some parts of the world.
Tansy (tanacetum vulgare) is a herb although not often used as such in modern times, it was used in recipes in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and as a medical herb at least as far back as the 8th century AD. The ancient Greeks and Romans apparently regarded Tansy as a symbol of immortality. The Romans probably introduced it to the UK. It does look similar to Common Ragwort. And is toxic if consumed in large quantities.
There is a distinct difference in the smell of the crushed leaves of the two plants.
Tansy has a scent similar to that of camphor and perhaps a hint of Rosemary. While Ragwort has an unpleasant smell. It is known as Stinking Billy in some parts of Scotland due to it’s unpleasant odour, and Billy alluding to William, Duke of Cumberland infamously known as the Butcher.
Extracts From :- The Scottish Goverment Guidance On How To Prevent The Spread Of Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea).
Ragwort poisoning can be fatal in horses, as well as being damaging to other livestock. Ingestion of Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) either in its green or dried state, can cause serious liver damage,which can have tragic conseqences for both animals and owners. Signs that a horse has been poisoned by Ragwort are distressing and include haemorrhage, weight loss, loss of co-ordination, depression, seizures and coma. A horse suffering from Ragwort poisoning will be very sick and may be blind and disoriented. Common Ragwort is the only one of the five weeds covered by the Weeds Act 1959, which is harmful to equines and other animals. However in the right environment, and where there is no risk to animal welfare, Ragwort contributes to the biodiversity of the flora and fauna in the countryside. A detailed study of vegetation change published in 2006 shows that the distribution of Ragwort has not significantly changed over the last twenty years.
Under the Weeds Act 1959 the Scottish Minsters, if satisfied that Injurious weeds are growing upon any land, serve a notice requiring the occupier to take action to prevent the spread of those weeds. An unreasonable failure to comply with a notice is an offence.
Responsibility for control rests with the occupier of the land on which Ragwort is growing. This responsibility applies to Ragwort and other weeds speciefied under the Weeds Act. When seeking to prevent the spread of Ragwort in any particular area it is expected that all adjacent landowners, Occupiers and managers will c0-operate and, where necessary take a collective responsibility for ensuring that effective control of the spread of Ragwort is achieved. Where it is impossible to obtain co-operation the issue should be refered to the local Scottish Goverment Rural Payments and Inspections Directive Area Office.
Occupiers of all land, including uncultivated land, derelict areas and waste ground, should be vigilant for the presence of Ragwort. A notice under the Weeds Act 1959 can be served on landowners or land occupiers requiring them to control infestations of Ragwort to prevent them spreading. Particular vigilance is required where Ragwort poses a high risk to land used for grazing or forage production. Detection at an early stage will enable any potential problems to be more easily, safely and economically dealt with. The implementation of a control strategy will ensure that persistent problems are dealt with in a timely manner.
PLEASE NOTE ALL THE MATERIAL UNDER THE HEADING GENERAL INFO SHOULD BE REGARDED AS GENERAL INFORMATION. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.
Without magnesium (Mg) we and our horses would fall apart because it makes up about 0.05% of body mass whichis equivalent to 0.025kg in a 500kg horse. Sixty per cent is located in the skeleton (0.15kg) and without this mineral the bones would collapse. Around 30% is in the muscle and the rest is present in enzymes, blood, etc. Apart from being crucially important for skeletal integrity it is involved in many biochemical processes within the body . The absorption of this mineral from horse feeds has been measured to be in the range of 40 to 60% and the lower figure is used to estimate requirements so it is likely there will be an over supply. The daily dietary requirement is considered to be 15mg Mg/kg BW equivalent to 7.5g/day for a 500kg horse at maintenance. A magnesium energy ratio at maintenance (110mgMG/Mj digestible energy) is used to determine work magnesium requirements so that a horse in hard work consuming 140Mj would require 15.4g magnesium daily. It will be appreciated that racehorses of different body weight (say 450 to 525kg) will probably be fed the same amount of dietary energy and thus would receive the same amount of magnesium daily based on the above. This would seem somewhat anachronistic in view of the fact that requirement is supposedly related to body weight. It should also be noted that there are differences in opinion over the magnesium requirements for horses in work. It has been estimated for growing horses that 0.85 to 1.25g of magnesium is required per kg weight gain per day (in addition to maintenance needs) so that a 200kg foal gaining 1kg/day would need – 6g of magnesium daily. Milk magnesium levels are low, averaging 90mg Mg/kg milk in early lactation and falling to half this value in late lactation. In view of the fact that a mare in early lactation will be consuming – 2 x maintenance energy levels, background levels of magnesium in the dietary components used should ensure dietary adequacy. Thus, based on the foregoing, it is clear that magnesium is an essential nutrient for horses and , taking the example of a 500kg animal, the requirement will never exceed 15g/day irrespective of physiological status. The magnesium content of forages varies and is mostly between 0.2 and 0.3DM so our 500kg horse fed these forages would receive 12.5kg dry matter supplying between 25 and 37g magnesium daily which would be way in excess of need. Magnesium deficiency is extremely rare in the horse because plant sources are excellent suppliers of magnesium. furthermore magnesium toxicity is virtually unknown in the horse apart from that which may arise through the incorrect use of magnesium sulphate in cases of impaction colic. Thus one must then ask the question why would a horse require supplementary magnesium and what possible benefit could it be to the animal ?
Head shaking can be a serious problem for some horses. Professor John Madigan from the university of California, Davis recommends feeding 4 ounces of a commercial supplement ( a calmer ) that provides 20g magnesium as part of a therapeutic protocol for head shakers to raise the threshold for “firing” of the trigeminal nerve. He uses this product in conjunstion with melatonin and a homeopathic product. Apparently it can take 4 to 8 weeks before any improvement is noted. The product used by Professor Madigan was primarily a magnesium supplement that also claims to do several other things. Essentially it is meant for nervous/tense horses that have difficulty relaxing based on the fact that the mineral is involved in both nerve and muscle function. The rational behind this is what is known about the effects of severe magnesium deficiency evidenced by general nervousness, excitability, muscle tremors, and convulsions but no normal horse diet is magnesium deficient. The product is also believed to play a role in horses with Equine Metabolic Syndrome and insulin resistance. Chronically overweight horses and those prune to laminitis are said to benefit since it is considered that a mineral helps to maintain horses at an appropriate weight. Finally, the product is also supposed to provide relief to animals with sore muscles. However I fail to understand how the provision of – 2 x the basic maintenance magnesium requirement on top of a diet already adequate in magnesium can achieve these claimed functions. There is no scientific evidence to support a role for magnesium in treating insulin-resistant horses nor can it have any role in regulating body weight which as we know is controlled by the amount of food energy consumed.
A study reported in the Equine veterinary Journal in 2013 which was conducted at the University of Liverpool Veterinary School and funded by a supplement company assessed the efficacy of an unnamed feed supplement in alleviating the clinical signs of headshaking in 32 horses. The results showed that the supplement offered no benefit over a placebo in reducing the clinical signs of headshaking. What is particularly interesting is that the magnesium (quantity undisclosed) was a component of the supplement and that there was a proxy placebo effect ( owners beliefs based on knowing the animal is receiving a treatment ) when based on subjective owner perception of clinical signs. This means that owners reported a significant improvement during all axctivities for both placebo and supplement compared with pretreatment scores. This shows that reliance on anecdotal evidence ( owners views ) is flawed. The significant placebo effect measured, stresses the need for properly conducted, randomized controlled trials, with blinding to asses true treatment effects. When horse owners invest in a treatment they expect a positive result and thus see an improvement albeit that objective measures do not always support such a conclusion.
Very little is known about the potential benefits ( and risks come to that ) of supplements marketed as calming agents. There have been very few scientific studies and the reported benefits are mostly anecdotal. These products usually contain several ingredients and one of the most common apart from magnesium is thiamine (B1) a member of the B complex of vitamins. The rational for its inclusion is similar to that of magnesium in that B1 deficiency is associated with brain dysfunction (convulsions) and thus people seem to think that a large dose might reduce excitability and anxiety in horses. Fortunately large doses of B1 are not harmful to the animal although they may have a negative effect on the bank balance. The use of calming supplements irrespective of what they contain appeals to horse owners who want a quick fix for an excitable/ difficult to manage horse. However I would propose that owners should re-evaluate their feeding programme and management of their horse.
Our removal of horses from a natural diet and normal way of life are causal of the behaviours that we often witness. We regard the resultant activities as aberrant but in fact they are the responses of the animal to the situation we place them in. Most obviously horses should be allowed to consume fibre-rich feed ad libitum in an environment where they can interact with other horses and exercise freely. Reducing quantities of starch fed and increasing fat intake may contribute to a more contented horse. Furthermore, your horse may be hot simply as a result of overfeeding, under work and isolation that no calmer can possibly reverse.
Finally, Dr Kathleen Crandell of Kentucky Equine Research has stated that ” People are feeding magnesium in therapeutic doses to calm a horse, and some say it reduces the thick , crestyneck and the risk of foundering in insulin-resistant horses but so far, there are no scientific studies supporting these claims, and are largely anecdotal.”I agree. Fortunately horses seem to have a high tolerance to excessive levels of dietry magnesium. It is indisputable that magnesium is a vital nutrient for all horses and ponies but, there is no evidence to show that supplementing magnesium beyond requirement has any measurable benefit.
This article was written by Dr Derek Cuddeford of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh. It was published in the March 2015 edition of Equi-Ads. www.equi-ads.com………….. www.shetlandponyscotland is grateful to both parties for their permission to reproduce the article.
THE ANIMAL WELFARE ACT 2006
It is your responsibility to fully understand your ponies welfare needs and what the law requires you to do to meet those needs.
The Animal welfare act 2006 requires you to ensure that any horse, pony, donkey or mule for which
you are responsible whether on a permanent or a temporary basis
Has a healthy diet.
Is able to behave normally.
Has appropriate company.
Has a suitable environment to live in
Is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
. A person could be responsible for an animal if they own it or are in charge of it. The owner has an on going responsibility for their animal even if another person is in charge of it. A parent or guardian of a child under 16 years old is responsible for any animal that is owned or cared for by the child. If an owner leaves an animal in the care of another person, it is the owner’s duty to ensure the keeper is competent and has the necessary authority to act in an emergency.
This information was taken from the Defra website where the contents of the Act can been seen in full. MW
Alphalpha ( Medicago Sativa ) or Lucerne as it is often called, is cultivated around the world as a forage crop. For equine use It is most commonly used as chopped hay or added into other feeds. Alphalpha probably originated in what is now Iran, it was mentioned by ancient Greek writers and the Romans. Early Chinese physicians used the leaves to treat digestive tract and kidney disorders. There are records of it being cultivated in Spain in the 13th century as being used in both fresh and dried forms. In the 16th century the Spanish colonizers introduced it to America for use as fodder for their horses, America is now the biggest producer.
Alphalpha contains protein, calcium and other minerals as well as vitamins in the B, C, D, E, and K groups. Being a legume ( a member of the pea family Fabaceae ) it has nitrogen fixing root nodules, producing a high protein feed and also increasing the soil nitrogen, but like other leguminous crops it contains phytoestrogens, which may cause reduced fertility when used as grazing.
ELECTRIC FENCING TERMINOLOGY
Volts Is the pressure behind the flow of electricity, it in effect pushes the electricity along the wire.
Amperage May also be referred to as amps, amphere hour or Ah. The higher the Ah the longer a battery will last between recharging. The higher the Ah the more intense the shock will feel.
Joules Is the amount of electricity available to be pushed down the wire, and is the measurement of shock felt. This will also be described as stored joules.
Ohms Is the measurement of resistance, the thinner the wire as in poly wire or tape the more the resistance. Therefore thicker wire would be better over a longer distance.
If an insufficient earth is used the whole system becomes inefficient or ineffective. A galvanised earth stake is best. If the ground is dry the current flows less easily than it would in wet conditions, so the use of additional earth stakes maybe necessary, spaced approximately two metres apart and joined with a cable.
A BASIC SUMMARY OF COLOUR DEFINITIONS
BLACK :- Black throughout other than small white markings.
CHESTNUT :- Reddish brown colour, includes, golden, liver, and mahogany.
BAY :- Light reddish brown to very dark brown, with black mane, tail and lower legs.
GREY :- White/grey or mixed dark and white coat.
FLEA BITTEN GREY :- White/grey coat wth dark flicks throughout.
DAPPLE GREY :- A dark coloured coat with lighter grey hairs scattered throughout.
DUN :- Tan coat (yellow dun) with black or dark mane, tail, legs and dorsal stripe.
ROAN :- (red roan) Chestnut coat with white hairs. Head chestnut or with less white hairs than body. (blue roan) Black coat with white hairs, head black or with less white hairs on body.
SKEWBALD :- White coat with large patches of any other colour than black.
PIEBALD :- White coat with large patches of black.
PALOMINO :- Golden yellow or tan coat with blond mane and tail.
OTHER DISTCRIPTIVE TERMS
DORSAL :- A continuous black stripe going fron the neck along the centre of the back to the tail. Sometimes called an Eel Stripe.
STAR :- A white mark on the forehead.
BLAZE :- A white mark on the forehead between the eyes, extending down the front of the face.
SNIP :- A small white mark on the nose.
FLAXEN :- A light/blond mane and tail of a chestnut.
MEALY MUZZLE :- An oatmeal coloured muzzle.
There are many regulations/ laws regarding horse trailers. A summary in various categories of these regulation / laws are compiled below to give a general overview. Further information should be sought to obtain a complete understanding of horse trailer law.
Livestock must only be carried in a purpose built trailer
HORSE TRAILER INSURANCE
Third party insurance is not compulsory by law for a horse trailer. A horse trailer would generally be protected by third party insurance while it is attached to your vehicle, but you should check what restrictions apply, ( for example the size and weight of the trailer ).
In the event of the trailer becoming detached from your vehicle it is unlikely to be covered by your vehicle insurance.
There is generally no theft cover if you rely purely on your vehicle insurance.
The total weight of your trailer when loaded must not exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle, this would be illegal therefore you would not be insured.
Your horse trailer may not be covered by your vehicle breakdown cover. Provision should be made for the recovery of the ponies in the event of a trailer or vehicle breakdown.
TOWBARS / TOWBALLS
European law requires all passenger vehicles registered on or after 01/08/1998 a towbar should be an approved type tested to community directive 94/20EEC.
The Towball should also be approved and must match or exceed the towbar values. These values can be found on the stamp or plate.
EC Directive 94120/EC states that the towball height before hitching should be between 350mm and 420mm with the vehicle in a laden condition.
It is UK law that a trailer with brakes should be fitted with a breakaway cable, the purpose of the breakaway cable is to apply the trailer brakes if the trailer becomes separated from the towing vehicle.
You must display the same number plate as your towing vehicle on your trailer. it must comprise of black letters on a reflective yellow background ( the same as a rear plate on a motor vehicle ), and it must be illuminated at night.
When Towing a trailer, a vehicle is restricted to 60 mph on motorways and dual carriageways, and 50mph on all other roads provided that lower limits are not in force. Vehicle/trailer combinations with a maximum gross weight of over 7,500kg are restricted to 50mph on all dual carriageways and 40mph on all other roads.
Outside Lanes on Motorways / Dual Carriageways
Trailers must not be towed in the outside lane of a three or more lane motorway, unless it is unavoidable due to roadworks, accidents or other obstructions. They may be towed in the outside lane of a dual carriageway with three or more lanes.
More information can be found on www.gov.uk/towing-rules
Passports can be held by the horse owner or keeper, but should remain with the horse at all times. …..In particular passports must accompany the horse when it is moved.
Without a passport horses cannot be moved for the purpose of being entered in a competition / show. …. Be moved for the purpose of being used for breeding. ….Be moved to the premises of a new keeper. ….Be sold or have ownership transferred. …..Be sent to slaughter for human consumption. …..
If a passport is lost or damaged a replacement can be obtained from the passport issuing organisation that issued the previous passport. …
No horse should be sold without a passport. The passport must be given to the new buyer directly or through the auctioneer. The new owner must return the passport within 30 days of purchase, to the passport issuing organisation that issued it, together with details of their name and address.
In the event of the death of the horse, the owner must return the passport to the passport issuing organisation within 30 days.
Owners of all horses which were born before 16/05/05 must apply for passports. Owners of horses born before 16/05/05 who fail to obtain passports will be in breach of the legislation and could be prosecuted.
The legislation from which the above was taken can be seen in full at www.hmso.guv.uk
BURIAL OF DEAD HORSES
In Scotland you may bury your pet horse, but you must follow your local authority and Scottish Environment Protection Agency guidelines. These may vary according to your local authority. A pet horse burial site is likely to be required to :-
Be at least 250 metres from any well, boreholes or spring that supplies water……….. Be at least 30 metres from any other spring or watercourse, and at least 10 metres from a field drain ………. Have at least 1 metre of subsoil below the bottom of the burial pit, allowing a hole deep enough for at least 1 metre of soil to cover the carcass…………. To be free of water at the bottom of the hole, when first dug.
The definition of a pet animal given within the EU Animal By- Products Regulation is any animal belonging to species normally nourished and kept, but not consumed, by humans for purposes other than farming. Therefore , the normal farm species, such as sheep, cattle, pigs, goats and poultry, etc, would fall out-with this definition and would require disposal by an approved route other than burial.
The different status of the horse in the UK as compared to the EU as a whole ( it may be kept for human consumption ), provides an opportunity to take a more flexible approach to interpreting the regulations where horses are kept as pets.
You may also dispose of your pet horse to a pet crematorium.
Horses that are not classified as pets must be disposed of as fallen stock.
Horse- Flies in the UK are also sometimes known as Cleggs, Clags, Deer-fly, or Gad-flies and are members of the Tabanidae family. Worldwide there are about four thousand five hundred species of Tabanidae. Taking one to two years to develop they only live for a few days as adults. Horse-Flies feed on nectar and pollen (and are therefore useful pollinators) but the female requires a blood meal before it can reproduce, it is only the female of the species that bites, most of the species feed on the blood of mammals.
Horse-Fly bites are painful, the wound becomes itchy, scratching the wound should be avoided as this can lead to infection, and large swelling can occur if it is not treated quickly, non-perscription antihistamine may help to reduce the itching, but be aware of possible side effects
Horse- Flies are known to carry blood bourne diseases of animals and humans, such as the Equine Infectious Anaemia virus. Some of the species are known to transmit Anthrax among cattle and sheep. Blood loss can be a serious problem when the larger species are abundant.