Monday, 22 August 2011

Ragwort and the Cinnabar Moth

Hopefully you've all managed to keep on top of your ragwort this year.  It seems to have been a bad year (or good if you are a Cinnibar Moth, pictured) for this poisonous weed.  I think ragwort enjoyed the very dry start to the year and you only need to look around the verges and roundabouts to see that.
Ragwort as we all know (thanks to the kindly passer by who pointed this out to us!) is poisonous to horses and lots of other things, including us. Make sure you wear gloves when touching ragwort. We don't let kids handle it at all.  It can give you flu like symptoms and make you feel quite grotty.
Mostly, horses are quite sensible (in this department anyway) and won't eat ragwort whilst it is alive but when it dies back it is a risk or if it is cut and baled in hay.  If horses are hungry enough they will eat it dead or alive.  Also, once you've pulled it, be careful what you do with it.
When you are pulling ragwort you may well notice a little yellow and black caterpillar.  This is the larvae of the Cinnabar Moth.  It feeds on ragwort, making itself poisonous and therefore unattractive to predators.  Pretty clever hey?  Apparently, in some countries they have introduced the moth to help to control the ragwort.
So, as you rub your sore back and pull the final piece of ragwort from your paddock, spare a thought for this pretty little moth!

Monday, 15 August 2011


Welcome to our 'blog'!  Here we hope we can keep you up to date with news of the horses and ponies and any events we have held. Also, we would like to share any information or tips from the horsey world.

Intelligent Worming

We have just had the whole yard tested for worms.  We sent a small sample of droppings from each horse to our vet.  The results have shown that most of the horses have no worms but two have a high 'count' (0-150 is acceptable, our two are over 1000!).  So now instead of worming the whole yard using expensive chemicals (it is thought that some worms are becoming resistant to the wormers due to over use) we only have to worm two.  We will test the whole yard again in three months.  Seems 'intelligent' to me!