Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Who Knows Best?

I separate Malachi (the bony pony) from the herd to feed him. He is such a sweet, gentle horse that he lets anyone steal his food. I've gotten to the point where I don't tie Malachi any more. Once he has finished his meal, he has the opportunity to wander around in my back yard (which is fenced) until I have the inclination to put him back with the herd.

We Dreamers noticed that Malachi likes eating the weeds growing on the gravel driveway.  Knowing that there are many poisonous plants (to horses) in he world, I checked up on what he was finding so tasty. He was eating the Redstem Fillaree. 

After a little research I discovered that Redstem Fillaree has the highest percentage of non-structural carbohydrates of all weeds generally found in the Rocky Mountain area. It has higher levels of sugar than grasses. So, does Malachi instinctively know that the Fillaree will give him the biggest bang for the bite? 
Further reading yielded information linking Fillaree with laminitis. I had little concern for that, given Malachi's slim build. But, a suggestion that Fillaree might cause issues in digestion in the "hind gut", causing colic, and that nitrates found in Fillaree at some points during the growing season, can be toxic to equines, had me stepping out to put Malachi back with his buddies in a hurry!


  1. Our horses ate all around the rhubarb and some weeds:)

    1. Generally they do know what is best, unless there is nothing else for them to browse upon. We had about three different poisonous weeds in our old pasture. I worked to eradicate them, but they prevailed. The horses avoided them.

  2. Maybe weeds fall under the same jurisdiction as Murphy's other equine laws. You know, like if you stick a horse on 500 square miles of pasture, he will find (and step on) the two inch square area containing the only nail to be found ;o)

    1. Uh oh... did that happen to you?
      Aren't the equine Murphy Laws amazing? A friend of mine had a colt that was trouble from the time his little feet poked out of the mare's vagina. She named him Murphy's Law. Big mistake! He worked hard to live up to his name!


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