HORSE FRIENDLY HEDGING
If you need to plant a horse friendly boundary hedging, whether it is to keep livestock in or out, our Practical Instant Hedge™ may provide the perfect choice.
These stockproof hedges will give interest all year round and will also be beneficial to many species of wildlife. Practical Instant Hedge™ is a mature, ready to plant product, so the animals can feel the immediate benefits, including protection from the elements. However, as with any new plants, these hedges will need protecting from the horses until they are fully established.
To give extra shade to the horses, you could also add some trees into your hedging, which would replicate natural hedgerows found throughout the UK. Trees that are safe for horse pasture include ash, birch, poplar and willow. Avoid oak, as acorns, if consumed in large quantities, can be poisonous.
Horse friendly hedging has the following benefits:
- Keeps horses in and/or other animals out.
- Offers shelter against winds and rain in winter and the sun and flies in summer.
- It can supplement your horses’ diet.
- Seasonal interest from hedgerow flowers, catkins, berries and Autumn foliage.
Hedges are great for wildlife, look natural, and will last for over a hundred years with a little care and maintenance.
Best Hedges for Horses
We are frequently asked about hedges suitable for equestrian use. We have selected the following Practical Instant Hedge™, that, if grazed by horses, should cause no harm.
Hawthorn – Crataegus monogyna
One of the most popular deciduous horse-friendly hedges, as it looks perfectly natural in the landscape and is loved by birds and insects. Horses like to nibble on the new shoots too.
An attractive evergreen hedge, with soft lime green leaves and suited to salt laden winds of coastal locations.
Hornbeam – Carpinus betulus
A deciduous hedge whose leaves turn yellow in the autumn and then emerge bright green in early spring. Similar in look to beech but with finely ribbed leaves.
Oleaster – Elaeagnus ebbingei Compacta
A dense evergreen hedge that is particularly suitable for seaside locations. Horse friendly with a lovely grey / green leaf.
Beech – Fagus sylvatica
This deciduous hedge retains its leaves in to the winter, offering additional screening in the coldest months. Horses quite often nibble leaves, twigs, and bark of the trees. Beech nuts are poisonous but if your hedge is trimmed in summer, nuts are unlikely to be produced.
Hedges To Avoid If You Have Horses
As noted by the British Horse Society, there are some species of trees and shrubs that are toxic to horses, and are therefore not suitable for hedging. These include privet, leylandii, broom, box, yew, laburnum and laurel.
Other shrubs to avoid, although horses are unlikely to eat them, are; Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa),
Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), Prunus, Photinia and Thuja.
NB please note this list is not exhaustive.
If you are planning to include trees in your horse friendly hedging, then autumn and winter are the perfect time to plant semi-mature large trees. Our Practical Instant Hedge™ has been produced so that it can be planted at any time of the year, meaning you can plan around your needs.
Contact our Horticultural team for more details. Email Hedge@pracbrown.co.uk or call 01753 652022