How can I protect my horse from Paterson's Curse poisoning? - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Horses do not graze on Paterson’s Curse unless there is no other feed available. Some horses can develop a taste for it if they have no other feed, but generally they won’t eat it. If your horse is not nutritionally or environmentally stressed and is free to graze on healthy pasture at times and to choose what it eats, it will not go out looking to poisonous plants for missing minerals or to satisfy its subverted grazing instincts.



  • You should feed your horse dandelion, chamomile, fenugreek, fennel, rosehips and garlic.
  • You should allow it access to free choice kelp, sea salt and dolomite to provide any minerals or trace elements missing from the feed and pasture.
  • Provide regular opportunities for your horse to graze in laneways or other areas of unimproved pastures and weeds.
  • Feed meadow hay in preference to cultivated and irrigated lucerne, or other commercial hay.
  • Reduce your horse's exposure to all commercial processed horse feed products.
  • Resist the temptation to use poisons either on the ground, which will ultimately effect your horse's gut.
  • Rotate and spell your paddocks regularly rather than spraying whole paddocks with chemicals. 
  • Protect your ground cover and the colonies of bacteria and fungi, which are the lifeblood of your humus.
  • Learn to love your weeds. All you need to do to protect your horse from Patterson's Curse poisoning is to change it from a susceptible horse to one which is not susceptible.

The standard approach would be to spray the whole paddock with Round Up and then rehabilitate the pasture - but we don’t suggest you do this. The Patterson’s curse is good for the soil (it has a tap root which breaks up compacted soils) and the bees love the flowers! 
We suggest (and use ourselves) a sequence farming/holistic approach - mow the grass to knock the Patterson’s curse in the horse paddock and to help dry out the rich clover. 

READ MORE: My first Patterson's Curse patient

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