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Hedging and Horses

I would like to plant a 40 foot hedge along the back part of our garden.  I'd like it to grow to about 4 feet high.  BUT I need something that horses won't eat and will give us privacy all year round.  I have tried pampas grass and the horses ate all of that they have also eaten my forsythia.I have sandy soil.  Any ideas welcomed.



  • I would plant a holly hedge - just ensure that you buy a variety/ies with prickles and not the smooth type.  It will need protection from the horses whilst it becomes established, but after that they'll leave it alone. image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,366

    Berberis or pyracantha might put them off. Hawthorn or a native mix would make a good hedge and the birds would like it.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,477

    Ditto above - mix of pyracantha, holly and hawthorn would be perfect.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358

    Hawthorn is the most common one for keeping horses in - or out - and is good for wildlife.  Nut's and Dove's suggestions are ideal if you want an evergreen. Do you have a bit of standard fencing in place like posts and wire or something?  If not, it would be worth putting something in place initially - it wouldn't have to be heavy duty, just give a visual  barrier while your hedge establishes. You can either remove it or just leave it in place and let the hedge cover it.image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358

    I've just put that round my boundary Edd - I'll send you the berries! image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I'm a bit puzzled as to what is currrently in place to stop animals getting into your garden from the field beyond.  I presume there must be some sort of boundary fence or other - perhaps you could describe it for us.

    Bored horses will often chew at anything they can reach, so it's best to plant things well away from the boundary itself.  If there's some sort of post & rail fencing there are a few things you can do to stop horses reaching over.  Two methods which work really well involve the use of an adaptation of normal & commonly-used electric stock fencing (which can be battery operated) and which horses soon learn to steer clear of.  Because of this there can even be times when you don't need to have the electricity supply connected.

    One of these adaptations enables you to put the electric tape along the top of the fencing, and another enables you to fix the tape about 18" away from the fence itself (on the field side) by means of brackets which look a bit like those you'd use for hanging baskets on a house wall.  I guess if you look at a few websites you'll see what I mean.  Even better if you can visit a local agricultural merchant/supplier and they'd be able to show you how it all works.

    Have you thought of having a word about this with whoever owns the land and/or the horses?  perhaps they'd be willing to help either financially or in a practical way, and once the fencing was sorted out you'd be able to plant whatever you wanted.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,743

    if you've room, maybe you could plant a metre or so away from the fence so they can't reach over and this would leave enough room to run the lawn mower behind the hedge and also access to trim it.

    I don't know about horses and holly, but from experience, I know deer love to eat it. Odd, but can't get enough of it.

  • Our  horses, ponies and cattle (and even our goats) left holly uneaten along the hedgerows - although I do understand that New Forest ponies, with their bristly muzzles, will browse on gorse so maybe they'd eat holly.  

    Of course, some hollies don't have prickles - they'd probably eat that as would deer, sheep and anything else.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Wow!  Thanks to all these wonderful ideas.  I really do appreciate all your help and will google all the hedges mentioned to find out more.

     Hypercharleyfarley.......we currently have a post and wire fence at the bottom of the garden. (between us and the horses)  The problem is that the owners of the horses insist on parking their cars directly in our line of view.  They also have enough clutter of pallets, material and old rubbish in the field that I've now had enough and want to screen off as much of their rubbish as I can without completely obliterating our view.  Yes, I have tried speaking to the horse owners but they just don't seem to understand!

  • biofreakbiofreak Posts: 1,066

    Please, please do not plant blackthorn - The thorns are notorious for causing abscesses. We used to have terrible problems when the farmer trimmed his hedges, the thorns used to go up into the hoof - a blacksmith's nightmare and a vet's delight re expensive treatments!!

    I too suggest a good gap between fence and hedge - Horses have long tongues as well as long necks and with the exception of holly, young leaves would be a delight!

    I would suggest that you go to a tree nursery and get some really good well grown stock, so you stand a good chance of the hedge thickening quickly. Please don't be tempted to plant conifers - Colic and vet bills plus possible death if you don't know what you are putting in.

    Good luck

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