Call to horse owners to remove ragwort


World Horse Welfare is reminding owners to remove deadly ragwort plants from their horses' fields

Remove ragwort May 2018



With the poisonous plant ragwort emerging now ready to flower in July, World Horse Welfare is reminding owners to take steps to remove any plants from fields and paddocks that their horse has access to.


Chief Field Officer Claire Gordon is urging owners to remove the plant which, if eaten, can cause irreparable liver damage to horses. 

"It's vital that your horse doesn't eat ragwort, and you can't assume they will choose not to eat it.

"Spraying in April and early May while the plant is growing is the most effective way to eradicate it from your pasture, but you must be able to rest the field after spraying.  For those without access to additional grazing, pulling the whole plant up - including the roots - is the next best option.

"It's best to do this at the seedling or rosette stage, before the plant flowers and while the ground is still soft - so the sooner you act, the better.

"Seeds can remain in the ground for 15 years before germination, so even if you've removed ragwort in previous years, it's important to do it again every year."


Download our ragwort leaflet now for more information and advice.


What should I do if I see ragwort on land used for grazing or hay production?


  • Identify the land owner or manager in the first instance and contact them directly to resolve the issue. 

  • In England, if the land owner or manager cannot be identified or located, complaints can be made to Natural England, who can issue enforcement notices. 

  • In Scotland, if co-operation between landowners, occupiers and managers isn't possible, the issue should be referred to the local Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate Area Office.

  • In Wales, primary responsibility for ragwort control is on the occupier of the land and they should be approached in the first instance. However, Welsh Ministers may serve a notice requiring the occupier to take action to prevent the spread of the weeds. You can report an environmental incident here.