Horse owners are rightfully concerned about their horses’ lung health after wildfire smoke exposure. But can the smoke and ash also affect their pastures and forage?
Posted by Michelle N. Anderson, TheHorse.com Digital Managing Editor | Sep 21, 2020
Q: Our sidewalks here in California are black with the ash from nearby fires. I’ve found information about air quality’s impact on lungs, but what about the quality of or dangers inherent in pasture grasses where ash has settled? Is it harmful for horses to consume? How does it taste? Is it bitter? We can substitute feeding hay in the barn for just so long, and it won’t rain until October at best. Help!
A: This is a great question given how many horse owners in the Western states are finding themselves dealing with ash in their horses’ environment. I have a number of friends in Northern California and Oregon who are reporting a blanket of ash over the plants in their yards, and obviously this ash is also accumulating on pastures and stacks of hay and around the barns where horses are kept. Many of us have read the warnings about looking after our horses’ lung health during the poor air quality these wild fires cause; however, the question remains, is it safe for horses to graze pastures or other forages that might result in the consumption of ash?...