Hedging and horses: 10 Dos and Don’ts for a horse-proof hedge

hedging and horses

A great source for foraging, a hedge around your horse’s paddock is the ultimate in equine- and environmentally-friendly boundary planning.  You just need to make sure you get it right – the right plants, the right place, the right way – and with help from the right people.  That’s where we come in! Here are 10 Dos and Don’ts for a horse-proof hedge.

Planting a horse-proof hedge

dont hedging and horses 

DON’T CHOOSE THE WRONG PLANT: Species such as yew, laurel and privet are poisonous to horses.   Whilst oaks are one of our most invaluable native species, you must be aware that their acorns can also be poisonous – so make sure you gather them up and remove them, or perhaps consider temporary fencing during the autumn.

DO CHOOSE NATIVE PLANTS: mixed native hedge with a selection of native species gives variety and a really attractive finished hedge.  This will blend with the surrounding natural landscape and won’t contain any nasty surprises that could be harmful to your horses or livestock.

dont hedging and horses

DON’T FORGET PLANT PROTECTION: When you’re planting your new horse-friendly hedge, make sure you remember to add some tree protection.  Guards and shelters will fend off unwanted damage from your horse and will also protect and promote good growth for your newly-created hedging plants as they grow to maturity.

DO THINK SHELTER & SHADE: Summertime, and your hedging plants and trees will provide a welcome canopy of shade and a break from flies and insects swarming around.  Winter?  A great place to shelter and protect your horses from wind and rain.

 dont hedging and horses

DON’T TIP FRESH DUNG: It might sound like a great idea to use fresh manure onto hedge bottoms – well, it isn’t! Fresh dung kills hedging and suppresses wildflowers.  Well-rotted manure is fine for hedging plants, just not the fresh kind!

DO MANAGE YOUR HEDGE:  Once established, trim and maintain your hedge well and it will continue to provide you with an attractive, healthy and dense boundary for security and protection for many years.

dont hedging and horses

DON’T LEAVE IT TO CHANCE: Make sure you give your new hedge a fighting chance of survival by keeping your horses at distance from any lovely tasty young buds (they’ll love them!). Fence off your pasture from the growing hedge and remember to factor in the reach of your horses or ponies – you’ll be amazed!  Fences should ideally create at least 2 metres gap from newly planted hedges.

DO BLEND IN: Before you select and plan, look around at established hedging in the surrounding area.  Wherever possible, copy the species, mix and ratio of species in your new hedge and you’ll blend right in.

dont hedging and horses

DON’T PLANT IN SINGLE ROWS:  AT LEAST double lines of hedging create the best boundaries, about 30cm wide with 5 plants per metre.  Stagger the lines, but keep them parallel and in about 5 years, you’ll have a double-strength border  requiring the minimum of extra plants for gapping.

DO CONTACT THE EXPERTS www.treesandhedging.co.uk : It’s what we do – trees and hedging – and we’re here to give you extra guidance and help in your selection for horse and livestock friendly plants, boundaries and hedging.  Email us today and keep your horses safe and happy, all year round.

Hedging and Horses: Shopping List

Visit www.treesandhedging.co.uk and BROWSE BY CHARACTERISTIC>Horse-friendly for our full availability.

HEDGING – Safe for horses, great for boundaries

TREES– Shade for horses, great for shelter


  • Oak (because of the acorns)
  • Privet
  • Rhododendron
  • Laurel
  • Yew
  • Broom
  • Sycamore Maple


2 Responses to “Hedging and horses: 10 Dos and Don’ts for a horse-proof hedge”

  1. anne turnbull says:

    where would plants be purchased from

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