This year’s enormous yield of acorns has become a hot topic of conversation within the horse community, after having caused the death of one stallion.
The 20-yearold, was tethered to an oak tree in St Albans, Herts, during the summer, and suffered liver damage from gorging on too many acorns. An RSPCA spokesman has said, “Acorns are palatable but can poison horses, so they should be cleared from grazing areas.”
The increased acorn crop is due to different weather patterns this year according to Dr Timothy Farewell, an environment expert at Cranfield University. “We had a warm summer last year, then a harsh winter,” he said. “That produced ideal conditions for lots of flowers to grow on trees. And the early summer weather this year resulted in more fruit.”
In the New Forest, where ponies run wild, around 200 pigs were introduced earlier than usual in an attempt to stop the ponies eating the acorns.
Veterinary adviser, Karen Coumbe says, “Oak may cause poisoning, but it is very unusual…. Most horses will not eat acorns but if grazing is limited or horses get a taste for them, then it is a potential problem, especially green acorns.”