A look at 9 common backyard trees and their effect on equestrian health.
Commonplace fruit trees can have negative effects on your horse’s health. Most often, your horse will be fine. They’re resilient animals and unless they eat a huge amount of fruit, there’s nothing wrong with a horse having access to an orchid. However, there are some fruit trees that are more dangerous than others and should be separated from horses as a precaution.
The other thing to consider is yourself! You might want some of those tasty apples before the horse gets to them all.
Apple trees pose no threat. Despite the seeds having a low level of toxicity, it’s almost impossible for a horse to eat enough to make itself sick.
Danger level: None.
Figs have latex in their sap when unripe, which can irritate skin. Fig trees produce a lot of sap, but otherwise pose no threat to horses.
In fact, because of the figs high sugar and omega content, it can be a great treat for your horse.
Danger level: Very low.
Orange & Lemons
Citrus is fine for a horse to eat, and is often an ingredient in livestock foods. It’s possible that the oil from citrus fruits will irritate your horse’s skin or eyes, but that’s rare.
It is possible for your horse to hurt itself on thorns when trying to reach leaves.
Danger level: Very low.
Loquats can cause some digestive problems if the seeds or leaves are eaten. This usually only happens if a large amount is consumed.
Danger level: Low.
Acorns aren’t particularly dangerous to horse unless they overeat them. It can cause colic (abdominal pain) at large quantities. Because horses are known for developing a liking for acorns, overeating is possible but doesn’t pose a long term health-threat.
Danger level: Medium – low.
Plum & Cherry Trees
Plum and sherry trees can produce a small amount of cyanide in the horse’s blood stream when digested. This usually doesn’t occur at a dangerous level, but if your horse has access to a lot of these trees, you might have reason for concern.
Poisoning results in problems with oxygen uptake, which will cause laboured breathing and lethargy.
Danger level: Medium.
Black Walnut Tree
The wood of the black walnut tree can cause laminitis (inflammation under the hoof) in horses. However, this is less of an ingestion problem, and more likely occurs it walnut shavings are found in bedding or sawdust.
Having a tree in close proximity to a horse is not a problem unless the horse is chewing the bark.
Danger level: Medium.
Red Maple Tree
These plants are uncommon in Australia, but fallen leaves can cause problem for horses. Eating them can burst red blood cells and damage the kidney. It is best to avoid having your horse near a red maple tree.
Danger level: High.
Avocados have a compound in them called persin. This is found in the fruit and the leaves and is extremely unhealthy for horses, causing swelling and potential death.
Horses should avoid avocado trees at all costs. And part of the tree or fruit are dangerous.
Danger level: Very high.
See you at Lardner Park, near Warragul for Farm World 2017!
We’re going to have a stall at the 2017 Farm World expo.
If you’re in the area, drop by & say hello – tickets are $20 and there are going to be over 800 exhibitors.
Make sure you grab a free bottle of water and Central Steel Build straw hat!
WHEN:Thursday 30th March – Sunday 2nd April.
HOW MUCH: Tickets are $20 for a day pass (or $18 if you buy online), $30 for a 2 day pass, and $55 for a full pass.
WHERE: Lardner Park, 155 Burnt Rd, Lardner, VIC. (15 minute drive from Warragul).
CENTRAL STEEL BUILD: You’ll be able to find us on North-South Street. We’re near the Working Sheep Dog Trial Area.
MORE INFORMATION: For more details, including how to buy tickets online, visit the Farm World website.
Branding Your New Horse Business
Starting a horse business, as a hobby or full-time, can be as much fun as it is hard work.
Part of the appeal of starting a business is getting to build up a name and a brand. All of your efforts will be poured into your new brand, so you’ve got to make sure that it’s something you love and are proud of.
Branding is all about being recognisable and having a good reputation. So as you build your new brand, continually ask yourself these two questions:
– Will people remember my business?
– Will people feel positively about my business?
Recognition and positivity means returning customers and a thriving business.
Let’s look at the 5 steps it takes to build a great horse business brand.
1. Visual branding.
Often, when people think ‘branding’ they think of a company’s logo. It’s an important way to make your business recognisable.
A good brand does the following things:
– Means something to the customer.
A logo needs to ‘click’ with a customer – it needs to make sense. A customer should know what industry you’re in when they look at your logo.
– Means something to the business owner.
Sometimes a logo means something special to the business owner that isn’t obvious to consumers. The Apple logo, for example, represents the story of Isaac Newton discovering gravity. It has a connection for employees. Your own logo should have a special meaning to you that reminds you why you do what you do.
– Looks good.
This is an obvious one! You want people to feel positively when they see your logo. Make it look nice.
– Is easy to recognise.
Clients need to be able to distinguish between your logo and the logo of competitors. You can’t use a standard horse image. A good test is the ‘squint test’. If you can still recognise your logo when squinting, you’re doing it right!
Here are some really great examples of horse-related logos.
Websites are absolutely necessary. Even if you find a client face-to-face, they’ll use the internet as a reference for your business. Need to find a number? Check out your website. Need to know when you’re available? Check out your website.
A website needs to include these things (and they need to be clearly visible) :
When people look you up, they want to know how much you charge. Even if you can’t give an exact figure, you need to offer an estimate. When they call, you can clarify further.
– Your location.
It’s also worth registering your business with Google My Business.
– Your contact details.
3. Word of mouth.
Horse communities are usually very tight-knit. That means word-of-mouth is really important and will help you get loyal customers.
Generating good word of mouth comes down to going the extra mile. Make sure that everyone who engages with you (clients, suppliers, peers), feels great about having met you and interacted with you. Be generous and kind.
4. Build your reputation.
Your value as a business comes down to your reputation. A brand is a reminder of that reputation. If you have any awards or qualifications, if you’ve achieved any milestones, that can be a great start for building your brand. People want to know they’re getting quality.
This also means that everything you do affects your reputation. Make sure that you protect it well.
This is a really important part of branding that a lot of people overlook.
After an interaction with a client, it’s a good idea to leave them with something special and nice. If you’ve taken a student through a course, give them a framed certificate, for example. Anything you can leave behind that reminds people of your business will be worth the investment.
Imagine you’ve spent a year studying with a horse riding instructor and have decided to take a year off riding. When you get home, some hand-made muffins are left for you with a note thanking you for being such a great student. When you return to riding in a year, you’ll remember those muffins.
They’re some of the important basics to branding. Invest in your brand; it is the value of your entire business. Love it, and make it loved.