Why do horses love Cow Parsley, and is it good for them?
It is almost impossible to ride out in the countryside during Spring without your horse trying to grab the Cow Parsley as they pass. Mine absolutely love it, like a sweet shop growing in the hedgerows. But is it good for them?
Cow Parsley (Anthriscus Sylvestris) is a member of the carrot family – perhaps this is why horses love the taste so much? In traditional herbal medicine, Cow parsley has been used to support the digestive system, it is good for the kidneys and the respiratory system and has even been used as a mosquito repellent.
As with all things, moderation is key but allowing your horse some mouthfuls of Cow Parsley is only going to benefit them, especially when our modern grazing lacks any herbal variety. You could try filling a small haynet with wilted nettles, cow parsley, dandelions & clivers (goose grass) For an all round herbal boost. This would be especially good for horses on limited or poor grazing.
You must be absolutely certain that you are picking Cow Parley, not the very similar looking, but deadly Hemlock.