Can Horses Eat Parsley?

Is parsley edible for horses?

Unlike other “can horses eat” questions we’ve explored, there isn’t a simple “yes” or “no” response because it depends on the type of parsley.

Don’t worry, we’ll still assist you in figuring it out!

Continue reading to find out which varieties are safe, which are harmful, and which are in the center.

Check out “Can Horses Eat Cauliflower Leaves?” as well. ” too!

In a nutshell, it depends.

A holistic approach to health is becoming increasingly popular among both humans and the animals they care for.

The usage of herbal remedies and plants has increased as people seek more natural ways to care for their horses’ health.

Herbs have been regarded to have medicinal effects for generations.

It’s important to conduct some study before picking which plants to feed your horse.

Because not all plants are suitable for horses to consume, it’s crucial to stay away from anything harmful.

Just because something is natural doesn’t imply it’s good for your horse. We’ll look at parsley and see if horses can eat it here.

Different Types of Parsley


The most well-known varieties of parsley are those used in cookery. Flat leaf or curly leaf parsley are the two types.

Root parsley, which resembles a parsnip, is another less frequent form of parsley used in cooking.

A plant known as ‘Alexander’ can be found in several areas, mainly in Europe.

While it is not a parsley that most people recognize, it has a taste and appearance that is quite similar to parsley, making it easy to confuse.

Cow parsley, like the other described variants, is a flowering plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family.

Spring Parsley is another plant to keep an eye out for.

Spring Parsley is identified by its yellow blossoms, which make it look similar to other parsley family plants.

READ MORE HERE: Are Horses Allowed to Eat Raw Broccoli?

Can Horses Eat Flat or Curly Leaf Parsley?

a brown horse eating grass on pasture

Flat-leaf or curly parsley, as well as root parsley, are hazardous to horses, according to the ASPCA.

This is due to the presence of furanocoumarins in the plant. Photosensitization can occur when high amounts of furanocoumarins are consumed.

Furocoumarins are most typically found in the Apiaceae and Rutaceae families of plants.

The Apiaceae family includes the several varieties of parsley. Horses eating these plants are at risk because of the photosensitization.

There is conflicting evidence about the safety of horses eating parsley.

Parsley is considered a safe and healthy herb by many natural horse feed supporters.

It’s supposed to help with stomach problems like flatulence. Rubbing crushed parsley leaves into an insect bite is also reported to help reduce irritation.

The nutritional composition of common flat leaf or curly parsley is favorable for horse owners. A modest amount will almost certainly cause no harm.

However, it is safer to avoid giving it to your horse directly or as part of a herbal supplement and instead look for a confirmed safe alternative.

It is impossible to determine how sensitive your horse is to Furocoumarins if they have never eaten parsley.

CHECK THIS OUT: How Long Can a Horse Run in a Day?


mare and cob Irish horses on the grassfield: can they eat parsley?


Alexander, also known as Horse Parsley, resembles Cow Parsley and Hemlock in appearance.

It has yellow blossoms and was historically widely used in the kitchen.

The yellow blossoms help to identify it from potentially hazardous parsley relatives.

Alexanders are safe for horses to consume, and they enjoy the flavor.

Cow Parsley

Horses may consume cow parsley, which is a white flowering herb.

Many horses enjoy it and will eat it if they have access to it, whether in their own field or stolen from a hedgerow on a hack.

According to anecdotal evidence, cow parsley tastes like carrots, which explains why horses adore it.

It is, however, critical to be familiar with this plant because it resembles Hemlock. Hemlock is harmful to horses and can be fatal.

You’ll see what I mean if you look at the side-by-side comparison below:

Comparison of cow parsley and hemlock side by side. Horses can eat cow parsley but hemlock is fatal.

Horses that have consumed Hemlock have no therapeutic options, making their chances of survival slim.

When removing Hemlock from your property, take precautions such as wearing gloves, avoiding skin contact, and not breathing too close to the plant.

If in doubt, avoid allowing your horse to eat Cow Parsley.

Giant Hogweed and Cow Parsley have a similar appearance. Giant Hogweed should be avoided at all costs because it can cause skin irritation, especially in horses with pink noses.

Photosensitivity is caused by skin contact with Giant Hogweed.

Comparison of cow parsley and giant hogweed side by side. Cow parsley is safe for horses. Giant hogweed (right) is NOT.

Spring Parsley

Similar to Alexanders, Spring Parsley has yellow flowers. Spring parsley comes around 50 different varieties.

While horses are not killed by touch with or eating of the plant, it does have harmful consequences.

The poisons xanthotoxin and bergapten enter the bloodstream and cause photosensitization when consumed.

Your horse’s skin and hair color will determine how seriously he is impacted.

The most vulnerable parts are pink skin and areas around the face with little hair, which have the least amount of solar protection.

Burns, a rash, blisters, and even weeping lesions are all symptoms of Spring Parsley exposure. Squinting and inflamed eyes are possible side effects.

Avoiding sunlight is the basic therapy for Spring Parsley poisoning. Horses will be forced to graze at night, which may take months.

Final Thoughts

Before you give your horse any kind of parsley, learn about the numerous types of plants that belong to this family.

Your horse will avoid eating a potentially harmful herb if you correctly identify each species of parsley.

Some parsley plants merely induce photosensitization, which is not fatal, but might create pain for your horse and necessitate greater management procedures.

Hemlock is the most essential plant in this family to recognize.

Hemlock poisoning has no therapy and frequently results in death.

If you’re not sure what kind of parsley you have, it’s best not to feed it to your horse.

horse eating from a woman's hand

Is parsley edible for horses? What are your thoughts on the subject? Please share with us!

Siun is an animal enthusiast who is particularly fond of horses. She competed in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers as a child in the United States. She now competes with her own showjumping horses in Ireland. She is knowledgeable about horse care and training, as well as teaching riding lessons. She enjoys combining her passion for horses with her profession. Siun can be found at the stables, rain or shine, when he is not working.
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