Some people really go to town when it comes to Christmas decorations and
that can even include decorating the barn or stable where they house
their equine friends. So the question to ask before you do this is how
safe are those boughs of holly, evergreens, and such? Like any other
pet, horses are prone to taking a bite out of anything that catches
their fancy. And horses aren't as easy to get to the vet in an

Christmas HorseChristmas Horse

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The first order of business is to just use common sense. Glass ornaments and tinsel just don't belong in a barn. And if you wouldn't put a certain type of decoration within reach of your dog or cat, then don't put it in your horse's reach. This is extra true in the barn or stable since both dogs and cats often frequent these buildings as well.

Most pines and firs are fine around horses, though they can drip sap into coats, manes, and tails -- that can be a real pain, but not dangerous. That same sap might cause some mild irritation to the horse's mouth if it gets curious. Holly is quite toxic for dogs and cats, and mildly toxic for horses as well.

The one plant that you should really keep out of the barn is mistletoe. It is toxic and it can cause gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular collapse, difficulty or labored breathing, an abnormally slow heart rate, and erratic behavior. Chances are you don't really need it to have an excuse to kiss your horse anyway. So leave it in the house.

Poinsettias are fine, but since they are a more tropical plant they are not likely to last long in a barn. They are mildly toxic, but even cats and dogs would have to eat a great deal before getting sick. Keep them in the house to keep them thriving.

Christmas lights may provide an electrocution hazard to horses, as well as potential fire risk. Any decorative lights used in the barn should be UL-listed (to meet certain safety standards) and made for outdoor use. Always avoid using extension cords and overloading circuits. As with other decorations the best plan is to keep them out of reach of the curious.

So have a Merry Christmas and a Horsey New Year!

Source: The Horse