I have a question regarding horse nettles and their toxicity.
Because of the ultra wet spring and summer we had last year, my longtime supplier of small bales of grassy hay didn't get his haying done until late summer and into fall. His bales of hay were replete with horse nettles AND their berries. I didn't notice it until the bales were already stacked in my barn. I questioned him about them. He shrugged his shoulders and said he hadn't had any problem with this hay and it was from the same fields he has always cut. I surmise that he has always cut these fields beginning early in the year and the nettles never grew to any size nor produced so many berries.
I asked around my "horsey" friends, and some had never heard of the toxicity of horse nettles. Others said that horses would pick through the hay and not eat the horse nettles. However, I do know that horses will eat around certain weeds in the field but will consume them when they are dry in their hay. I filled the rest of the barn with hay that had no visible nettles from someone else. I am now getting to the end of the nettles-free hay and am reluctant to start feeding the suspect stuff.
I would like to hear what any of you have to say on this issue before I start buying more hay.