ragwort answers-thank you
Just a quick message to thank you for your reply to my post. I have asked these questions on several horse based forums and people have been very good at answering. The reason for my questions is that I am in the process of patenting an item to help in the eradication of ragwort.
As for getting rid of it right now, there are several options. Digging up the roots- though beware of left over root fragments, because they will regenerate and you will be left not with the single plant you had, but 30 or so seedlings growing from inside the hole that was left behind. Herbicide, as far as I've found so far is the most surefire way of killing the plant properly. It needs to be 2,4d ester. Brand name is Round-up, or Barrier H is another one. Your horse must be kept away from the treated plants until the poison has acted and the dead plants removed. They are less bitter and a bit more tempting when wilted, dead or dying, but no less poisonous. You must also take care to wear gloves, due to the toxin producing chemical being able to be absorbed through the skin.
I have quite a bit of info about ragwort, but don't want to bore you with it all, so if you need to know anything a bit more specific, please feel free to ask.