Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) as its name suggests is a Ligustrum with oval shaped leaves. It features in Miller’s C.18th Plant Encyclopaedia.
Privet is particularly well suited to hedging. It is a hardy, low maintenance, semi evergreen shrub with rigorous growth which allows it to quickly establish into a full garden hedge in a short space of time. This makes it particularly good for privacy, keeping out the prying eyes of nosey neighbours and people walking past. It is also good for reducing noise or sound proofing due to its full bodied nature. It was particularly popular in the world wars, replacing the metal railings
Privet loves being in full sun but copes well in dappled shade with a bit more pruning. If left unpruned from seed in good conditions it will reach 4-8m in height and 2.5-4m in spread over the first 10-20 years of its life.
Privet is particularly useful due to its ability to be placed in exposed sites, forming a windbreak for the rest of the garden, allowing other plants to thrive. It will form small white flowers in summer, berries in the autumn. It typically does this off the previous years growth. Prune immediately after flowering.
It grows in any soil and is not particular about the pH of the soil but prefers well drained to moist but well drained soil as do most plants.
Whilst Privets leaves are toxic to horses, they are they appear to taste disgusting to them and will not eat enough of them unless they are mixed with other tastier leaves. Therefore, I would consider them horse friendly as realistically you do not want your or your neighbours horses eating all your hedge.
Privet is poisonous to horses, however the odour usually deters them from eating it, however occasionally it does happen.
Prune: Immediately after flowering.
Required level of Sun: Full sun to partial/dappled shade
Growth rate: c. 30cm after established
Semi evergreen in this case refers to the plant dropping some of but not all of its leaves in the most severe winters.
Privet has a RHS hardiness rating of H4, meaning it is hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5).