Botflies (Gasterophilus spp) are parasitic flies that affect the horse's digestive tract and can cause negative health consequences. Botflies lay eggs on the horse's coat in the summer. Some of these eggs, known as horse bots, are ingested as the horse licks and grooms itself. The bot eggs hatch and the larvae develop in the horse's mouth before migrating to the stomach where they attach to the gastric mucosa. Once mature, they detach and are passed through the manure. They pupate into flies, and the cycle repeats with new botflies seeking out horses to host their eggs.
Straw or chaff is a high-fibre low-sugar forage that is ideal for horses that are overweight or insulin-resistant. Straw adds bulk to your horse's diet without contributing significant calories or protein. Research shows that adding straw to a forage ration can increase time spent grazing and the expression of natural foraging behaviours. This can improve wellness and prevent boredom without adding excess energy to the diet. While straw is not widely used as horse feed in North America, chaff or chopped straw is commonly fed in the United Kingdom. Mixing straw with other forages is recommended to avoid health concerns that are associated with feeding a straw-only ration.
Weaving is a locomotive stereotypic behaviour typically seen in stabled horses. It is estimated that between 3 to 10% of horses kept in stables weave. The expression of this behaviour involves repetitive shifting of body weight from one front leg to the other, combined with a sideways swaying of the head. Occasionally, this repetitive swaying motion involves the hindquarters. Stall weaving serves no function or purpose. This stereotypy may develop when a horse is prevented from walking toward a desired goal, such as a feed or other horses. Horses may begin weaving as a result of stress, frustration, their environment, or an inability to express natural equine behaviours. Over time, weaving can cause hoof and joint problems or lead to weight loss if it interferes with eating behaviour.