Lavisano® – the original feed recipe

“Owners who want to give their horses a natural and healthy diet should feed them as nature intended.”

This statement is both vitally important and true. Horses are “grazers” and their original diet made the horse one of the most resilient herbivores on our planet.

You find that difficult to believe? In its native Iranian semi-desert environment, the horse was so tough that it could overcome predators such as cheetahs, lions, wolves, hyenas and poisonous snakes, and survive sandstorms and drought.

The horses and ponies in Nordic countries such as Iceland and Norway also live in pretty inhospitable conditions. Winter lasts for 7–8 months of the year, there is very little vegetation and wolves and bears pose a real threat.

The horse has survived over the centuries in spite of a diet that almost contradicts its actual needs – and it has become one of mankind’s most invaluable partners.

© Voyagerix / Fotolia

The reasons…

We’re taking the completely wrong approach to horse feeding!

We’re sometimes feeding them like fattening stock – or to be more precise: like ourselves!

We keep on measuring our horse’s needs against our own.

But a horse isn’t a chemicals lab and its intestine isn’t a test tube. If you feed your horse all the nutrients on your list, you’re meeting its nutritional needs, but you’re not giving it a healthy and natural diet.

The fundamental changes to the domesticated horse’s diet compared to a diet in the wild are the reason for the “catastrophic” state of our horses’ intestines, and this affects their entire organism. Famous Swiss physician, alchemist, and astrologer Paracelsus came to the realisation that: “Death is in the intestine!”

Very few modern day horses are genuinely healthy. Despite all our efforts to feed a range of dietary supplements, at least one out of every two horses suffers from some kind of health problem. If we consider how they eat naturally in the wild, it’s obvious why.

The “all-you-can-eat” approach to feeding hay doesn’t improve the situation, and feeding haylage or silage as a substitute for hay causes our horses even more problems. It makes them overweight and sick. It’s obvious why when you take a closer look!

The list of diet-related health problems that horses and their owners face is getting longer by the day, and even the veterinarian community is at a loss about how to turn the situation around.

Microbiologist and intestinal bacteria specialist Dr Roland Werk points out the importance of the intestinal microbiomes’ metabolic performance.

The more than 500 different types of intestinal bacteria and countless other microbes can flood the intestinal flora with either healthy or toxic metabolic products. The way it goes depends on the composition of the intestinal flora, and that is determined by diet.

For example, allergies are directly related to a dysbiosis (an intestinal flora imbalance) because the intestine plays a central role in the immune system.

There’s an extensive debate going on about the effects of environmental pollution on the intestine. But this is probably just the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”. Most toxins are created in the intestine and the metabolic system themselves, day after day, and they put an enormous burden on the body’s ability to detoxify.

Today we know that the horse’s intestinal flora should not be alkaline, like the human gut, but have a neutral pH value. Too many carbohydrates cause an intestinal flora imbalance.

If the horse has too many carbohydrates in its diet, the acidic environment of the small intestine spills over into the large intestine. Although acidity is important in the small intestine, it is damaging to the fermentation of cellulose in the large intestine.

The horse’s intestinal flora includes bacteria, viruses, fungi and similar microbes that would probably be toxic to any other organism.

Serious feeding mistakes are today common practices in horse feeding, and some feed recommendations are actually harmful to the horse.

One example is Professor Annette Zeyner in her publication about laminitis: “Carbohydrate-associated laminitis is an extra-intestinal disease of caecal genesis“, PD Dr Annette Zeyner, Institute of Animal Nutrition, Nutrition diseases and Dietetics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Leipzig.

Metabolic disorders affect the entire organism. The fatal chain obviously begins in the intestine and therefore with the feed!

© virgonira / Fotolia

…and their consequences

These are some of the health problems associated with a metabolic disorder:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Colic, faecal water, diarrhoea
  • Pathological liver and kidney findings
  • Anorexia and obesity
  • Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS)
  • Muscle metabolism problems such as Monday Morning Disease, tying up and PSSM (polysaccharide storage myopathy)
  • Chronic coughing and nasal discharge
  • Exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH)
  • Sweet itch and sunburn
  • Other therapy-resistant eczema and nettle rash
  • Scurf, hoof abscesses, thrush
  • Lymphedema, swollen legs
  • Allergies, poor immune system
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Inflammation of the hoof wall corium and even laminitis
  • Periodic eye inflammation due to allergy
  • Sterility

How the horse’s digestive system works

The metabolic processes for easily digestible substances in the horse’s small intestine usually take 2-2.5 hours. This is where the quickly digestible concentrated feed components are broken down by enzymes.

The pancreas secretes proteases, lipases and amylases to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Once these substances have been broken down in the acidic small intestine, they are absorbed into the blood system via the large body vein and are available for the organism.

The digested feed takes only 2-2.5 hours to pass through the small intestine. During this time, its pH value has to increase from 5.0 to at least 6.8.

If the horse is fed a carbohydrate-rich diet that promotes acidity and lactobacilli, the acidity is transferred into the caecum.

The function of the horse’s large intestine is to extract vital substances out of cellulose and other fibrous fractions of the feed. This “fermentation process” needs a very mild pH value of 6.8-7.0. During the “mashing process” the pH value can increase in a healthy intestine up to 7.2 and, in extreme cases, 7.4. The pH value can be measured in the faeces.

A pH value of less than 6.8 in the fresh dung means that the horse has an acidic large intestine.

This is the part of the gut (large intestine) where the horse produces vitamins, processes minerals and trace elements and produces metabolising amino acids and essential fatty acids.

The carbohydrates in the cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin are also converted in the large intestine. Intestinal symbionts (bacteria, virus, fungi) are essential to the proper function of the immune system. They are the basis for the nutrition of the organism.

Our hay is approx. 20-25% carbohydrate and sometimes more depending on where it was harvested. But the horse is naturally a grazer that eats a cellulose-based diet. So it needs a low-carb diet with less than 15% carbohydrates.

The more sugar and meal you feed the horse, the more acid its stomach produces. Therefore, the pH value in the stomach is also important.

If the large intestine is alkaline, the intestinal symbionts that the horse’s metabolic system depends on cannot survive.

Lavisano® was developed on the basis of this knowledge. It was tested over a period of many years, which led to ground-breaking discoveries that encouraged us to market it commercially.

Where is the horse’s original habitat and what constitutes a natural and ethological diet?

According to molecular genetic tests conducted by Harvard University, horses originated in the Dascht-e Kavir desert in Iran, one of the most uninhabitable regions in the world. Although no person would be able to survive there, it was the original habitat of one of the most beautiful, graceful and kind species on our planet.

Around 2,500 years ago, these horses were taken to Hellas by Persian conquerors. Their feed masters carried supplies of the right grasses with them: lucerne and hemp.

When Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) drove the Persians away again around a century later, following them to Pakistan in the Alexander Crusade (336-323 B.C.), horses and desert grasses had become native to the region.

Alexander’s mounted troops all rode on the steppe horses.

They were fed with Persian grass (cannabis sativa, hemp), Persian clover (medicago sativa, lucerne) and, when the positive properties of oats from Germania were discovered, they were also fed with Germanian avena satifa oats.

This simple diet kept the horses fit and strong on their 15,000 km journey from Macedonia to Pakistan, over rough and smooth terrain, with constant warring and fighting. They didn’t need any special feed at all!

All of the herbivores on our planet were originally uniquely adapted to a specific biotope. Over the years, climate change and environmental impacts have challenged both the herbivores and their biotopes. Herbivores are nutritionally self-sufficient. 

This means they get everything they need to live and survive from the local fauna.

With the help of the organisms that live in its intestine – the intestinal flora – the horse can produce all the vitamins and vital substances it needs.

The horse is a natural feed specialist!

There are lots of other examples of these feed specialists in nature. For example, koalas and pandas can survive in the toughest of environments by eating just one variety of plant!

© dvoevnore / Fotolia

The solution

Ever since the dawn of mankind we have been curious to discover how diseases occur, why they break out and how they are transmitted. This has been a focus of research and it has helped us to treat – or at least control – many disease symptoms today. However, this often results in other problems manifesting elsewhere.

When the BARF diet for dogs was being developed in the 1980s it became clear that we had to go back to our roots and feed our pets a diet that reflects their natural diet in the wild and is suitable for their species.

Wild dogs are carnivores that don’t need plants because they have always had plenty of prey. Horses also need an entirely different diet, but it took people a longer time to realise this.

The horse feed breakthrough didn’t come until the equine genome had been decoded and the original habitat of our modern-day horses could be proven.

The Persian wild ass, which is related to the horse, still lives in this original environment (the Dascht-e Kavir desert), obtaining everything it needs to be healthy and fit from a hand-full of dry grasses.

It’s only logical that the food that keeps an organism healthiest and fittest is the food that nature intended it to eat.

That’s why it’s so important to feed horses a low-carb diet. Feeding cereal-free muesli simply isn’t enough.

A low-carb diet for horses is a diet containing 15% carbohydrates, just as nature intended. By the way, the hay we feed our horses (even washed hay) has a carbohydrate content of more than 20%. If we introduce even more carbohydrates into the intestine via the concentrated feed, it will be permanently overtaxed.

Lavisano® not only provides important fibre components, essential fatty acids and amino acids, it also has a very low carbohydrate content (approx. 15%). It enables the horse to derive all the nutritional elements it needs for a completely healthy diet.

Lavisano® is the natural way to prevent hyperacidity because Lavisano® contains exactly this minimum amount of carbohydrates.

Lavisano® has high quality ingredients that provide the horse with the nutrients in the grasses and plants that wild horses originally ate.

Some of them come from the food manufacturing industry, so they are obviously subjected to very strict testing and selection processes. This is important because horses are very sensitive to contamination (endotoxins).

Limiting the amount of available food is how nature has been preventing hyperacidity in the stomachs of wild horses for millennia.

A healthy horse automatically stops eating for a while when all its dietary needs are met and its metabolism functioning properly. These pauses are 2-3 hours long. Even after a pause the horse doesn’t necessarily have to eat, but it does have to produce saliva.

That’s why you’ll often see wild horses chewing bark and twigs on trees and bushes.

It’s a good way to increase saliva production.

Lavisano® horse feed contains all the minerals and trace elements that the horse needs for a healthy life, so the addition of herbs or minerals to the diet isn’t necessary. The most important thing is that the horse stays healthy!

Lavisano® can help to restore the intestine’s natural function of maintaining the right level of healthy intestinal flora. As a result, this natural diet can have a positive impact on health problems caused by a metabolic disorder.

Lucerne, the queen of all fodder crops, is the backbone of Lavisano®

Even in ancient times lucerne was a popular fodder crop and life giver. It has a high nutrient content that includes all the essential vitamins and minerals.
It also has detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties as a result of the high amount of chlorophyll and secondary vegetable substances that it contains.

Lucerne is a vegetable protein source and a genuine nutrient ‘bombshell’.

In addition to vitamins A, B1, B6, C, E and K it also contains remarkable amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorous, as well as amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan. It additionally has a high content of secondary vegetable substances, antioxidants and chlorophyll, which have beneficial and preventative health effects.

The lucerne used in Lavisano® grows in France in extremely pure soil. It is actually cultivated to obtain a highly pure form of chlorophyll for the production of pharmaceuticals. Fertilisers and pest control agents are not permitted here.

The drying process takes place in vigilantly supervised drying plants to rule out toxic contamination. Regular inspections guarantee constant high quality and make contamination impossible.

Lavisano® hemp is predominantly from the Baden region. It is government approved and, naturally, THC-free.

© Axel Gutjahr / Fotolia