Has anyone here used Thrive?

lynn larson

I contacted the Thrive guy to try and get information about his feed w/ reg to Cushings. 

He sent me back a rather obnoxious 'I'm brilliant' type response which is almost enough for me to toss him for that reason alone.  but if the feed is ok, it would be nice to be able to keep using it. 

Since he's not smart enough to provide me data, is there anyone here who is using Thrive?

(Here's part of his response ... 

I have studied and lecture in Equine metabolic issues, and have forgotten more than most know on this subject.

you'll notice the conspicuous absence of actual facts.  I left out his other opinionated take on people other than himself.)

This is supposed to be a grass feed based on alfalfa, sorghum, timothy, soy, rice bran, and kelp.  (Ingredients: Quality Is Key! « Amazing Thrive Feed )
but I'm thinking, that sorghum is a grain? (?!)

It is very convenient to store and feed and the horses have done pretty well on it but of course now they've got Cushings.

Is there anyone here using it with success?
I am scheduled to get my month's worth of feed tomorrow (aka spend a chunk of money I don't want to have to toss)  and I'm wondering if I stop cold, scale back, continue on ....   

Lorna Cane


Please sign your posts.

There is a ton to take in here all at once,so it's not surprising you may have missed part of Maggie's great response to you this morning.In part she advised to 

 "YES, ditch the Thrive and use rinsed/soaked/rinsed non-molasses beet pulp as a carrier for your emergency ingredients.  I looked at the analysis and there are lots of ingredients in there that you don't want to be feeding."

We avoid all of the following, except timothy,so your instincts were correct.:

 alfalfa, sorghum, timothy, soy, rice bran, and kelp.  (Ingredients: Quality Is Key! « Amazing Thrive Feed )

Lorna in Ontario,Canada
ECIR Moderator 2002

*See What Works in Equine Nutrition*


lynn larson

sorry about the signature - they used to get appended.

I'm Lynn from Georgetown TX I joined today.


Since he wasn't very forth coming with his response (been there with a feed company), if you haven't already, you could perhaps test the Thrive for at least sugar and starch and see how it fairs.   Or do the full panel that is recommended for hay and see how it fairs (for all we know it might be high in iron or some other ingredient that needs to be monitored).   With another product I've tried it was recommended to test a bag from a specific lot number and then the whole lot should test the same; so if you could get the store to hold that lot for you while you test, if it comes up within safe range, you'd be good for a whole pallet or what ever size lot you purchase of that lot number.

As long as your horse isn't sensitive to alfalfa, that ingredient shouldn't be a problem, same with timothy; but...  I question the safety of sorghum (it is a grain type forage plant , similar to say oat hay, but I don't know the stats on it, so don't know if it's higher or lower in sugar/starch), rice bran is higher in Omega 6s (just how much fat does it add to the ration, is the fat level above the recommended level for metabolic horses).

I know of some that swear by Thrive for their senior horses, say it turned them around and worked wonders for them (as far as I know normal seniors, not IR or Cushings).  I wouldn't know, I don't live near where Thrive is offered to even try it, and shipping is out of the question (freight would be majorly high to here).


MT 9/04

lynn larson


Thank you!   That reply is genius! 

And looking at the pricing of timothy and beet pulp, I am in trouble.  It would be at least $100 extra/horse/month to switch to beet pulp and timothy (from the thrive and coastal) and that doesn't include the supplements or the medication.

We only have coastal around here.  It is too hot for other hay crops.

If it's possible to stay on the Thrive and soak the coastal, that would be a welcome solution.

Georgetown TX

Lavinia Fiscaletti

Hi Lynn,

Coastal hay is used by many - no need to change it. Once you test yours you will know whether you need to soak it or not. Timothy is another option but no guarantee it is a better optiont. All hays need to be tested to know what's in, missing from them.

The Thrive is totally not appropriate for an IR horse and not really a great choice for any horse. It has added iron (always a no-no except for foals who are stall bound), rice bran (inverted omega 3:6 profile, arsenic contamination), grain sorghum, kelp (unknown mineral content, can be extremely high iodine), soybean meal, Yucca (has a corticosteroid effect), fat min 3% (no max, could be much higher and is of wrong type), crude protein min 15% (no maximum given).

Alfalfa can be an issue for many horses - has excessively high protein, high starch (even tho ESC+Starch is usually below 10%), excessively high calcium makes mineral balancing very difficult. It's not recommended until your horse is stable and you know for sure that small amounts are tolerated well.

Lavinia, Dante, George Too and Peanut
Jan 05, RI
EC Support Team


Hi Lynn,

I think it's possible that maybe you misinterpreted something along the way here.  You do not have to replace your coastal hay with Timothy hay.  What we recommend is grass hay as opposed to legume hay.  No matter what kind of grass hay, it needs to be tested to be sure it's "safe", i.e., under 10% sugar (ESC) + starch.  The #603, trainers package from EA (link provided in my earlier message to you), will give you the sugar and starch and the mineral profile of your hay.  Check with your local coop or extension office to see if they have a hay probe that you can borrow.  Many do.  Call EA and ask them to send you some Forage kits, which include a prepaid envelope for sending your hay sample in.  Here, on EA's site is the common feed profile of Bermudagrass (aka coastal) hay.  http://equi-analytical.com/interactive-common-feed-profile/   I'm not sure that will come up on the Bermudagrass page.  You may have to look for it again, but it's there.  It gives you the analyses from the samples they have tested over the years with the averages and normal ranges.  As you can see, Bermudagrass, as well as ALL hays can vary in the sugar and starch content quite a bit.  The weather, time of cutting, fertilization, drought conditions, etc etc all effect the s/s content and some those factors effect the mineral content as well.

You can certainly send a sample of the Thrive in to have it tested, but I can save you $54 there.  We will not recommend it.  I was pressed for time this morning so did not go over each ingredient with you that we do not recommend, but here is a partial evaluation of Thrive from the ECIR standpoint:.
1)  Alfalfa--a legume hay.  Can be low in sugar, but can also be high in starch.  Also, some horses get footsore on it.  If yours haven't, great, just some do.  
2)  Grain sorghum.  NO grain is recommended until your horse(s) are in much harder work than they currently are and then oats can be used in a very controlled manner.   More details on that in the files if/when the time comes for you to need it.
3) Soy meal.  Not recommended.  Read this message:  https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/EquineCushings/conversations/messages/124594 
4) Rice bran.  Not recommended.  Aside from the fact that it has arsenic in it, the Omega 3:6 ratio is upside down.  We use ground flax seed  in our non grazing animals to provide Omega 3's and 6's in the ratio that most closely matches fresh grass, about 4:1.  Rice bran has LOTS of Omega 6 (pro inflammatory) but hardly any Omega 3's (anti-inflammatory).
5)  Kelp.  Not recommended because of contamination and varying Iodine amounts.  Read this post by Dr Kellon: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/EquineCushings/conversations/messages/75746  
6)  Ferrous sulfate.  Not recommended.  Most IR horses are already iron overloaded and they get plenty of iron from the dirt in their diet.  You can find more information about iron overload in our files and archives message and on our website in the NO Laminits proceedings.

Hope that helps!

Maggie, Chancey and Spiral in VA 


I have a complete analysis on Thrive from 2011. I'm seriously disturbed by his response because the starch in Thrive tests at 21.2%. Yes, it is low "sugar" (ESC) at 2.7%, but the starch alone negates any benefits of low sugar. 

I trust and respect those who claim NOT to know everything. Once you claim to know everything, then your mind is closed off to learning.

Kathleen (KFG in KCMO)
Missouri - USA 2005