How Much Grain to Feed a Horse Per Day

Updated February 14, 2024
grain being poured into a horses feed bucket

You can figure out what nutrients horse is getting from his grain by following these easy steps. Need help? Call our experts at 1-800-461-8898.

What You'll Need:

  • the label from your horse’s grain bag
  • a bucket with your horse’s normal daily ration
  • a scale to weigh the grain
  • a lightweight plastic bag
  • your horse’s weight & workload (check our weight calculator)

Weigh In

If you already know how many pounds of grain your horse eats per day, that's great! You can skip to the next section. If you’re not sure, it’s time to weigh in.

Grain rations are always based on weight (as in pounds), not volume (as in quarts). If you’re feeding by quarts or “scoops,” put your horse’s normal daily ration into a light plastic bag and weigh it (shipping scales work great). if you don’t have a scale, we recommend the SureScoop.

Check the Label

Most feeds will list how many pounds of grain should be fed per 100 pounds of your horse’s body weight, depending on his workload.

Start by dividing your horse’s weight by 100, then multiply that number by the serving recommended for your horse’s age and workload. The resulting range is the amount of grain that would be required per day to meet all of your horse’s nutrient requirements.

Sample Steps for Calculating How Much Grain to Feed

  • Weight: 1100 pounds
  • Workload: Heavy Exercise
  • Daily grain ration: 4 lbs (AM & PM total)
  • 1100 pounds/100 = 11
  • 11 x 0.6 to 0.8 lbs = 6.6 to 8.8 lbs/day

Because this example horse is only getting 4 lbs of grain and the minimum serving size for his workload is 6.6 lbs, his daily ration is not meeting his nutrient needs.

Measuring Up

If your horse’s normal daily ration falls within the range you calculated, you’re good to go! His daily diet is already meeting his nutritional needs.

If, however, your horse’s daily grain is coming up short, that doesn’t mean you need to up his grain. If your horse is maintaining his weight and his energy level is good, instead of increasing his grain, consider adding a multi-vitamin or ration balancer. These supplements can “fill the gap,” providing the additional nutrients he needs, without the extra calories and energy he doesn’t!

Reasons Your Horse Might Not Get a Full Serving of Grain

  1. He is overweight or gains weight easily
  2. He gets more than one type of grain or a “mixed ration”
  3. He is high energy or “hot”

Infographic on Reading a Grain Feed Label

how to read horse grain feed bag label infographic

Additional Resources

SmartPak strongly encourages you to consult your veterinarian regarding specific questions about your horse's health. This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, and is purely educational.