All You Need to Know About Using Studs!

What stud to use, when to use them…its a minefield…but you’ll be pleased to know we’ve been doing some “stud-ying” (see what we did there?!) and with some expert help, we’ve got the lowdown on all you need to know about using studs on your horse or pony.

Which studs when?horseshoe-Studs

It’s all down to personal choice there is really no right or wrong answer here, but there are some things you should take into account when trying to decide:

  1. The ground conditions – generally speaking, the harder the ground, the pointier the stud you need to penetrate the surface. So, if it’s wet and slippy, go for the squarer or domed studs that will offer more surface area to gain a grip on the ground. If it’s hard, then go for the sharper stud.
  2. The type of horse – Try to pick studs that match the size of your horse or pony. A small pony, only needs small studs.
  3. The type of competition/activity  -if you’re show jumping for example, and  are going to be making very tight turns  you might go for slightly larger studs than you would use on the same ground for less-demanding activities.

Front or back or both?

People generally use either the same studs in the front shoes as behind, or slightly larger ones in the hind shoes – never the other way round. If you use two studs in each shoe, either use the same ones inside and out, or smaller ones on the inside to reduce the risk of your horse catching itself with the stud in the other shoe.

How many studs should I use per shoe?

It’s all about grip, and if you use two studs per shoe rather than one, you will improve the grip for your horse. It’s also thought the more symmetrical action of two studs stops any twisting of the limbs caused by one side of the shoe gripping better than the other, and hence reduces the risk of injury. Experts and farriers recommend  using a pair of studs (one in each side of the shoe) in either both rear shoes or all four shoes in order to maintain foot balance.

What are the risks of using studs?

Stud guard girth Credit Horsehealth

There are some risks and the main ones are that the horse might catch itself with a stud, particularly if you are using them on the inside as well as the outside of the shoe. You can help to reduce the chances of this by using a smaller stud on the inside. Also consider a stud guard girth if you are jumping, to prevent the horse wounding his underside from studs in the front shoes.

Also, if you were to fall off and get trodden on, that’s going to hurt especially if the stud is a large one!

What kit do I need?

stud-kitYou can buy stud kits which come with all the tools and studs you might need, but you can also make up your own. We suggest you have a selection of square/domed and pointed studs – 4 or better still 8 of each. You will need a tapper (to clean the thread in the stud hole before use), a spanner to tighten the stud in, and a strong back to do all four shoes! Another great bit of kit is a magnetic bowl or wrist band which keeps the studs all together and close at hand for fitting purposes.  Don’t forget cotton wool or other plug material – more on that next!



Top Tips


Speaking from experience, here at Totally Horse & Pony Magazine we have tried virtually everything to stop our stud holes from becoming blocked – from ready made cotton wool plugs which go like bullets and are impossible to get out, to pieces of sponge which just break up, to natural lambswool allegedly great for its lanolin content  (we didn’t find that!) to rubber plugs. In our humble opinion, cotton wool balls are the best – although not great, and we are currently considering trying some sleeper studs which you screw in, but they all seem to have a slight raise on them rather than being flat to the shoe, and it’s not advisable to leave them in for any length of time as they will also become very difficult to get out.

Prep before the event

Putting studs in can be a time-consuming back breaking business! Don’t leave it until you are just about to go in the ring! We recommend cleaning out and tapping shoes before you leave home -making sure you replug them with cotton wool before travelling (note- we strongly advise against travelling in studs). Even then, when you arrive, make sure you allow enough time to put them in, at least one of them will have filled up with a stone, or the thread will have gone wonky!

Don’t forget to remove them!

Sounds stupid, but it’s easily done in the euphoria after the event! Re-plug them and store the studs away till next time!



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