Reduce Slipping with Horseshoe Studs
If, like me, you sometimes work your horse on grass or on muddy ground, you're no doubt familiar with that anxious feeling you get when your horse's feet slip on a turn or as they prepare to take off right before a jump. Whilst mild slips may throw your horse off balance for a second, more nasty falls can lead to serious injury. Fortunately, my horse Henry has never been badly hurt due to a slip, but there are times when I've been worried. Believe me, it's the worst feeling in the world! Once I took the decision to add horseshoe studs, slipping reduced significantly.
What are horseshoe studs?
The solutions to issues with traction are horseshoe studs. These studs can punch through the wet and slippery surface down to the firmer ground below. Screw-in studs are available in various shapes and sizes and should be selected according to the type of surface and the depth they will have to penetrate. Studs are essentially short metal prongs which are set into the horse’s shoes. These help to increase traction on treacherous surfaces, providing greater stability when the horse tries to jump, turn or stop.
How to get started with studs
If you're thinking about using horseshoe studs, your first port of call should be your farrier. They will need to drill stud holes into your horse’s shoes. Some people opt to fit just a single stud hole on the outside of each shoe. However, I've learned that it’s best to have two on each shoe in order to keep the hoof as balanced and level as possible.
The next thing you'll need to decide on is the type of studs you require. There are many shapes and sizes available on the market, and so don't be afraid to seek expert advice on this issue. Although some equestrians have as many as 20 types of studs in their kits, you may find that just a couple of styles will cover you for what you need. Choose small or medium sized studs that have pointed ends. These studs can easily penetrate hard ground that has become slippery. You should also consider medium/large dome or bulked studs which provide an excellent level of grip on soft wet ground.
Fitting and removing studs
Once the farrier has drilled your stud holes and you have your stud kit ready, you'll then need to practice fitting and removing the studs. Traditionally, holes were drilled with a thread matching the thread on the stem of the stud. This allows the stud to screw into the stud hole to keep it secure and in place. However, despite the fact that screw studs have been quite adequate for several years, most riders will tell you that the task of fitting them is a nightmare. Alternatives on the market include studs which have a revolutionary, threadless design. These studs can be fitted to your horse in less than a couple of minutes, saving you a great deal of time, effort and back ache!
Things to bear in mind
There are a few important things you should take into consideration once you begin to use horseshoe studs.
- Always remove the studs as soon as possible once your horse no longer requires them.
- Never transport your horse in studs (unless they are road or sleep studs). Not only could this lead to severe injury should he become unbalanced, but it may also damage your trailer floor.
- It's important to use boots on your horse if he is wearing studs. This will help to protect his legs should he knock into himself.