We get a lot of questions about stud holes – mainly from people that have never used them before. They are a great way to add temporary grip and traction and can be changed depending on the surface you are going to be working on. To get the best from them you need to make sure you maintain them well and ensure you follow the correct preparation process before they are required:
- Clean the stud hole out – we usually pack stud holes with cotton wool so use something small and strong to pick this out. Make sure the hole is cleared of all dirt, packing and stones as they generally get full of dirt and debris!
- Rethread the hole – This is essential! As the horse moves on any surface a small burr will develop over the opening of the hole. If you don’t remove this you will find it impossible to get a stud in (and may damage the stud if you do). To do this you will need a tap (3/8 BSW). They are readily available in most tack shops. Tip: Spray a little WD40 into the hole before you use the thread. When doing this ensure your horse does not put their foot down as it may snap in the stud hole if they do. (It can be much easier to clean the stud holes out the night before a show as horses are always more settled in their own environment!)
- Carefully screw the stud in – It is important that you do not cross thread the stud. If you have rethreaded the holes well the stud should go in easily. Do not over tighten the stud, but do not leave it too loose as you may find it disappears!
- Choose the correct stud for the surface you are working on – If you are working on very hard ground it is essential that you use the smallest tap possible to achieve the grip necessary. Studs will inevitably change the balance of the hoof as you want to upset this as little as possible. Slipping will reduce your horses confidence so you need to consider the selection carefully to find the best solution available.
- Protect your horse – Large studs will obviously protrude from the bottom of the shoe. A horse moving at speed, or jumping (particularly when tired) may strike themselves or stand on themselves. If using studs in the front feet seriously consider using a stud guard girth to prevent injury to the horse. Be careful riding around other horses too, a kick with studs will do massive damage, and tread injuries will be significant too!
- Remove the studs when finished – Make sure the studs are removed after use. Use a spanner to gently remove them from the shoe. Avoid twisting the whole foot as much as possible – hold it as firmly as you can when turning the stud to prevent it moving.
- Protect the stud hole for next time – Repack the stud hole with what ever you feel is best. I have tried so many different packings and always seem to come back to cotton wool. The screw in ones that sit flush can be good, but avoid road work with them in as if the shoe wears too much they can be impossible to get out!
- Ask as many questions as you can – If you have any concerns or are unsure of how to use your stud holes speak to your farrier or trainer.