How to Put Studs in a Horseshoe

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Horseshoe studs are metal "caulks" that are driven into the bottom of the horse's shoes to provide traction. They are helpful for riding activities that require your horse to turn or jump quickly from a slick or muddy surface, such as foxhunting, cross-country jumping or steeplechasing. Horseshoe studs can allow your horse to turn, gallop and jump with balance and confidence.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Studs (various sizes)
  • Horseshoes with stud holes (3/8" diameter)
  • Tiny stiff brush
  • Tee Tap or safety tap
  • Tiny firm cotton plugs, or metal "blanks"
  • Wrench (and Allen key, if using metal blanks)
  • Rags or small sponge
  • Stud cleaner or lubricant
  • Box with small sections to hold equipment

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  1. 1

    Pick up the horse's front leg. Rest the hoof on your knee to stabilize it. If the horse won't keep its foot there, put the lower leg in the crook of your arm and hold the hoof with your hand.

  2. 2

    Clear the stud holes of debris. If you have metal "blanks" in place (which keep out dirt), use an Allen key to remove them. Use the tiny stiff brush to clean the holes thoroughly. Spray with lubricant. Putting studs into dirty stud holes can ruin the threads of the stud.

  3. 3

    Tap the stud hole with a tee tap or safety tap. Screw until you just touch the hoof wall. A safety tap is highly recommended; it prevents you from screwing too far and bruising the horse's hoof. Also, if the horse puts its foot down, it won't be injured.

  4. 4

    Screw the both studs in by hand. Tighten the studs firmly with a wrench before setting the horse's leg back down. If this is the first time the horse is wearing studs, lead it for a few minutes by hand to so that it becomes accustomed to the feel.

  1. 1

    Pick up the horse's front leg. Do not let the horse put its foot down until you are finished, otherwise you can lose studs (and toes).

  2. 2

    Unscrew both studs using the wrench. Place the studs in the box so you don't lose them.

  3. 3

    Brush the holes free of debris. Spray the holes with lubricant to clean them.

  4. 4

    Insert cotton plugs and/or metal blanks. It keeps the holes clean and prepped for next time.

  5. 5

    Put down the horse's leg. Move on to the other hooves.

  6. 6

    Spray the studs with lubricant and brush the threads thoroughly to remove all dirt. Dry them with a rag or sponge and store them in a small plastic container with a small amount of lubricant. This way they are ready for next time, and they will last much longer.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the smallest stud you can for the conditions. Large studs can put a lot of strain on a horse's ligaments. A little slipping is better than a strained or jarred ligament. Consult your trainer or farrier for suggestions.
  • Insert studs right before you need them, and remove them as soon as possible afterwards.
  • Always use studs in pairs: one stud on each side of the hoof, and studs in both the right and left hooves. Only use small, blunt studs on the inside of the horse's hoof; large or pointy ones can injure the horse. Use smaller studs in the back hooves (or not at all), to prevent injury from overreaching.
  • Always use protective boots when your horse is wearing studs.
  • Do not leave your horse unattended while it is wearing studs. This includes leaving it in a stall or turning it out.
  • Do not ship or transport your horse with studs.
  • Be careful around the horse when putting in studs. Do not put the horse's hoof down until you are finished. The horse can easily break your foot if it steps on you.
  • Do not use studs if you will be riding on hard surfaces (such as asphalt). This is tough on the horse's ligaments and can make the surface feel more slippery.

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