The Types of Spiked Horse Shoes

Written by marla white
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The Types of Spiked Horse Shoes
Nahmi Jones on Simon the Likeable

If you are riding on slick surfaces like grass, mud or deep sand, you can give your horse more traction by adding "spikes" called studs to her horse shoes. The type of stud you use depends on the type of surface, the sport, and you and your horse's level of experience.

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Studs (also known as caulks, caulks and plugs) can be screwed into your horse's shoe to give him more traction much like a football cleat or golf spike. While primarily used for cross country jumping, studs can help any rider in any discipline where greater traction is needed including dressage and show jumping.

The Types of Spiked Horse Shoes
Nahmi Jones on Simon the Likeable


The two basic types of studs are road studs for harder, compact surfaces and grass studs for deeper footing.

The Types of Spiked Horse Shoes
Some typical road studs


Road studs are small, short square studs developed for riding on England's hard-packed roads. Grass studs are much longer and have a pointed tip to penetrate grassy surfaces. Some are shaped more like bullets to give better traction in muddy situations.

The Types of Spiked Horse Shoes
Grass and bullet shaped studs


Choosing which studs to use can be difficult and confusing. Both road and grass studs come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. If you aren't sure, ask an expert. When in doubt, choose the smallest ones possible to prevent injuring your horse.


You must have your farrier prepare the shoe--a process known as "drilling and tapping"--before you can use studs. You'll also need to put a plug in the holes that have been drilled and tapped until you're ready to use the studs.

The Types of Spiked Horse Shoes
Rubber plugs and a nail to clean the holes or remove plugs


Always use studs in pairs on your horse shoes with a duller stud to the inside to prevent your horse from injuring himself. Put the studs in just before you're ready to ride and remove them immediately after your done. Never turn a horse out or trailer him with studs on.

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