Horse studs are small metal attachments that screw into your horses shoes. Studs are designed to give your horse better grip when you ride, and are commonly used for competition horses in all disciplines. Studs are available in various shapes and sizes, with each designed to offer extra grip in different conditions, whether this is on the road, in soft muddy ground, hard ground, slippery greasy ground, or even on an arena surface. To attach a stud to your horse, you’ll need your farrier to fit a shoe with drilled stud holes.
Studs are designed to provide extra grip, so you need to use studs on your horse whenever there is a likelihood that the horse may slip.
If a horse has previously slipped into a fence, on landing, or travelling around a corner, they may be worried about their footing rather than concentrating on the job in hand. Studding a horse will give them the grip and confidence to perform to the best of their ability.
Although muddy conditions may be the first that spring to mind, there’s many different types of conditions where studs will be called for. Firm ground which is covered in dew or had a short summer shower can be very greasy and slippery, some roads surfaces can be slippy, and even some arena surfaces can provide more movement than you’d think.
Here at Eland Lodge we stock a broad range of studs by leading equestrian brand SupaStuds. We’ve pulled together this handy guide showing you the different types of studs, the length of stud, the ground conditions they are designed for, and the activities they can be used for.
All horses and riding styles are different, so which studs you use is down to personal preference and performance. The type of studs your horse needs will be influenced by the ground conditions, the type of horse and the type of activity you’re doing.
If you’re new to studs, or if you have a new horse, the best thing to do is to ride on different ground and conditions, and try out different studs until you find what makes your horse perform the best. It’s important not to overstud, so always start with the smallest stud and work up.
When choosing studs, it’s important to remember that a small amount of slip when the hoof makes contact with the surface is the horse’s natural way of absorbing concussion. Choosing the right studs is a fine balance between allowing for this natural movement, while avoiding bigger slips that could result in an accident or injury.
For hard ground, you’ll need studs which are pointed so they penetrate the surface – the harder the ground, the shorter & sharper the stud needs to be. Sharp studs, small dressage studs, and small conical studs are ideal for firmer ground.
For softer or slippier ground, you’ll need studs with a bigger surface area to help grip and push – a bigger or wider stud is best. The dome, bullet, polo and large conical studs are idea for wet and muddy ground.
For typical British summers, where the ground is firm then a short shower makes the top greasy, a hybrid stud like the sharp or conical studs are ideal.
The type of activity you’re doing will also influence the need for studs. Horses that are travelling at faster speeds, jumping larger fences or making tighter turns are more likely to need extra support than those riding on the same ground but undertaking less demanding activities.
Although studs were traditionally used for work on grass, it is increasingly common to see them used in arenas to give extra stability and grip. Larger horses, and those making sharp turns are most likely to benefit from the use of the arena stud.
The type of horse you're riding, and the horse's natural balance and surefootedness on slippery ground will have a large influence over the type of studs you need. The impact of a stud will be in proportion to the size and weight of the horse, so a large stud on a smaller horse will have more of an impact the same stud on a much larger and heavier horse.
Larger studs are not suitable for use on Ponies, SupaStuds recommend sticking to the Road Stud, Mini Sharp Stud, Polo Stud and Small Dressage Stud to avoid the risk of injuries.
Getting the right studs will help you achieve the best performance, but it’s definitely not an easy decision! If you need some help, contact our friendly shop team for a chat and advice on where to start.