Guide to Using Studs in Eventing

Posted on 15th March 2019 by Josh Millar

Questions I regularly get asked.

“One stud hole or two?”
“My friend’s horse has three studs, should I?”
“Should I use the same size studs in the same foot?”
“Should I use the same size studs in all four feet?”

Ultimately there is no right or wrong, the answers to some of these questions are personal preference, but for me, as a farrier, I believe the ultimate combination should be appropriate for the task in hand.

Generally speaking less is more. I’m not saying you should be sliding all over the place, but equally stopping the foot as it lands will cause excess trauma on the soft tissues not only within the hoof capsule but also the limb, especially in the forelimbs. So a balance should be found. This is something you begin to gauge as you become more experienced at reading the ground conditions and knowing your horse. It’s important to remember that on soft ground where the foot will sink in more than the depth of the shoe (generally 3/8” or 10mm) the horses frog will add additional traction, so all of a sudden you have not only the studs and the shoe but also the frog making a big difference in the amount of traction you’ll have.

I always use apply shoes with a minimum of two stud holes…why?

Three of my main aims are to, create symmetry, balance and a level footfall. This can happen with the application of two studs. As when the foot comes into land, both studs will make contact at the same time. However, with only one stud in place, there is an increased likelihood it will grab, twist the foot and limb, alter the loading phase and the next flight phase. Small deviations like this increase fatigue and chances of injury. It is a very small detail but ultimately details make a picture. We are striving for perfection.

Same size studs?

In the same foot yes. However, if you’re worried about an interference (one limb striking another) then a smaller stud could be applied to minimise the chances of an injury.

Same size studs in all four feet?

Not necessarily, use of larger studs in the hind feet can make a huge difference, this not only gives you more traction when the horse is accelerating and slowing but also on the tight and twisty courses where horses will be pushing heavily off the inside leg.”

Step by step guide to studding up:



It’s important to remember being thorough on each process will make the next one easier.

Josh Millar

Posted by Josh Millar


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