When JLE came off XC at the spring Aspen Farms H.T. and told me that Dandy was getting his shoes tapped and drilled next time he was due, I was super excited. Studs!
I’ve always wanted to play around with studs and, even though I know this doesn’t make any sense, it kind of felt like Dandy had ‘made it.’ Oh how little I knew. Turns out the only thing studs were good for was that it allowed me to indulge my tackaholic and buy more things. And I suppose they gave Dandy more grip when he competed on grass.
For example: because you’re new to this whole stud business, you might forget that stud holes need to be cleaned out if you’re not going to plug them regularly and you might not realize you even need studs until you’re leading your horse out of the stall to go to stadium warm-up and the barn manager asks where your studs are. UGH. And yes, that was me. I didn’t realize JLE wanted Dandy to have studs on any time he had to compete in the grass. Cleaning stud holes in the dark when you’re preparing for an 8:00 am XC go isn’t all that much fun either. But after a couple of shows, I think I’ve got the basics down.
- After bathing your horse before the big weekend, clean out the stud holes and fill with blanks. Do NOT leave these blanks in long term as they will rust and attach to the shoe if they get wet too often. Or you can use other types of plugs but I really don’t like the cotton, it was always falling apart on me and just as hard to get out as any dirt that might have gotten in.
- Once the horse is groomed and booted, remove the plugs and replace with the pre-decided studs.
- Do fabulously.
- Untack horse. Leave boots on until the studs are out.
- If you need to use studs in a later phase, put the blanks back in the holes. Clean studs and put them away for next time.
- Repeat steps 2-4 until event is finished.
- When the event is finished (or you know you’re not going to need studs any further), clean any studs that aren’t already put away and clean your blanks. Put everything back in your stud box until next time.
- And when all else fails, get a wonderful boyfriend who will take care of your horse’s studs for you!
Anyway, once I got the hang of studs they weren’t too bad. JLE would tell me what to use the day before and I’d have it all ready to go. After the spring H.T. at Aspen, the weather stayed nice though the ground was a bit hard but that made it even easier to stud because he just went in the same set up each time: small road studs in the fronts and small grass tips in the hinds.
When Dandy had his shoes tapped and drilled, the hole on the inside of his left hind got messed up so we couldn’t actually get a stud into that one. I guess this occasionally happens but it meant he ran around with only seven studs. This didn’t seem to bother him at all. And I am glad that we ended up getting him set up for studs, he was a lot more steady with them in.
I finally, after Dandy’s very last horse trial of course, got my own stud kit put together. Part of this is because I wanted to make sure I knew what I really needed and part of it was because I couldn’t remember exactly what studs I was using between shows. But here is what is in my stud kit (actual box to hold them all coming at a later date):
- A wrench to tighten the studs as, unless you’re Superman, you can really only get them so tight with your bare hands
- Stud Hole Cleaner – should be obvious…
- Safety Tap to help clean out the threads
- A magnetic dish really is a must have, helps you to not lose studs but if you happen to drop one, it’s strong enough to help you dig for it
- Some sort of tackle box or organizer to hold studs and/or blanks. I got mine for $2 at Walmart.
- Stud Suds or some other type of cleaner for your studs
So there you go: that’s my quick and simple guide to studs, all learned on the fly. I will never be so eager to start studding a horse again but I do appreciate having learned a few basics that will carry over to any other horse I ever own.
As a disclaimer, don’t start using studs without talking to a knowledgeable trainer or professional.