Horse Studs Explained

No, we are not talking about stallions. Studs are small metal attachments that screw into your horse’s shoes. Your farrier will tap 2 holes per shoe for the studs to get screwed in when you need them. Studs are designed to give horse’s better grip when riding/jumping on difficult terrain. There is a large variety of studs and it can be overwhelming when trying to decide what type of studs you need.

In our area, studs are mostly used for show jumping on grass or eventing. The studs provide extra traction when turning, pushing off the ground and landing. It is important to understand studs and practice with them before going into the show ring with them.

Studs should be utilized for a variety of different conditions, from soft muddy conditions to firm ground that might be covered in dew, or even be slippery for being dry in the middle of summer. Choosing the correct studs for the day will depend on the ground conditions, your horse, personal preference and the type of activity you are doing.

Here are 5 quick tips when using studs

  1. Start Small. You can easily cause injury to your horse’s legs if putting too much of a stud on your horse when they are not used to it. There is 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.
  2. Keep it symmetrical. For the average rider and horse, you want to use the same type of studs on the same hoof. You can use different on fronts and hinds, but you don’t want to put uneven torque on a horse’s leg.
  3. Keep it short. Only stud up for your riding time, don’t leave your horse in their stall with studs in. It is important to take them out as soon as you are finished with them. Don’t ride or lead your horse on hard ground if they have studs on.
  4. Practice! Listen to your horse when you practice with different types of studs. Do they feel confident and carry you to the fences, or are they feeling unsure in the turns?
  5. Don’t forget the leg work! Since jumping with or without studs will cause more concussions on your horse’s legs, don’t forget to do the legwork care after. Including but not limited to, cold hosing, liniment, poultice, ice baths and/or standing wraps.

Types of Studs

This is just a quick overview of some basic stud types and not a complete guide. As always know your horse.


Road Studs

These are some of the smallest studs that you can find. Typically, small flat square in style, sometimes with a point in the middle. These are designed to be durable on hard ground and give just that little bit of extra grip.

Grass Studs

Grass Studs can come in a wide variety of styles, but typically have more of a sharp point to help poke through the harder ground to allow for better grip for the horse.  This is one of our most common and best selling studs for our area and local show series.

Bullet Studs

Shaped like a bullet, these round longer studs can be used on generally good footing when you need just a little bit more contact.

Deep Footing Studs

This style of studs have quite a range of shapes under the name, but are typically a larger wider stud. These are used on muddy, or soft ground. These stuffs have a bigger surface area to help grip and push. They can be hexagon-shaped or dome like.


What else is in your stud kit?

The studs are just one small part of your stud kit. I like to use a tackle box to organize my studs. In my stud kit, I also have

  • Tap – to rethread if needed. It is a good idea to clean your stud holes out and retap a day before you need them.
  • A wire brush and pick. This helps to get any small rocks or dirt that can get stuck in the stud holes.
  • Cotton Balls, this is what I use to stuff the stud holes when not in use, but everyone can have a different preference. Some people like the pre-made stud plugs, while others will use foam earplugs cut in two.
  • Crescent Wrench – To tighten the studs in place and take them out
  • WD-40 – to help keep the studs lubricated.
  • A variety of studs.


Other Tack

If your horse is jumping with studs, protective boots are impor tant to help protect your horse’s legs in case an accident happens. Bell Boots can also be a good option depending on the horse’s style of going. A stud girth is important to protect your horse’s belly if they jump in deep or tight with their front legs. You wouldn’t want the studs to cause injury to your horse’s sternum.