Stud hole maintenance tips

Anthony Lawrence blogs about the care of stud holes

Perhaps nothing in the shoeing process causes as much frustration (for those who use them) as stud holes. A vital component of traction for sport horses, they can be very problematic for competitors to deal with… and usually at the worst possible time, when you get to your event and need to screw in your studs.

Like everything, stud holes require proper maintenance to sidestep this infuriating occurrence.

A 5/16″ hole is punched to be tapped with a 3/8″ thread. All studs and stud holes in NZ use this standard.

They should anyway 🙂

The stud holes in your horses shoes are subject to interaction between the ground and your 600kg horse with every single step he takes, often on bitumen, gravel, mud, manure, urine etc. That is a pretty hostile environment for a precision fitting situation such as the threads of a stud hole, that are tapped to fit precisely with the thread of your stud.

Any damage to the thread of the stud hole and you will have problems screwing in the stud. Without some sort of protection for your stud holes, they become packed with the above, which is very difficult to remove from a possibly stressed and wriggling horse at a show. Worse still, the leading edge of the stud hole will be burred over and damaged, making it impossible to get the stud in without re-tapping the hole.

This is not stuff you want to fool around with at the show.

We’ve all seen it!

Some people stuff the holes with cotton wool or use rubber stoppers or some such method to keep dirt out. but this does not save from damage from the ground. and often you still have to re-tap to get the studs in.

Inserting the studs is much easier in a stud hole that has been protected with keepers I strongly recommend some sort of screw in stud keepers to protect the hole from damage. It then becomes an easy matter to remove the the keepers and screw in the studs to a preserved stud hole.

Even this is not foolproof and requires some periodic maintenance to avoid frustration at the horse show.

Fine dust particles work into the threads and along with moisture, they can rust tight, making them difficult or impossible to remove.

If using hex-head keepers, the head can wear down to the point where you cannot get your spanner on.

This is easily prevented by checking the keepers once a week to inspect for wear and to move the keeper, i.e. screw it out a few turns and screw it back in to prevent the rusting in problem.

It is not a bad idea to brush the threads of your studs and your keepers to remove dirt and apply some grease or oil to lubricate and prevent rust when screwing them in and out.

Lastly, be very careful not to cross-thread when screwing in studs and keepers.

With these few steps, it should prevent any hassles when you need your studs in – at the horse show.

But Murphy and his Law are ever present. If anything can go wrong, it will; and at the worst possible moment. So be armed with the various paraphernalia to clean out and re-tap stud holes in an emergency. These are available from any decent saddlery.

All good advice 🙂 Original post by Anthony is here

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