Which Studs When?
Choosing which studs to use is a very personal decision, and we find that, even among the top riders, there is little consensus as to what studs will work best on a particular occasion. We can, however, offer some general guidelines to help you make your own decision.
Generally speaking, the more pointed studs are designed to be used when the ground is hard and/or slippery, and the square, dome and bullet-shaped studs are designed for use when the going is soft. Some of the studs are a hybrid, for example, the Small Conical (SS002) is our most popular 'all-round' stud – providing grip in the largest variety of ground conditions, from reasonably firm to quite soft. The Sharp stud (SS008) is designed for typical British weather – for instance, when there has been recent, heavy rain on top of hard ground (as can be the case in the summer). People generally use either the same studs in the front shoes as behind, or slightly larger ones in the hind shoes – never the other way round. If you use two studs in each shoe, either use the same ones inside and out, or smaller ones on the inside to reduce the risk of your horse catching itself with the stud in the other shoe.
The Type of Horse
A general rule would be that, the smaller the horse/pony, the smaller the studs that are likely to be appropriate to use. The impact of a large stud on a smaller, lighter animal will be more extreme than on a heavier animal, and you need to bear this in mind when selecting studs.
Type of Activity
This will also affect your choice of studs to an extent – if you are going to be making very tight turns (such as in a show-jumping jump-off or higher level dressage test) you might go for slightly larger studs than you would use on the same ground for less-demanding activities. Remember, though, that larger studs increase the chance of your horse catching itself with a stud, particularly if you are using them on the inside as well as the outside of the shoe. Also, if you were to fall off and get trodden on, the larger the stud the greater the potential damage!
If you are using studs for the first time or are unsure which ones to use, don't be afraid to ask other riders for their opinion, but remember that it is a personal choice and the final decision is up to you!