I will be foxhunting on a thoroughbred / Percheron cross this season in a hilly
part of Virginia. Do you recommend studs and if so, what size?
of the liability that goes with recommending studs and not being able to see the
terrain for myself I can not recommend what size studs you should use. I will
say it is generally better to have too little traction than too much.
You must make the decision on the size for yourself and I would suggest that you
discuss this with your farrier and your veterinarian. Too large a stud can cause
ligament, tendon and muscle damage as well as the breaking of bones. This is no
simple decision to make.
You need to be sure to take extra time giving your horse a good slow warm-up on
the flat when you have studs in. At least 5 - 10 minutes walking followed by a
similar amount of time at an easy trot would suffice for most horses. If you
ride to the hunt this would probably serve as your warm-up but if you haul over
you will want to spend the extra time warming up to keep from breaking your
I would suggest that you begin with small studs for training and conditioning so
you can get a feel of how secure your horse's footing feels. If he is still
slipping then you increase the size. If he is not slipping at
all, stay with the smallest ones possible. Having said that, I think it would be
safe for me to say that if I were riding your horse I might try road studs in
the front shoes and tungsten tipped small grass studs behind.
Again--too little traction is far better than too much.
Developing the riding skill to balance your horse and of course having the horse
trained well enough to let you balance it will go a long way towards allowing
you to use smaller studs and doing less damage to the horse when you do use
Don't forget that any time you shoe for studs your farrier should put clips on
the shoes. For most horses I use toe clips on the front feet and quarter clips
on the hind. Without clips you are quite likely to leave your studs and shoes
behind you from time to time which is not only quite inconvenient but will tear
up your horse's hoof.
I hope this gives you some guidance. Be careful.
The American Blacksmith