Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Stud Update

Ben and I have had a journey with studs together. Last January we had an unfortunate slip into a MIM oxer at Rocking Horse. We pieced together what happened and then got his confidence back with studs. And they became a part of our XC routine every time. Then in September, I discovered that neglecting your stud holes leads to non-functional stud holes. I embarked on a bit of a journey to figure out what method of maintenance led to the best results. Our competitors (all photos from Nunn Finer): 

1. Stud blanks - put in and taken out with an allen wrench
2. Rubber stud plugs - put in and taken out with pointy tool or horse shoe nail. Emma kindly sent me a sample of these to test out. 

3. Greased cotton plugs - put in and taken out with pointy tool or horse shoe nail

To be fair, I haven't put any of these things to the lengthy test of months of benign neglect that my stud holes suffered before becoming non-functional in September. We've been out cross country every 3 weeks or so since then in one way or another. So YMMV depending on your footing conditions and frequency of use. 

The clear loser? The stud blanks. Ben has a currently non-functional left front medial stud hole because there is a blank rusted into place there. And I was trying to keep things functional. I would clean out the hole a day or two post use and then grease it with silicon grease and then put the blank in. But Florida is WET and the blank became one with the shoe around it. My husband might have been able to wrench it out, but Ben doesn't care nearly as much about his front studs, and the left front is the shoe he likes to lose, so I didn't want massive amounts of torque applied to one side of the shoe. So there it lies, still. If I had been around for the farrier appointment, I could have asked him to take it out while resetting the shoe, but I wasn't, and I didn't. 

The cotton plugs have worked well enough, but require some cleaning out before putting the stud in. Little bits of cotton like to work their way into the threads and then sit there, blocking the passage of the stud. The rubber plugs have been excellent and come out easily with shockingly little dirt around their edges that needs to get cleaned out. I will be ordering more of these for sure. 

My compact little kit

After removing whatever device has been plugging the hole, the hole is cleaned with the pointy thing above.

Then this tap, also a suggestion from Emma, and compressed air (be sure to avert face, close eyes and mouth) are used to finish the job. Studs are selected and put into place using zip tied wrench above. I borrowed a wrench from someone briefly at a show that was double headed with the two sizes you need for studs. But alas, I could not find this mythical creature for sale and was stuck zip tieing the two sizes together. Works almost as well. 

Post-stud removal, the holes are plugged, and the studs are tossed in the metal dish

7 studs, cause, y'know, that rusted in stud blank

Then once we're home, I use: 
To soak. They are then dried with a paper towel and plopped back in the dish to be taken back to the horse trailer for the next adventure. 


  1. yay so glad you're having good experiences with the rubber plugs!! honestly, the cotton plugs are my favorite if you're cleaning and prepping the stud holes the night before a show, for example, but the rubber ones seem to stand up the best to abject neglect haha. also so cool that you like that Distal Steel tool too!! i was SO EXCITED when i bought it, but with the timing of charlie's hoof injury, have only been able to enjoy using it once or twice, womp.... and, not that you asked, but i'll add one last plug (lol puns) for the bionic wrench. it's just so easy and ergonomic in my hand, isn't fussy about alignment to the shape of the stud, and fits virtually all studs except maybe the narrowest pointiest daggers....

    1. Ha, doing it the night before a show is a level of prep I haven't yet reached. I like to live life on the edge and see if they're still good from a few weeks prior lol. Plug noted, the wrenches I am currently using are far superior to the vice grips I had been struggling with. I've put myself on a buying moratorium for January, but I may investigate in February because with the current wrenches I have occasionally skinned my knuckles slamming them into his shoe/the other stud.