As winter is fast approaching the northern hemisphere, it's time to talk about how you can provide extra grip for your horse. Flex Boots allow for ice studs to be added to the soles, they help the horse move on slippery surfaces, whether it's during turnout or when the horse is exercised in hand, ridden or driven in carriage.
Flex Boots offer excellent grip on various surfaces, and our recommendation is that ice studs are used in winter months when the ground may be slippery.
Using the boots over several winters?
Often our customers ask if it's ok to remove the ice studs for the summer, and then reapply them the following winter. Keep in mind that if you remove a screw and later put it back to the same hole, the hole will be slightly loose and will not provide as tight a hold as it originally did. This applies to pretty much any material.
With this in mind, to make sure that the studs stay on as well as possible, we recommend that ice studs are applied to Flex Boots only once.
You can purchase boots for the winter, apply the ice studs on them and then remove the studs in the spring and keep those boots as summer boots going forward.
If you purchase boots for the summer, you can apply ice studs on them come winter, however you need to check how much the sole has worn before doing so. If the sole thickness doesn't allow for studs to be attached, it's a better idea to purchase separate boots for winter use.
If your horse is moving in a crooked way and wears one area of the boot sole faster than another, it might be that in that part of the boot, the sole will be too thin for studs to be attached.
We know that some people have re-applied studs to their Flex Boots second winter running, we have tested this with our horses too and been successful in doing so. But there are so many factors that determine whether this is possible or not (such as the boots' sole thickness, the condition of the thread, the surfaces the horse moves on and the speed at which it moves), that it's impossible to say for sure whether this will work for your horse or pony. As mentioned before, the first application gives the tightest hold for the studs to stay on the boots.
An improvement on our already great boots
Our latest innovation regarding the boot design was to add two ice stud holes in front of the break-over point, to provide even more comfort for the horse when it moves. For horse size boots, 12 ice studs rather than 10 are recommended. This way the horse has substantial grip during break-over and push phase of the gait. The smaller pony boots work well with less studs, anywhere between 6 to 12 studs per boot are recommended. The photo below shows the 12-stud horse boot and a pony boot with six studs attached.
Here's a video showing horses and ponies walking on icy ground, wearing Flex Boots with ice studs on.
What about snow on top of ice?
Will Flex Boots provide adequate traction on an icy road with a snow covering on top? Well, it depends entirely on the situation and how thick the snow is on top of the ice. The ice studs are not very long, so if there's a thick covering of snow on top of the ice, the studs may not reach all the way to the ice to provide proper grip. If it's absolutely necessary to exercise the horse in a situation like this, extreme caution should be taken.
Using boots with studs in mud
Do Flex Boots with ice studs provide good grip on muddy ground or on wet grass? These kinds of surfaces behave much like icy ground with snow on top: the softer material will move under the foot and the studs may not reach all the way to the solid ground. So again we would recommend the owner to think carefully about asking the horse or pony to move on such surfaces, to avoid injury to the horse.
The video below shows how you can attach the ice studs to Flex Boots.