THERE ARE ANY NUMBER OF TRACTION DEVICES ON THE MARKET TODAY but a few of the most useful and least likely to create problems with the upper limb are the Tungsten pins, drive-in studs and nails with hard facing. All three are easily applied and provide significant security for horses that have to spend any time on blacktop, concrete or slippery rocks. One word of caution – always wear safety glasses when you are applying traction devices, as there is always a danger of your tool or the material chipping.
The V-Trak nails are simply applied by choosing the position where you wish to establish the traction (very often in the heel nail) and driving as you would any other nails. This is a very useful device when you have already shod a horse and find that it needs something to help give it confidence when loading or unloading in a trailer or on the show grounds where there is concrete or blacktop that has to be crossed. The nails are used extensively in the Standardbred market, particularly in the winter months.
Tungsten carbide pins are also easy to apply. They require a smaller drill bit than drive in studs (the fp brand works with a 4.5mm bit) and the 100% tungsten material provides just as much traction as the drive-in stud.
For either the pins or studs, you should first center punch the spot you plan to drill. This will help keep the bit from sliding out of position.
To avoid reaming the hole or distorting it, use a drill press or place your shoe in a vise to keep it secure. Once you have the hole drilled, place the pin in from the ground surface and tap into the depth you desire. Avoid bottoming out and making contact with the anvil face or flat surface you are using. The pins are tapered so they will tighten as you drive them in. It is also recommended to use a hammer that has a tempered face so that you don’t chip the tool. Another method of driving the pin into place is to flip it over once you have it started, and either on a metal plate or the chisel plate of your anvil, hit the foot surface of the shoe with your hammer until the pin has seated.
The drive-in studs are applied in exactly the same manner as the tungsten pins. Again, use caution when applying and don’t bottom out. The fp brand studs require a 17/64” drill bit.
Typical applications might be a pin or stud in each heel – approximately half way between the end of the shoe and the end of the crease (or last nail hole). This allows the heel landing to still have a slight bit of slide before the traction kicks in. In the toe area it is typical to see the pins or studs placed just in front of the end of the crease. You will have to make your own judgment as to whether you need something in the toe and heel area. Just keep in mind that too much traction may be counterproductive and create soreness or lameness.
This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 11, Issue 4. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.