I think you and I are going to be good friends... LOL.
Anyway... I'm not sure what you mean about the chain. A leather halter is good, it doesn't have to have silver on it. As I explained earlier, some shows have different rules for chains and stuff, so you might want to check those out.
Yeah, that all sounds good. I've been to shows that also require a tie of some sort, but that's getting to be rarer now.
The most popular thing right now is cut about 5 inches long and banded, like this. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_i4fqoVzpzQ...0/HPIM1206.jpg
I don't do that because my horses are also reiners, and I like the long mane look. Sometimes I do this thing where you start banding like that and then continue down the mane, taking a half of each banded piece and putting that in a band... like this. I think it's called the Basketweave. http://www.haflingerhorses.com/marleeshow4.jpg
it's really interesting and I get lots of compliments on it.
You can just leave it long and the natural length though, it's pretty much your choice. The "thing" right now is banded manes, and really long, full tails. Fake tails are really popular but luckily, my horses all have that look so I don't have to pay for those haha.