Stud chains/Chain-end leads?
What is the proper way(s) to use a stud chain on a horse, assuming you are using it with a halter to lead the horse? I have seen it in person many ways, under the chin, over the bridge of the nose, and even around the poll and under the chin! Why are they used, other than obviously leading rambunctious unkempt horses that just 'CAN'T' behave otherwise. What is the best technique in using them, if any?
I understand the basics of them, but I have never had to use one, even on a young stud colt had to exercise for his owner. I have seen them in person on countless horses, and have seen them in magazines, books, and online on mares, geldings, colts, ect.
I think there are several "correct" ways to attach it, but the most common way I've seen is to clip it to one of the side rings of the halter, up and over the nose, through the other side ring and then out of the bottom ring (where you'd attach a normal lead) like this photo:
I only had to use one once on the horse I brought home in trial in December. She had such terrible ground manners once she got away from her owner that the BO wouldn't let the stall cleaners in her stall- until I managed to get her returned, I had to go out each day, turn her out in the arena (leading with stud chain), clean the stall myself and put her back after she'd had some time to stand in the corner and stare at herself in the mirror...
I think you are correct on how it's put on. I've never used one. IMO, it's used as an alternative to getting the horse to have good manners.
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It gets their attention, but you can cause damage.
Which ever way works best for your horse!
My friend's halter horse has to be lead with one. She will literally run you over if you don't have it there to keep her attention. I also had a horse at a farm I worked at who would rip the lead rope out of your hand when you turned him out and spend the next 30 minuted or so running around the field before he would let you catch him and get his halter off. He made me a nervous wreck, so my boss told me to start using a stud chain on him, and it worked quite well.
For both of them I used it over the nose. The only time I've really seen people use it under is in halter classes. You have to be careful if you're going under the chin because the horse is going to move up away from the pressure as opposed to down and you can cause the horse to flip if you're too heavy handed with the chain.
I've also seen them threaded over the horse's gums, but I'm pretty sure that's only used in extreme cases. Or at least I hope so; it always makes me cringe when I see it.
I've only used them a few times, and that was for horses with ill ground manners and no respect for people that had to be moved immediately. I generally like to use other methods of control (making them move their feet, etc) but sometimes this isn't an option. I've used it both over the nose and around the poll, although I prefer over the nose.
Generally the "accepted" way of attaching a chain is from the near side, over to the far side, on top of the nose and then through and clipped to the upper ring of the far side of the halter. I, and most people at my barn, find that this pulls the halter into the far side eye of the horse and you are always having to adjust it. For that reason we mostly loop the stud chain back onto itself under the chin as opposed to clipping it onto the halter. For any type of showing/in hand stuff we will adjust the chain back to the "generally accepted" position however because it does look nicer.
There are loads of variations in chain thicknesses, lengths and how to attach them to halters. You just have to find what you like best. And when introducing a horse to the chain it is always appropriate to use 2 leads, one attached to the chain and one on the halter.
I agree with anebel. I have used the chain through the near side, over the nose, through the far side and then attached to the top cheek ring. I have had the same problem with the halter being pulled over very close to the eye on the far side.
Now, if I need to use a chain end lead, I will attach it like anebel mentioned, through the near side, over the nose, through the far side nose and then attach it back onto itself under the chin. I don't bother putting it through the ring under the chin like the photo above, I just snap it back onto the ring at the end of the chain.
Just make sure your chain isn't too long if you use that method, I don't like the idea of having a lot of extra loop of chain under the chin, if something were to happen a hoof could get caught in it. Not likely to happen, but you never know with horses, I like to take precautions and would rather be safe than sorry! For this same reason I will never use a chain end lead looped through the under the chin ring and attached back onto itself, if you don't plan on actually using the chain over the nose, use a regular lead rope or just snap the chain directly under the chin on the snap.
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