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Chains on leadropes or nah?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 15.8%
  • No

    Votes: 7 36.8%
  • Neither, it can be used or useful (I'd love to hear why so leave a comment)

    Votes: 9 47.4%
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I really don't understand why people want to use chain leadropes. Because if you have a horse, that's maybe a difficult one to lead then why would you want an extra piece of heavy metal dangling from the halter? The weight of the chain is equal to the pressure of you hanging on to the lead rope with quite a firm grasp. What I've noticed is that most horses only get more agitated from this. So it's really doing more harm than good.

One way of helping the pressure for the horse is to grab the leadrope from the chain part and lift it up, but that results in you pretty much hanging from the halter which can we agitating in it's own right, so what can you do? I just really hope to not see these types of leadropes anymore; because it's making things more difficult for anyone handling horses on daily basis. Besides the fact of it being a training shortcut more than actually useful.
 

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When used correctly and attached in the intended manner for a horse that is, let's say a challenge on a lead, it is there as an if needed and a reminder of where their attention needs to be focused. No more, no less.

Attached to the halter as a typical lead is not how it is intended to be used. There is no corrective "bite" dangling between the halter and where the other part of the lead is attached.
 

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I don't use a chain lead unless I really need to and if that's the case I really need it and attach it as QtrBel said the proper way.
Sometimes when working with difficult or unruly horses I put a chain on and then the regular lead and I work with the lead ROPE and only switch to the chain if it is needed to maintain control and this has always worked well for me.
 

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I too love a chain shank, aka stud shank.
I only use a brass chain and the chain is inspected carefully for any burrs or damage to the link that could rip, tear or hurt the sensitive skin of the face and muzzle.
The extra reminder to the horse often just having it lay appropriately placed on them is what makes them a nice, respectful animal to walk/work with or have a biting, pushy, escalatingly dangerous animal to hold on to.
If you have never walked a Thoroughbred racehorse, not a OTTB...but one in race training or injured then you have not had the pleasure of understanding why those chain shanks are.
What most think is a handful of horse is like a kitten to those of us who have handled the racehorse who has very little discipline in its life so as not to "break their spirit"...so you better have something to better keep its mind to its business.

Chain shanks and the reason many think poorly of them is because they are used wrong, applied wrong...
In the right hands, the horse who would be needing "shanked, yanked and pulled" by your regular bull-snap shank gets a jiggle of the chain, a slight pressure and release and the animal quits its antics knowing what it may encounter if it not behave.
1110502
1110503

In the informed hands of a handler this is a tool, not punishing or cruel to the animal.
In the misinformed hands of a handler who thinks they know how to do and don't, this can be a instrument of cruelty.
Like most pieces of equine equipment, when used properly it is a tool, when used wrong....it is just wrong and the animal pays the price.
🐴...
 

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There shouldn't be any chain hanging down below the halter, certainly not enough that you could grab it. The chain should go up through the noseband of the halter.
I prefer not to use them, but have in the past and if they're needed, it's a good tool to have. My current barn uses chain on everything and it annoys me. The horses are all well behaved and 90% of the time the chains don't do anything so it's not really a big deal.
If you aren't going to use the chain properly, don't use one. Find a regular lead rope. Having the chain hanging can rip up your hands if something happens, and NEVER loop it back on itself to shorten the chain. Horses can get their foot stuck in the loop it creates and can end up breaking their neck.
 

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It drives me completely crazy when people use a chain lead as a normal lead rope, just clipped to the halter ring, not strung through the halter correctly. It's not the way that these lead ropes are intended to be used, and it is incorrect (and I'd bet dangerous as well!).

Chain leads being used correctly have their time and place, imo. When I worked at an Arabian show barn, certain horses were led to and from their stall with a chain lead because otherwise I could get dragged down the aisle (and the training was not my responsibility (and I believe if a horse cannot be handled on a day to day basis without a chain, it's unacceptable, but that's a whole can of worms)).

A chain being used correctly should most often remain neutral on the horse's nose or below the chin, as you'd expect a horse to lead quietly without constant correction and direction. Small tugs should be used NOT huge, loud yanks (IMO, this is incorrect chain use as well).

In terms of showing, a chain is a refinement tool, just like spurs. Sure, you could probably get through a showmanship class with a plain lead rope (not allowed anyways, though) but a chain lead gives you the precision to complete a difficult showmanship pattern, with practically invisible cues to the horse.
AQHA Showmanship

The majority of the time I see incorrect chain usage (outside of showmanship classes) because either the chain isn't strung in the halter correctly (or at all) or the handler is overusing the chain, most often in an inappropriate manner. Chances are if you are trying to get a horse loaded into the trailer using a chain, you are using it wrong. If your horse is rearing at the end of you yanking a chain lead, you are using it wrong. If the chain is placed to low on the nose, you are using it wrong. If your hand is on the chain whatsoever, you are using it wrong.
 

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I try to train my personal horses so that a chain is never needed. That said, one of my mares is difficult in season and does require a chain- otherwise she will drag you up to the nearest gelding to squeal, strike or kick. A chain and a handheld whip are good when used correctly. My mare is very well behaved when not in season.
 

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My daughter's show horse, an Arabian with some usual Arab energy, sometimes needed a chain under his chin at shows and to be led onto the trailer by my young daughter. We haven't found it necessary once they both got a little older, but I have NO problem with using it when needed, nor do I have issues with other people using them. The reality is that we cannot possibly win a tug of war against a horse. Training is essential, but even then, horses can get excited, especially when off-property. If a chain is needed over the nose, or under the chin to keep everyone safe (including said horse and a child or even adult who is leading it), then I'm ok with that. It just gives a little additional leverage that tells the horse it must behave despite all the external excitement going on around them. I have seen very experienced horse people use them on stallions at shows. I'd rather see them using a chain than have their stallion running loose among children and ponies.

There's no point in using a chain as a normal lead rope though, but it absolutely can be an important tool for experienced horse people when used appropriately. Of course a horse should not ever be tied this way, but I assume that goes without saying.
 

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I've used chain leads and don't really have a problem with them if they're used like they're suppose to be. If you run them through the halter over/under nose/in the mouth. Then they're fine if you have a horse that's more difficult to lead. But to use one as an everyday lead rope or to just loop it through itself so the chain isn't touching the horse is pointless.
 
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