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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey! I'm a new member looking for advice.
Went out to see a possible buying prospect last weekend. Watched him on the ground, being ridden, being groomed and tacked up, etc. He had almost no problems, except for a playful bite that kinda hurt and a little topline weakness. However, I did notice that there was a short chain on his halter, which the seller hooked around the top of his nose and clipped onto the other side of the halter. I've never seen a stud chain used before and looked up pictures when I got back home, but they didn't match what I saw. Asking for advice because every website I've consulted says stud chains are a warning sign, but I don't know whether or not it was an actual stud chain. Help is appreciated! :faceshot:
 

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I know the use of a stud chain tends to differ from country to country but as someone from the UK (who now lives in the US) it would be a red flag for me if it was used as general 'go too'
Its something I would only have on a horse if I anticipated a leading problem, maybe in a certain situation or a horse that was always a pain to lead.
 

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Some barns use chains on everything as default. Its seen as a safety net for staff, especially when handling lots of horses for turn in/out, appointments, ect.

Considering this horse was also nipping enough to contact skin, I'd think it's more a behavioural and without the chain the owner had found his behavior worse.
 

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WELCOME to the Forum!!

So, the chain was "hooked-up", but did they activate it by pulling it, snapping it or appear to be wrestling for control of the horse with it?
Why did you not handle the horse if you are looking at him for a possible purchase?
Did you ask why the chain?
For a while it was a fad thing and no matter how respectful, obedient people placed chains on a face, not always correctly either.
Whether you go over, under, a combination of both, up the side of the halter off-side to the top ring or even threw the mouth...there should be a reason and a very competent handler holding that shank.
You really need to ask some questions and listen to the answers given.

I can tell you that I have used stud shank length chains over the bridge of the nose more as a reminder to the horse to mind their manners when we were en-route to the turnout or on show grounds with a ton of excitement and often a loose or unruly horse about...a reminder just a slight rattle to mind your P's & Q's and pay attention to me...behave.
For some, it is a demand of respect, because it was not earned the chain can force respect...
Wrong application, but that is another topic.
Some barns I worked at it was policy all horses handled by employees were "chained", no exceptions.

You need to ask some questions of the people that own the horse and the person specifically who was handling the horse.
You as prospective buyer need to do all those things you mentioned...cause you will be doing them if you purchase..
You need to understand what this horse is like to handle with a chain, without a chain and just on a snap shank lead...
Then you need to figure out if it is attitude, lack of good ground-handling technique or indeed a true reason to run a chain on the face...
Start with some questions though and a return if you really liked the horse...this time though you take charge and handle, clean, tackup and you ride to see if you are a match or not...
This only cracks the door open a few inches in insight, it does not give a full picture...full picture and exposure comes when you bring them home and they is "yours" what you indeed have on your hands!
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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If it's a thoroughbred at the track I would think that's the norm. I personally feel if there was an issue causing the need of a stud chain, it can likely be trained to lead properly without it. It's also possible that the horse is just young and doesn't know better yet. Why not ask the owner about it?
 

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Some lead ropes come with a chain, rather than it being a separate attachment. While I personally wouldn't if it wasn't needed, I do know some people who would have wrapped the chain up over the nose like that simply to get it out of the way, even though it wasn't needed. Since you said it didn't match a stud chain when you looked it up, I wonder if that's what it was?
 

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If it looked like this, they're using an over the nose stud chain. It would depend on why they're using it whether it would be a red flag for me or not. If they routinely use them on every horse, I would take it off and try leading him without it. If he's pushy or disrespectful without it, I'd move on because there are probably holes in his overall training that you could drive a bus through. The fact that the horse nipped, and you don't say he was immediately corrected and made to think HE was the one going to be eaten is more of a red flag for me than the stud chain but makes me think he's probably a mess without it. Not a beginner's horse for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure it was attached to the lead rope. However, I'll definitely make it a point to ask all of my questions when I go out to ride the horse this week. Thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I didn't ask the owner because I was hesitant about jumping in too far when I wasn't sure whether or not the first meet would work out. That's my mistake, and I'll make sure to ask the owner when I go out and ride the horse this week. I'll also try to lead him with my halter without a chain and see how he does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I didn't ask the owner because I was hesitant about jumping in too far when I wasn't sure whether or not the first meet would work out. That's my mistake, and I'll make sure to ask the owner when I go out and ride the horse this week. I'll also try to lead him with my halter without a chain and see how he does.
 

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I've used stud chains on a TON of horses. Some for control, some for other reasons. I would not necessarily be concerned about it. I have my own horse that I used one on regularly, while he's not a beginner's horse he's not difficult to handle, but he is strong and if grazing for example I'd rather just not deal with corrections constantly. Does he *NEED* one no. I've also worked at a barn that all the horses had stud chains. If I have a lead with a chain I will likely use it. A foot long (or w/e) piece of metal waving around isn't always pretty, it's not harsh to just have it sitting there if you put it on properly. Sort of it's there if you need it if not then fine, like holding a crop when you ride.

The fact the horse bit you the first time meeting is a red flag.

It sure sounds like an "actual stud chain" it may or may not have been attached properly (Thanks for pointing that out DC, pet peeve!) but as I said it's not necessarily a red flag. I'd just ask why they have a chain on him. And DO make pointed questions, it's ok and expected even.
 

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For everyday use a stud chain is not the norm:| I have used o stud during breeding season , one youngster with manner issues.otherwise not routinely used. Would be red flag if used in everyday practice!! Know When showin I use chain in showmanship classes,for fine cues. In show pen when horse is not being asked to perform the chain is removed,so they know when at work & when just resting/hanging out :smile:
 

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@paintedpastures Respectfully while I agree everyday use is not the norm, several of us are aware of barns where all horses wore stud chains. On the track pretty much EVERY horse has a chain usually done up in a more severe manner, even the super quiet ones. So for *some* people maybe every day use is the norm.

More importantly I would look at the behavior of the horse. If a horse "needs" a stud chain you'll know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all of your advice! It was very interesting to see all of the points of view about this. I went out and rode the horse two days ago and he was a dream under saddle. I asked the seller about the chain and, like someone said, he mentioned using it rather than dealing with corrections all the time because he is a rather large horse. No other misbehavior this visit. However, we are going to step back for a few months due to the owner's unwillingness to negotiate and/or lease the horse. We'll keep looking in the meantime, and, as always, advice is much appreciated!
 

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I know you have passed on this one for other reasons, but most horses don't 'need' them. When I went to sign the papers for my mare, I had never ever used a chain on her, but my BO decided to put one on her...no need. :icon_rolleyes: I guess some people feel like they have more control with them, but I've never needed one on any horses (I've worked with plenty of difficult ones).

It's not really a red flag, per se, but you should be able to ask the owner if they can take it off/if you can lead the horse without one. :) May not be needed!
 

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Are you ok with having to lead the horse in a stud chain? Because that may be what has to be done. If not, make sure he can be led without one.

I will say that my daughter sometimes uses a chain to lead her 20 year old Arab gelding off-property or to load in a trailer. It's more a precaution than anything else. He's a perfect gentleman 95% of the time, but it's scary to a 14 year old girl when a horse gets agitated. We've had him nearly 4 years and I'd buy him all over again in a second.

The most important thing is that you see if you are comfortable handling this horse. He may behave very differently with you than someone he knows. He also may be very different off property.
 

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^ That absolutely. The chain isn't an issue just a *potential* sign of an issue. 90% of the horses I've used chains on were easy to handle and the ones that weren't weren't chain or not (I remember a mare that I started using a chain AND a regular lead on at the same time!). You're either comfortable with the horse or not.
 
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