Sweet Bernie (PA-T2654-10) is a Canter PA Trainer owned listing. He is a 2007 16.1 1/2 hand colt, and is qualified for Canters gelding incentive fun, where they will donate $100 towards getting him gelded. For more information on Bernie, and more horses like him, please visit www.CanterUSA.org or click on his picture to go directly to his page.
Some see stud chains as great training tools, some see them as cruel devices, but one thing we can all agree on is that if improperly used, a stud chain can be very dangerous. This blog was actually inspired by a story circulating facebook of a girl who had the stud chain improperly connected, her horse was grazing, caught his foot and the long story short is during the freak out, he broke his neck and had to be put down on the spot. That may sound like a rare case, but stud chains are used incorrectly way more often than people think. I hope this blog can help correct that.
How to connect your stud chain to the horses halter:
The above picture shows a stud chain properly attached, through the near side ring, over the nose, through the far side ring, and up the far side cheek piece, where it is then connected to the far side crown piece ring. You will also see the chain run just over the nose, or through the nearside ring, over the upper gums, though the far side nose ring, and connected to the far side crown piece ring. Though I do not suggest a stud chain be used in the hands of a novice or otherwise inexperienced horseperson, under no circumstances should a lip chain be used by anyone other than a very experienced horseman.
Never, ever run your stud chain through the ring under the horses chin, then double back and connect it to itself. This creates a loop that your horse can get caught in, or get it caught on something and not break. If you do not need a chain for your horse, do not use a lead shank that has one.
When to use a stud chain:
Stud chains can be very useful tools when used correctly. Just like a spur, a stick, a dressage whip, a stronger bit, etc, when used improperly, or in the wrong hands, only then can it be considered a tool of abuse. Stud chains most serve their purpose for hot horses that need a little extra discipline to walk on a lead, perhaps one that is more 'up' in a new environment, to extreme cases of one that rears on a lead or strikes out. Most horses learn to respect the chain over their nose and simply putting it on does the trick. Some horses need them when getting needle shots, or being clipped or shod. Do not just put the chain on a horse because you like the look of it.
How to use a stud chain:
Whenever the chain is not in immediate loose, you should have slack in your line, and the chain. A taught chain will do nothing but dull the nerves and make the horse more resistant to the pressure. Anytime you do need to use the chain, a quick jerk of the shank will suffice. As with any device, start with light pressure and give the horse the benefit of the doubt that he will respond appropriately the first time. Never jerk the chain with all your strength on a horse you do not know, an even then, only in a very extreme case that has you and/or the horse in immediate danger. Stud chains are to be used very similarly to a choke chain on a dog.
I hope this has helped clear up some of the air on stud chains, and when and how to use them. It has been my experience that most horses that 'need' a stud chain actually need a tune up on ground work by a qualified professional. As with all of our information blogs, if you are unsure about something, please feel free to email us at SouthCoastSportHorses@yahoo.com, comment below, or of course, as your trainer!
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