Stud (lead) chain advice

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trails4jd

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My quite new 11-12 year old rescue mini had to go to the vet a few days ago. He almost got away from me when the vet's dog jumped out of his vehicle. Then whenever a dog came out of the small animal clinic building he was on high alert. The vet thinks he's been chased by a dog when he and his 21 herd mates were at pasture. Anyway, the vet thinks I should use a chain on him just in case he gets scared and tries to bolt when I'm walking him around our property. He put a chain on him but it was WAY too large. Does anyone know of a chain that works for minis? Is the best alternative to take a dog chain and put a clip on the end. Of course need something with a ring that will fit through the hardware on his (Smarpak) halter. Thank you!
 

MaryFlora

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Personally, I am not in favor of a chain so haven’t used one, but you are in the right place to get feedback from those that have used one and how they went about it!

It is possible he hasn’t been exposed to much in his life and you are giving him a whole new world to explore, which is fabulous!

I have two thoughts, however, one, many horses would jump, or try to flee, if an unexpected animal jumped out of a vehicle. (In my opinion, the vet should have secured his dog in the vehicle for safety sake).

Two, if your little guy simply remained on alert after, that suggests he's aware and learning about his surroundings, but not pitching a fit.

When you walk him at home, small walks in an area you in which you feel safe will give you both a chance to get in tune. Even if your area is small you can set up little
obstacles for him to learn about. Do you or a friend have a dog? If so, exposure is a good thing, as long as the dog is on a leash and at a comfortable distance to start. It’s possible dogs per se aren’t the problem, but rather that setting.

He is a fortunate little horse to end up in a caring home, and I hope you enjoy him for many years! 😊
 

Willow Flats

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I would not use a chain. My suggestion is to first teach him to walk with a lead rope in a secure area learning to trust you as his leader. When venturing out you can tie a knot at the end of the lead rope. If he bolts the rope will not get away from you and he will then be moving in a circle until he calms down and looks to you for saftey.
I have a horse that was chased by dogs barking and going at her back feet while she was being driven by my husband and she bolted. Not unusual for a prey animal. She does still get a nervous around loose dogs but no longer tries to bolt as we have done a lot of training with her.
We are here to help you help your horse!
 

Standards Equine

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So, for showing young Arabs, I'll often use a dog choke chain as the chin portion for the show halters. They're cheap, easy to find and come in a range of sizes. Depending on how you feel is best to utilize the chain, I might suggest simply a choke chain with its' own lead rope attached, separate from the halter so that you don't yank on it accidentally.
However, personal feeling, I would much rather train and have a positive association rather than just managing the behavior - if at all possible. The only time I put a stud chain on my warmblood stallion is for breeding time. It's not that he needs it, it's that it's a differentiation that says to him "time to get lucky buddy"!!!
I worry so much about stud chains in hands that aren't familiar with how and why they're used. We have a young boarder who puts one on her gelding and yanks him around. I haven't been out when she's out but I just can't get behind using force in place of skill.

Regardless, much respect to you for looking for the best way to keep your little friend safe. Best wishes.
 

trails4jd

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I agree with my vet not controlling his dog. Eddy is not scared of weird objects (like a chipper and a weird looking pile of cut up tree) that lots of horses would be afraid of. I've been leading him up and down our driveway and he leads just fine. He's just worried about new people---and dogs. I also worry about the eyes with a stud chain so am reluctant to use them. Also I know if too much pressure the horse can rear over backwards. Also, I do have a dog and when I walk him up to the fence (on a leash) Eddy comes towards him. Of course he's safe behind a fence. Thanks for your replies.
 

Marsha Cassada

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I don't think I would use a stud chain on a scared horse. That is not how that tool is intended to be used.

My avatar horse can be ornery. He is 26, and all his life he has been ornery. About once a year I put a stud chain on his halter. The first time was a rude awakening, rather like the dog that has a training collar the first time. Now he knows what it is. When he gets into one of his especially ornery moods, I put the stud chain on and never even have to use it. Good behavior lasts about a year, then he needs another reminder. That tells me how severe the tool is.
 

Dragon Hill

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If you decide to use a stud chain, don't use it under his chin as this will have the opposite effect of what you would be using it for in your situation. A chain under the chin is for attitude correction and baulkers. If he spooks and tries to bolt, that chain will tighten and will not loosen as long as there is any pressure (movement away from you). So you have a scared horse, that does what scared horses do, and is immediately punished for it, and unless he is trained already, he will be scared even more.
So if you do decide to use a chain, go over the nose, wrapping once around the halter nose piece. This will be more of a deterrent to forward motion, will be less severe, and will release the pressure more quickly. But you should train him to give to pressure on the lead rope with a chain, just like he should have been trained to give to pressure on the lead rope when he learned to lead.
Good luck with your new fella. Once you guys get to know each other, you may not need it. But a little extra training is always good to have.
 

trails4jd

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Thank you everyone. Have posted a picture of Eddy. After reading all your posts I've decided not to go with a stud chain. Eddy is just not scared of things. You're all right--of course a strange dog jumping out of the vet's rig would scare him. I think I'll work on improving our connection so hopefully he won't want to run far from me if he would get scared and bolt. He's been lame since about 3 days after I adopted him (the vet thinks a bruise or hoof abscess) so I've backed off on anything that makes him trot. But we can work at the walk.
 

Abby P

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If you need a little bit more than a wide web halter because he leans or pulls on the halter, then I'd suggest a rope halter, rather than a chain. The rope halter is very comfortable for them to wear when it's not engaged, but it doesn't give them as much to lean on as a web halter. I got the mini size from Horse Rope Connection and it fits my 37-38" guy well, if your guy is very small you might want to do measurements to be sure you get the right size.

In my experience things like chains and twitches can increase fear and anxiety, whereas the rope halter is pretty neutral when the horse isn't pulling on it. I'd also recommend getting a lead line that attaches with just a loop of rope, rather than using a lead rope with a snap on it. The rope halters have a fairly long loop to attach the lead rope and if you use a snap it can swing and smack the horse in the face which won't help anything.
 

Abby P

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Sure, it's just that it's "neutral" when no one is pulling on it, and releases right when the pressure releases. Also IMO easier to have gradations of pressure and more subtle communication. A chain is pretty sudden and painful in comparison. I would guess anyway, never having had one over my own nose. :)
 

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