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What’s Your Chain Preference For Showmanship?

Filed under: Featured,Health & Training,The Buzz |     

Photo courtesy of Beth Foster-Hattan.

By: Brittany Bevis

It’s that time again for our The Equine Chronicle Question of the Week! For this week’s topic, we examine the fine details of Showmanship, a class that allows for a certain level of artistic interpretation. Every exhibitor has a personal preference when it comes to the length of chain and lead that’s ideal for this class. Some people like only a few chain links with the hand held closely to the halter, while others prefer a longer chain with a noticeable droop in the lead. We asked our Equine Chronicle readers to tell us their preference and why.

Tina Azucena- “To me, determining chain length has always been like choosing the right bit. You wouldn’t pick a bit just for style if your horse didn’t respond well to it! Find what works best for the horse and own it.”

Bailey Ann- “My horse was anti-chain (and still pretty much is) but we moved into one for the ‘show’ of it. Kind of an ‘everyone does it so you have to’ deal. I prefer only a few links out, but then I’m not allowed to pull on her… Her rules.”

Ashley Snoey- “I think there is some personal preference based on what works best for you and your horse. For me, that’s three chain links. However, I think it’s highly distracting to see the movement from a loop in the chain.”

Janel Marie- “It depends on how finished my horse is and what they like. I wish it wasn’t an unwritten rule you have to have one. I work at home without one for the most part. My horses don’t need it, but it’s part of the uniform.”

Taylor Wheaton- “I like a longer drape in the lead. I prefer my horse to move off my body rather than contact on the chain.”

Tanya Jorgensen Moore- “Taylor Wheaton, I’m the same way. It’s a ‘unified and packaged’ look.”

Kerrie-Lynn- “I do three, and I let slack into my lead once my horse is broke enough to handle that. I think it looks cleaner than having a huge long chain.”

Jennifer Hamman Graham- “Longer chain, if you need it at all, if you have a well trained horse and a good trainer!”

Karen E. Melroy-Oiler- “I always had an exact number of links visible, not many (it’s been a minute), but it was more for fashion than function. Good communication matters more.”

Erin Dreyer-Baumgartner- “When a horse is finished, I prefer not to need shank contact to get what I’m asking for. Chain length is irrelevant for me at that point. I can show with a longer chain, or a short one and just move my hand down the lead. Either way, I like a horse that works off of body and is really in tune with the handler. That’s always the end goal me.”

Chrissy Ives-Prescott- “It changes with each horse for me. My old gelding got three links, and my mom’s gelding gets no chain, because he’s a dragon with one. For my new guy, I like a slightly longer chain and my hand a couple inches down the lead. My gelding is attentive and sensitive to my movements and pressure, so I like to give him some space. He’s also a big boy, and I’m shorter so I need that extra length not to be on top of him, and so his head isn’t buried. Nothing bounces or flops because his head and my hand are steady.”

Ellexxah Maxwell- “I like a longer chain. My horses respond to my body, so I hardly ever need the shank.”

Heather Shank- “You actually DO NOT need a chain unless you prefer one. I emailed AQHA about chains in Showmanship this spring. My mare prefers a clip, but placed under the chin.”

Amber Daniel- “I like what my trainer tells me I like.”

Kathy Grisham- “The longer the drape, the higher the skill level.”

Janeen McRobert- “No chain. If your horse is listening, they don’t need a chain.”

Sandra Fossano- “In ranch horse classes, we’re allowed to show in a rope halter. I never use a chain.”

Madi Heilveil- “Four links for me.”

Vickie Devore- “Five links.”

Alex DeWitt- “I usually do four links.”

Young Quarter Horses- “I do three links, and it depends on how broke the horse is. Whatever gets the job done in the most efficient manner.”

Taylor Deppen- “I prefer a very short chain, like three links and a hand close to the face. I feel like the hand stays very still this way and gives easy small cues with minimal pressure. But, I think every horse is different. As long as you can be minimal, and make it look like effortless communication and a team, then it’s probably going to be high scoring.”

Be sure to follow The Equine Chronicle on social media for the opportunity to participate in a future EC Question of the Week!

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