Chain Links

We all have our favorite tools — a treasured brush or hoof pick or manure fork or wheelbarrow that just seems to fit our hands better than the other stuff in the barn.? We?ll walk out of the way to get the tool we want rather than grab the one that’s closest.

I have a thing about stud chains, which I’ve never seen anyone else obsess over.? It drives the other folks in the barn a little bit nuts, because I am always losing the thing and asking if anyone has seen it (or used it’).? I’ve never really liked lead ropes with a chain attached on the end, even though I recognize the need, because the chain can get in the way? at times.? You can’t really tie with one, and it’s not safe to double over the chain if you want to shorten it because it can get caught on things (like hooves).? The only real use for a stud chain is to go over/under the nose but, if you don’t need it for that use, then it’s annoying.

My answer is to have a separate stud chain.? If I need it for leading, I hook it onto the end of my cotton lead rope (red, so everyone knows that’s MY lead rope).? If I need it for longeing, it hooks onto the end of the longe line. Otherwise it hangs on to the hook in the front of my mare?s stall.? Woe to me if it’s not there ? the thing drops to the bottom of any container the way your keys drop to the bottom of your purse and then it’s impossible to find.

I started using the stud chain three decades ago when I took longeing lessons.? The instructor said it was much safer to use when longeing in a halter than a plain longe line, but the trick was to run the chain under the jaw, not over.? It works especially well for a horse that bucks or might have a tendency to run out the line. ?One quick tug and the horse is straight again on the circle.? Take the chain off and the line is good for other purposes, like ground driving.? Another use I have found for the chain is to double-secure my stall in show stabling, where the stall latches are often suspect.

The chain, however, seems to grow legs, and it’s just not always where I expect it to be.? It seems that tack shops rarely stock a separate stud chain, at least the tack/farm shops around here.? I stopped off last week desperate for a new chain (before I found mine ? again ? at the bottom of my brush bag).? The tack shop lady pointed out that I could buy a lead rope with a chain on the end and then just cut off the rope.? Duhhhh!? Why hadn?t I thought of that before’? I think it actually might be less expensive than buying the chain as a separate item.? Well, at least now I have two.? For awhile.? ??????????

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