Lip Chain Ban
The use of lips chains at American Quarter Horse Association shows is banned beginning the first of the new year, but the association says a compromise has been reached over the issue. Concerns regarding animal welfare and exhibitor safety led to the change, according to AQHA’s president.
In a statement, AQHA said it continued to review potential alternatives to banning the lip chain in amateur and open halter stallion classes for yearlings and older horses.
The World Conformation Horse Association’s leadership offered what they say is a humane alternative to the lip chain — a lip cord.
The AQHA Executive Committee approved the use of lip cords in amateur and open halter classes for stallions, ages 1-year-old and older only, effective January 1, 2016.
“The AQHA Executive Committee leadership is very proud of this collaborative innovation, which we feel is a solution in protecting our horse and our people,” said Dr. Glenn Blodgett, AQHA president.
Some of the AQHA membership is divided on the issue. Those that oppose the move say handlers that need to use a lip cord should stay home with their unruly stallions. On the other side of the debate, some say banning the lip chain is unfair and discriminatory. Those AQHA members say they want all halter exhibitors to have a level playing field.
While the Quarter Horse is known for its kind and willing disposition, some stallions may pose behavioral differences compared to mares and geldings. AQHA said those differences were an important consideration for the AQHA Executive Committee in reaching its decision to allow the lip cord in amateur and open halter stallion classes starting when they are yearlings.
The revised rule SHW 355. Halter Equipment states:
SHW355.1 For purposes of this rule, the term “allowed lip cord” shall only mean:
SHW355.1.1 a round smooth soft/flexible nonabrasive cotton polyblend cord with a dense core that has an unsecured keeper with at least 3/4 inches of the cord outside of the halter before attachment of keeper or leather part of lead shank;
SHW355.1.2 is applied only over gum and not through mouth;
SHW355.1.3 with respect to the cord applied over the gum – it is made up of cord having a diameter of at least 3/8 inches; cord applied over gum may not contain internal or external metal.
SHW355.1.4 no foreign substances or additional materials may be added to the lip cord
SHW355.2 Stallions 1 year of age and older may be shown with an allowed lip cord in open and amateur divisions; lip chains of any type are prohibited; all other types of lip cords that do not meet the definition of an allowed lip cord are prohibited.
SHW355.3 The following horses may not be shown with an allowed lip cord;
SHW355.3.2 mares of any age;
SHW355.3.3 geldings of any age;
SHW355.3.4 any horse shown in a performance halter class; and
SHW355.3.5 any horse shown in a ranch horse conformation class.
SHW355.4 Applying excessive pressure on or excessive jerking of an allowed lip cord is prohibited.
The revised rule is effective January 1, 2016.