Chiffneys

TigerTail

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Why do so many on here seem to recommend a chiffney for groundwork issues?

Aside from the obvious that its the actual groundwork and horse/ handler relationship that is at fault the damage they do to the mouth, which is so sensitive and you obviously want it to remain so for riding, is horrendous. Also it seems to be the first port of call for many rather than looking at the bigger picture of what has caused the behaviour in the first place or going to a pressure/release headcollar etc

Discuss!
 

Miss L Toe

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I did recommend the use of the chiffney for a horse that sounds as though he is dangerous to handle, and the owners are struggling, it is not doing anything if it is sitting in the mouth passively, it is essentially a ring bit, if a horse rears and is out of control a quick tug will be all that is needed to allow the handler to gain control, yes it is uncomfortable, but it is a short sharp treatment used without anger. It should not damage the mouth.
To be honest, most people handling boisterous stallions or strong bolshie youngsters, will use a long lead rein, and put part of it round the nose, this works too, but the handler is generally just reminding the youngster that he has to behave, once the horse is rearing the chiffney is generally safer for the handler, it is NOT recommended for children or novice persons, who should not in any case be dealing with these animals.
The chiffney is best used in addition to a halter, it should never be used to turn a horse loose in a field as they can catch their teeth on it, as with any bit, but the horse can be led to the field with it in place, and it is easily removed before taking in to the field and then removing the halter.
 
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Romax

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I am happy to see them used safely, and had to use one on Ro as a safety precaution at the airport, as it was the shippers preference when loading in such a strange and noisy environment.
Personally, we use a short rope on the chiffney (i.e. too short to reach the ground and get stood on should the horse get away) and a normal rope on the head collar. This means you can use pressure when necessary or only go from the head collar if the horse is settled enough.
 

Romax

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you must remember that most shipping and transport companies have to use them to cover themselves insurance and liability wise.
As do some youngstock and performance horse auctions, also when I was in Germany preparing stallions for grading staff were told to used chiffneys for handling, and some of the guys had to be bitted to be groomed etc too.
 

Ideal

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Interesting thread, as I am learning more about the Chiffney. I had never heard of a Chiffney until 2 weeks ago. I bought my first ever horse , he is part livery due to my work hours. He is turned out and brought in ( I do everything else ) .
On his first day being turned out , he reared several times and kicked the staff. They are experienced staff and I do trust them.
Ben is now being turned out with the Chiffney ( Yard Manager suggestion ) and bought in from the field. He has been alot calmer and I think they are reverting back to a headcollar tomorrow :)
 

rhino

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As with most things, in the wrong hands and used incorrectly they can cause serious damage, however used properly they work very well :)

At the end of the day the safety of the handler (and that of anyone else in the vicinity) is paramount. I am not a traditionalist by any means but think they can be a useful tool to have in the 'toolbox'.

Of course the ultimate aim is working with horses is harmony and lightness, however you won't get there if you get squished first ;)

ETA isn't it chifney, not chiffney?
 
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I usually use a rope halter or dually halter - not just for extra "oomph" but also to train the horse's reactions. However I think a chiffney used well - ideally with good timing and understanding of when to apply pressure and when to release - is ok.

But it does have risks if people are not sufficiently skilled to use it, ie horse getting loose and stepping on the rope, chiffney being used too hard and with the wrong timing etc. At least if they get loose with a rope or dually halter the worst they will do is give themselves a sore nose or poll for a couple of days - as opposed to damaged mouth/broken jaw . . seen that, not pleasant.

Also imho it is often used just to give the handler extra strength, rather than using it to train the horse, hence all the horses who behave perfectly the moment a chiffney is on but will raise merry hell in a headcollar.
 

bumblelion

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Both of my two are led in chiffneys. Firstly my exracer is more relaxed in one than a head collar. Maybe it's because it's what he's always been used to in the 6/7yrs he was in racing. Most days he's okay in a head collar but I know him inside out and know when a chiffney is needed as he can be too strong to hold when he's having one of those days!! My other an idxwb had leading issues when I took him on. He will rear and bolt in anything other than a chiffney as soon as he's clipped on! He hates nose pressure and this just aggravates the situation. Plus he's 760kgs so I ain't gonna win!! Both of mine are like donkeys in chiffneys, I rarely need to use them. Much rather this than be dragged, have to constantly hang on and risk my life for the case of leading them in a head collar. Don't get me wrong, one day I plan to be able to lead my tb calmly in a head collar in most situations but at the moment it's just not safe enough and I have a 1yo daughter to think about! Both of my horses respect me and I can do anything with them! Since having them they've both come on no end and have both had abusive pasts.
 

GypsyGirl

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I use one on my tb mare .. It's not used all the time but she can be very difficult to handle coming out of the field .. Rearing spinning bucking and pure naughtiness .. In a head collar I can't control her when she is being in a "dragon mode".. When she has it on she is brilliant .. Use a head collar then you have no chance .. She ends up going down to the stables either sideways backwards or something or other .. Yeah it can be lack of ground work but when she is in the chifney she listens and when she does mess around I can control her .. Make her stand .. Back up then walk when I walk .. In a head collar I can't do that .. Don't get me wrong she is getting alot better .. But then I'd rather be safe and use one then risk being kicked in the head when she's rearing because Shes a young, fresh, fit, sharp high spirited tb ..
 

tracyandtokyo

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Why do so many on here seem to recommend a chiffney for groundwork issues?

Aside from the obvious that its the actual groundwork and horse/ handler relationship that is at fault the damage they do to the mouth, which is so sensitive and you obviously want it to remain so for riding, is horrendous. Also it seems to be the first port of call for many rather than looking at the bigger picture of what has caused the behaviour in the first place or going to a pressure/release headcollar etc

Discuss!
thanks the lord! someone agrees with me! i think they are nastyy and people should go bck to basics with their horse to learn whats up anyway
 

risky business

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Iv had to consider using a chiffney with my mare.

She doesn't have any ground work issues, but 2 months of box rest can send any horse mad!

Iv tried headcollers and pressure halters with zero success and last time we went for a walk she reared up being silly and nearly fell over backwards!

She's just had a pretty major operation (on her stomoch) and one wrong move could end in disaster!

Luckly she did no damage the last time, but I'm not willing to risk her life, not before trying a chiffney first.
 

samlf

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I've never really had cause to use one. I have handled difficult horses and had some difficult horses, but always found that with consistent handling/ being firm they've got the message. I can see why some people use them, but to me its an absolute last resort
 

Batgirl

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The Chifney at our yard is used on one horse and one horse only, the stallion. He is a big puppy dog 90% of the time and only experienced people handle him but due to him needing to be lead past mares, children etc the chifney is used as a safety precaution, it mainly hangs loosely in his mouth until he gets to where he is going and taken off leaving a headcollar or halter (he does some natural horsemanship groundwork (ie turn out, walker etc). On the odd occasion it is used to control but I can only recall a handful of times but those handful of times could be nasty with a large stallion without the added help of the chifney.
 
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when faced with a stubborn warmblood that doesnt want to load a chiffney is a very sensible solution. my horse my rears and flips over when we try and load her but with a chiffney in she walks straight on. it is much safer for the horse and the handler, it avoids a lot of stress and a possible accident.
 

RobinHood

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We have a stallion halter instead of a chiffney. It's a large metal ring that goes around the nose and the leadrope clips on the back. We don't use it very often just occasionally a new horse might throw its weight around before they've settled into the yard routine. Unlike a chiffney it doesn't go in the mouth but there is the possibility of bruising the nose if you were too rough.

 

Ideal

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I really don't want to sound ignorant or stupid ( I had only heard of a chiffney 2 weeks ago ), can someone just explain to me why they can be so bad for the horse. Or is it if they are used incorrectly. Or both.

As you may know from my previous 2 threads , I have just got my first ever horse and he has reared twice hurting the staff at yard whilst being turned out. Yesterday being brought in .So a chiffney is being used on him since his first rear, ( reading about the Chiffney is worrying me as I personally don't have any experience of them ) ). I finally have some days off work next week so I can turn him out and bring him in myself and see what he does.

I work 12 hour shifts nights and days so he is on part livery , turned out and brought in and fed morning and night. I do everything else. He has been fine on the ground , lets me groom quite happily, change rugs, pick up feet. He was perfect with the farrier last week too. He has been really good when I have ridden him. The odd spook , but he is in a new home with a new mum. I am practising ground work with him and will be doing as much as I can with him. I have wanted a horse for so many years . I am prepared to put as much effort in as it takes.

I would just like some advice please, thank you for reading :)
 
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I've only ever used a chiffney in one mare, who was the most stubborn mare I have ever met. If you put her in the chiffney she would be like a lamb, never had to use any pressure whatsoever. If you led her in a headcollar, or even a bridle, she would bolt. True bolt, she would run straight through you and she injured some people. For everyones safety she was in a chiffney, but it would always be pretty much a last resort for me.
 

scribble

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I used a chiffney occ last eyar on 4 3 yr old warmblood mare when she didnt want to lead out sensibly. It sits in her mouth unless she messes about and goes up. a 16.3 3 yr old up in the air is not worth the risk. I use it with a headcollar and a short and long rope so you only use it if they play up. Sorry but i need to work to pay mortgage and horse livery etc so cnt afford to be hurt.
 
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Chifneys are very useful if used in the right circumstances...

I perservered for 4 years with my mare convincing myself that I should learn to handle her better, ignoring everyone's advice to use a chifney and getting dragged back from the field on numerous occasions. I am experienced with difficult horses and have used chifneys on other people's horses (at their request), but I had read so many bad things about them I didn't want to use one on my own.

I finally saw the light when I got pulled over on the concrete last winter and narrowly escaped a very nasty injury. With my horse it was typically walking a long distance to and from fields past other horses that got her excitable, in every other way she is very easy to handle.

I used a chifney to lead my horse to and from the field for the next few months. I tried without a few times and she reverted to being a lunatic, but was always very obedient in the chifney. I stopped using it when she moved to a much closer field in the summer and with one exception she has been fine in a headcollar ever since, but I keep the chifney just in case. The exception was a few weeks ago when she had one of her rare but mega strops. Even with the chifney on she was running round me in circles and rearing - it wasn't pretty and how I didn't cut her tongue off I don't know, but we both survived unharmed.
 

MileAMinute

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I have never had to use a chifney but am not naive and aware they have their uses for more difficult or stronger horses :)

As the saying goes: green on green makes black and blue. As long as the handler is experienced and knows what they are doing, I don't personally see a problem.
 

Caledonia

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Aside from the obvious that its the actual groundwork and horse/ handler relationship that is at fault the damage they do to the mouth, which is so sensitive and you obviously want it to remain so for riding, is horrendous. Also it seems to be the first port of call for many rather than looking at the bigger picture of what has caused the behaviour in the first place or going to a pressure/release headcollar etc
I'd use a chifney in place of a pressure halter every time. If there is damage caused to the horse with a chifney, then the handler, not the tool, is at fault.

It makes no odds what has caused the behaviour, if instant control is needed to manage the horse, then the simplest and fastest way to do that and relearn good manners is what is important.
 
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Why do so many on here seem to recommend a chiffney for groundwork issues?

Aside from the obvious that its the actual groundwork and horse/ handler relationship that is at fault the damage they do to the mouth, which is so sensitive and you obviously want it to remain so for riding, is horrendous. Also it seems to be the first port of call for many rather than looking at the bigger picture of what has caused the behaviour in the first place or going to a pressure/release headcollar etc

Discuss!
Interesting thread, and this I have to totally agree with. I'm a bitless girl anyway and I personally think chiffneys are horrible. They should definitely not be a first port of call when dealing with groundwork issues, there are so many other ways which have been proven to be more successful and kinder to the horse, recognising the cause of a problem is for sure the best way to the solution!
 

Caledonia

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Interesting thread, and this I have to totally agree with. I'm a bitless girl anyway and I personally think chiffneys are horrible. They should definitely not be a first port of call when dealing with groundwork issues, there are so many other ways which have been proven to be more successful and kinder to the horse, recognising the cause of a problem is for sure the best way to the solution!
So, say a 17hh warmblood gelding arrives on your yard, he's sent to you because he's very opinionated, has learned his own strength, barges out the box and has learned to tow people everywhere he want to go. He is too strong to hold in a headcollar, and still a bit colty after being gelded. How do you get him safely out of the box and teach him to behave being led quickly? His 'problem' is that he knows he is bigger and stronger. How would you address that?

A chifney would give you control immediately to move him where he needed to go (field for ex) safely.
 

PapaFrita

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with most things, in the wrong hands and used incorrectly they can cause serious damage, however used properly they work very well :)

At the end of the day the safety of the handler (and that of anyone else in the vicinity) is paramount. I am not a traditionalist by any means but think they can be a useful tool to have in the 'toolbox'.

Of course the ultimate aim is working with horses is harmony and lightness, however you won't get there if you get squished first ;)

ETA isn't it chifney, not chiffney?
I agree and yes. It's chifney.
 
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I do not believe you could teach a bolshy 17hh warmblood to behave and respect his handler quickly, respect takes time and has to be earned from both sides, I never suggested it could be done quickly. It would take a lot of time working with said horse I imagine but I do believe it can be done without the use of a chiffney, it is just my opinion and I would simply never use one myself!
 

TigerTail

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So, say a 17hh warmblood gelding arrives on your yard, he's sent to you because he's very opinionated, has learned his own strength, barges out the box and has learned to tow people everywhere he want to go. He is too strong to hold in a headcollar, and still a bit colty after being gelded. How do you get him safely out of the box and teach him to behave being led quickly? His 'problem' is that he knows he is bigger and stronger. How would you address that?

A chifney would give you control immediately to move him where he needed to go (field for ex) safely.
ME? Id forget his history and the story that came with him - thats owners baggage not his.

Id put a dually headcollar on him in the box with a 15ft line so I had extra length in case of emergencies. Id lead him out of the box, and let him come down the ramp however he wanted as if hes wound up i wouldnt want an accident. Id let him stand and have a look around and get his bearings.

If he started towing me off in one direction id circle him and make him stand next to me. We'd do this until he stood calmly, no matter how long it took. Then Id begin leading him in the direction of wherever hes going - If he gets in front I would check him using the halter, and back him to just behind my right shoulder. Everytime. Without fail. Whilst walking to where we were going I do several halts, so he knows when I halt he halts. Every time. He should halt behind me, not to the side, not in front, behind. Everytime.

When we got to said destination he would be expected to stand whilst the head collar was removed.

Everytime he stood where he is supposed to he would get a rub and praise, if he got infront or pulled i just ignore and correct.

I backed a 17.2 gelderlander stallion, who was feral, without ever resorting to a chifney ;) If you expect them to behave badly, they will, because your body language will teach them to. Expect them to behave properly and you stand a better chance of getting a good result!
 

AengusOg

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So, say a 17hh warmblood gelding arrives on your yard, he's sent to you because he's very opinionated, has learned his own strength, barges out the box and has learned to tow people everywhere he want to go. He is too strong to hold in a headcollar, and still a bit colty after being gelded. How do you get him safely out of the box and teach him to behave being led quickly? His 'problem' is that he knows he is bigger and stronger. How would you address that?

.
I'd take him into the school, in a pressure halter, and teach him what he needed to know. Using a chifney on him would only force such a horse to behave through fear of the consequences should he not, whereas training would change him for the better.

I handle lots of 'difficult' horses, as a freelance trainer, and I've never used a chifney. We have a stallion at work who came with one, but I've no idea why as he's well behaved in a head collar or a stallion bridle.

I'm not saying they should never be used, but there are other ways to train and handle horses which have been mis-handled in the past. The trouble is, lots of people have no idea how to handle horses in even the most basic way, nor the time to learn, so lots of horses go off the rails.

Today's emphasis seems to be on control rather than training.
 
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