At its April 2015 meeting, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Executive Committee barred the use of lip chains in show horses beginning Jan. 1, 2016. Since then, the executive committee has worked with its members, along with the leaders of the World Conformation Horse Association (WCHA), and continued to review potential options and alternatives to the banning of lip chains in amateur and open halter stallion classes for yearlings and older.

“The association and the AQHA Executive Committee take a firm stand on animal welfare for the protection of the horse and for the future of the breed, along with keeping the safety of exhibitors a major priority,” said Glenn Blodgett, DVM, AQHA president. “Keeping this in mind, and after hearing concerns voiced by AQHA members, we met with the leaders of WCHA and various members of the halter industry numerous times since April. Through these meetings we were able to have a very constructive dialogue concerning solutions that ensure the safety of both horse and exhibitor.”

During the meetings, several leading halter industry individuals and WCHA leadership presented a humane alternative to the lip chain: a lip cord. After taking comments and findings into consideration, the AQHA Executive Committee approved the use of a lip cord in amateur and open halter classes for stallions aged 1 year and older only, effective Jan. 1, 2016.

The AQHA said the American Quarter Horse was bred and developed to have a kind and willing disposition, well-balanced conformation, and agile speed. There are, however, well-known and understood behavioral differences with stallions as compared to mares