I’m a veterinary student from the United Kingdom and have been riding with a stud farm veterinarian in America going from place to place. I am trying to figure out the art of handling stallions for breeding. Can you please enlighten me on the intended purpose of the various stud shank configurations–not just the various styles, but the significance of the different ways to put the chain part of the shank over the nose, around the nose, or through the mouth? Also, what is a breeding bridle?          Jan


My hands-on experience is fairly limited to the methods that we have used and taught for decades, and occasional attempts to try alternate configurations.

I have observed other methods around the country and around the world, and I have developed impressions and opinions. Probably no one method is the best for all stallions. Let me explain from the perspective of what we do and coach at our veterinary school facility, then I will comment on alternative methods.

By custom at our facility, as well as when we teach primarily novice or unskilled stallion handlers, we generally use a very simple halter and chain shank configuration.

The lead is an eight-foot cotton lead shank with a 40-inch English brass chain. Ideally, we use a leather breeding halter that is well-fitted to the horse. A stout nylon halter with good brass fittings is also acceptable.

The leather breeding stallion halters have 1.25-inch double-thickness, supple, triple-stitched noseband, cheek, and crown pieces. The throat latch is half-inch rolled leather shaped to the contour of the jaw. One-inch quarter-circle leather stays connecting the noseband to cheek pieces prevent rolling and rotation.

For balanced, directional control of the stallion’s head, adjust the noseband to sit approximately midway down the bridge of the nose, well above the crease of the li