AQHA Lip Chain Coalition Conducts 3rd National Meeting at the Breeders Halter Futurity and Halter Championship Show
September 14, 2015.—The My Membership Voice Matters Coalition, an international group opposed to the recent ruling by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) banning the use of lip chains at AQHA shows in 2016, conducted a presentation this past weekend at the Breeders Halter Futurity and Championship Show, Des Moines, IA. The presentation was held in the Jacobson Center, Iowa State Fairgrounds and was well attended by exhibitors, breeders, trainers and judges. During the presentation Ramona Caldwell, Coalition Chairwoman, presented the Coalition’s position in opposition to the ban and answered questions from those in attendance. “We were quite pleased with the turnout at the BHF which shows the growing support for our position that this ban has no factual basis and is not good for the AQHA Halter showing discipline,” said Ramona Caldwell.
The Coalition and its supporters maintain that the AQHA’s stated reason for the ban, that is, the lip chain is an inhumane treatment of the horse, is completely baseless and has conducted its own research to find instances of where the horse has been abused or injured from the use of lip chains at AQHA shows. To date, the Coalition has been unable to find a single documented case of abuse or inhumane treatment anywhere in the USA. Using the enablement of social media the Coalition has also conducted international surveys of the opinions of AQHA members and owners. “What we found, and was somewhat surprised by, is the large number of people who are very well versed in the lip chain’s value in terms of safety, control and focus — many of whom do not routinely use it but want the option,” said Ed Lawrence, Coalition Director of Communications.
Caldwell also said, “Our halter show horses are large animals and well conditioned athletes with extraordinary muscle, strength and pent up energy. If they become distracted or startled their flight or fight instincts can kick in and overpower a human handler quickly. In the case of some stallions other horses too could be placed in a dangerous situation. A properly applied lip chain serves to control and focus the halter horse’s attention on the handler. These are large show animals no different than any other large well conditioned animals being asked to perform in an unnatural environment. You would not send a child in the cattle show pen with an 800 pound steer without a show stick, would you? To the uninformed that tool has a wicked looking point and barb but try to successfully show cattle without the show stick’s scratch hook and point. It calms them and keeps them focused on the handler. The lip chain serves a similar function.”
When asked what the next step in its opposition to the ban will be Caldwell said, “We will continue to gather information for presentation to the AQHA Executive Committee. We have quite large sums of data from the veterinary community. We have thousands of statements of support from the horse showing community. Right now we are focusing our attentions on the economic impact this ban might have because quite a few people have said they will no longer show AQHA horses if it is not rescinded. As a group we do not subscribe to that thinking but it must be looked at. This could possibly have a significant economic impact on AQHA and affiliate horse showing revenue.”
The Coalition’s next National Meeting will be held during the AQHA World Show, November 20, 2015, 4:00pm, at the Biltmore Hotel, Oklahoma City, OK.