Chifney Bit and Headpiece

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Chifney Bit and Headpiece

Horse Wear

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60% positive

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Review of "Chifney Bit and Headpiece"

published 07/08/2007 | spottydog2
Member since : 20/12/2004
Reviews : 178
Members who trust : 81
About me :
Pro Stops the horse rearing in hand.
Cons Can be severe if used incorrectly.
very helpful
Value for Money

"Avoid a black eye and cut cheek with this."

Lilly is bored, she has been in for 18 weeks with a fractured

Lilly is bored, she has been in for 18 weeks with a fractured

A chifney is something that is used when necessary by some horse owners and is used to prevent a horse from rearing when leading. It can be used in different situations but must be used with care and only ever on the ground. It can be very severe and must only be used appropriately and correctly. A horse can never be made to do anything that it doesn`t want to do. They have much more strength than us so they need to be willing and have respect which comes with a good relationship. A chifney can`t be used when being ridden but the more respect a horse has for someone when leading, the more they will have when being ridden. Horses can sometimes be naughty which needs to be discouraged. Rearing is something that needs to be discouraged as it can be dangerous.

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Firstly, what is rearing? Rearing is when a horse stands on its hind legs which looks very nice in the field when you see horses playing together. We have all seen the Lloyds Bank advert and it looks pretty impressive, the black horse rearing in the advert. In reality it can be dangerous. Horses can rear when ridden and the Chifney can`t be used then. It can be extremely dangerous as the horse can rear over backwards. I have only seen this once and the rider broke his ribs. The only good thing that can come of this is, once a horse has reared over backwards, it can frighten itself and may never rear again. Not something that is recommended though. I tend to spin a horse around quickly and drive it on if it rears when I am riding as they can not go up again then. They need to get out of the habit. If a horse rears when being led, a Chifney can be used and hopefully they will learn that it is not desired behaviour.

What is a Chifney?
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A Chifney is a perculiar shaped bit that is used in conjunction with a headpiece to be used just when necessary, you put it on, use it straight away and remove it immediately. Never tie a horse up in a chifney. Unfortunately I don`t have a photo of my horse with one on. Basically if you look at the picture of the bit a above, I will explain where the headpiece goes. The headpiece is made from leather and is adjustable as it has a buckle. Once you have the right size for your horse, you don`t undo it to put it on or to remove it. The headpiece attaches to the side two rings. The leadrope attaches to the bottom ring. The top bit in the picture actually goes into the horses mouth. The headpiece then easily slips over the ears and it is secure. The bottom bit of metal then circles around the chin and the horse is led from the leadrope attached to the rope under the chin. It looks a pretty horrible bit of equipment which is why it is so important to use it correctly. You can put it on on its own, or you can slip it on over the bridle. It is only on for a very short time. The chifney acts as leverage, it does not hurt unless the horse tries to rear or pull. As soon as the horse does either, it acts on the tongue. The lead rope should also be loose on the chifney so that it does not hurt the horse. If they try to rear it will hurt. If they don`t it won`t.

When to use a Chifney.
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The chifney can be used to load the horse into a trailer or it can be used to bring them in from the field. When loading a horse, it is not used to drag the horse into the trailer, it is just to prevent them from rearing up and going too far backwards. I knew someone who used it to load their pony every time before showjumping. I used to consider it unnecessary, until I needed to use one and I can see the benefits now. I have not seen it used incorrectly but if it were it could hurt the horse badly. It can be used when leading in from the field for a short time. It must only be used if necessary in my opinion and it is not very commonly used. I will explain below when and why I sometimes use one.

Loading Tiger Lilly.
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I bought a lovely iron grey 4 year old grey mare. I have had her for a year and she is 5 now. She did not load very well when I collected her so I decided to spend a long time working on it. I set up the trailer at home so that she could walk in and out again. I did this on a few occassions and walked her through and then closed the exit to keep her in. The was to remove the stress from the situatuation and let her know that loading into a trailer was nothing to worry about. I spent a long time over this. I went to a show, she loaded beatifully. However, she wouldn`t to go home and I had to get help from people there. The next time I was going to a lesson. It was in hacking distance but it was going to be dark on the return. She wouldn`t load so I had to hack there and I was late. To get her to load on return took some time and there have been several other times like this. When you are miles from home and have been on a lovely picnic ride and can`t load the horse, it isn`t funny. You have to be able to load them when it is too far fron home. I started to use the chifney. She walks straight in every time. I can sometimes even get her to walk in without it but using the chifney eliminates stress for me and her and everyone else who helps. She is being naughty when she won`t go in I have been told. She walks in straight away with the chifney, I slip it off and tie her to the trailer tie. It takes seconds. Now, it cannot be said that I tried loading her and taking her somewhere without preparation. The chifney is completely pain free for Lilly as she walks straight in, she just knows (she did try) that it would hurt if she pulled away or reared. I take her on some lovely outings which I would not be able to if she didn`t load.

Leading Tiger Lilly.
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So you may think that Tiger Lilly is a bit naughty, she can be. She is lovely though, I must try to get some photos on. At the livery yard that I am at, I have to cross 2 fields (trust me to draw the short straw!). It is great though as there are only 4 horses in each field. She took to dragging me accross the field. Not just that, we would end up going down when I wanted to go accross. She would start trotting and would get faster and faster and I would be running, fast. Not a good idea, especially when there are other horses in the field. I was worried that I was going to trip and injure myself or let her go. Luckily I didn`t. I used the chifney for a period of time. She walked like a little lamb in the chifney. I used it for a few weeks maybe. Once she was waking nicely every time I stopped using it. She is good now.

Leading Pye.
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Pye is a 3 year old that I bought when he was 2 and a half. He is lovely and has a fantastic temperement. However he is young and can be a bit cheeky. He is learning manners and is learning them very well. I have only had one problem with him which required the chifney 3 times. I was leading him in and he nudged me with his head so I told him off and faced him. With that he reared up and treated me a bit like another horse in a field. One of his hooves were on my shoulder which was very heavy and they other one skimmed the side of my face. Luckily he didn`t put his full weight on me but it hurt. I then realised that I had a cut on my cheek and a swollen eye which resulted in a black eye. I didn`t think anything of it as youngsters will try it on sometimes but he reared up again when I went to put him out though he didn`t injure me this time. He did get away though as I was still in pain and a bit apprehensive about getting too close. I took him back and used the chfney. He tried to go up again but didn`t. I only used it one more time and he hasn`t done it again so I won`t use the chifney again. It is easy to see how horses can be dangerous if they misbehave. He is turning into a lovely horse and is generally very well behaved.

Is the Chifney expensive?
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They can be expensive as they don`t seem to be very common but I have found them cheaper on line. I am sure I paid more for mine. The bit is available is sizes 4 and a half inches, 5 inches and 5 and a half inches. It is around £9.87. The headpiece is around £4.99. You need both though. There is no point in improvising and using something instead of the headpeice as it is useful to have it all attached at the correct measurement. £15 for the whole thing I think is very good, if you can find one. Mine was more but it was well worth it.

Do I recommend?
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I only recommend the chifney when necessary. It is essential that it is only used correctly and never harshly. It must only be used with a loose leadrope so that it only comes into play if the horse misbehaves. When they correct themselves, it must be loose again. It is better to use it for a short time for a training period when necessary, though it may be required all of the time when loading. Pain should never be used to train the horse, it is just used to teach them boundaries. By that I mean, they should not feel any pain unless they do something that could be dangerous to horse and handler like rearing. It should never be used to drag the horse along and cause them pain. Also never tie the horse up in the chifney as they could injure themselves if they pull back. If used to load, you must remove it before tying the horse up. In my opinion it is a really excellent bit of equipment to be used with care when necessary.

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Comments on this review

  • sunnyfox published 03/08/2009
    I've been very fortunate that I've never needed one of these, but I hava a friend who uses it for her thoroughbred. Good review :)
  • qwerty30 published 05/09/2007
    Excellent review, really helpful explanation of what the chifney bit is and does.
  • Expired-Account published 27/08/2007
    Great review, my mum used to use one of these, very helpful
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Product Information : Chifney Bit and Headpiece

Manufacturer's product description

Horse Wear

Product Details

Long Name: Bit and Headpiece

Type: Horse Wear

Manufacturer: Chifney


Listed on Ciao since: 28/07/2007