Bumper bar vs chain?

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shoeboxstables

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Hi Everyone-

I've always used chains on my show halters, and only ever seen ones with bumper bars. My question is- with what type of horse is that appropriate (attitude-wise that is)? How do you know that'll be the best? Do they come in different sizes for different sized heads?

I'm asking about this for my stallion. When we work just aroung the farm, we use just a plain barn halter and a chain lead rope just snapped to the circle on the bottom of the halter. The chain is somewhat heavy (it's a big horse lead). When we practice setting up, the best reminder for him to stay put is an upward bump with the lead.

So would he do better with a bumper bar insead of a chain? The dainty chain doesn't seem to mean much to him on the show halter.

Thank you for your help! I hope the quesiton makes sense!!
 

Jill

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I'll be interested to read replies. I've only ever used chains so will be interested to hear opinions
 

hhpminis

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I use mostly chains with my show halters as they look finer.

Having said that, there are a couple things you need to know. Chains easily tighten with pressure but dont release as easily. You need to move with a horse when you have a chain on. If you have a horse that tends to rear or fight a chain may not be the correct device for them. As the horse fights and pulls back the chain tightens and the horse fights more.

In this type of situation I would use a bump bar. First it is more forgiving as it does not clamp down and second, when you use it, it gets their attention quickly and is done.

Now, having said that, LOL. A bump bar can really irritate a horse if they have sore tooth bumps, is too small, or if you are a chronic jerker.

No matter what you choose to put on your halter, please dont be a chronic or nervous jerker. Use it when you need it to get their attention and then release and praise them for responding.

Make sense?
 

Leeana

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I bought a bumper bar from Star Lake to try out on my shetland gelding who can be a handful in the show ring. I played around with the bumper bar on him here are home and i personally felt like i have more control with the chain. I to like the look of the chain. They have bio chin straps which i've seen allot on weanlings who are more likely to jump, rear and even flip over in the show ring but the bio chin straps come in adult and average sizes as well.

The secret with the chain is not to fight the horse if they rear, dont try to pull on the chain in they rear, you kind of have to move with the horse. When i show my horses i do allot of 'signals' off from the halter and the chain i personally think gives me more control.
 

Jill

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I use mostly chains with my show halters as they look finer.

Having said that, there are a couple things you need to know. Chains easily tighten with pressure but dont release as easily. You need to move with a horse when you have a chain on. If you have a horse that tends to rear or fight a chain may not be the correct device for them. As the horse fights and pulls back the chain tightens and the horse fights more.

In this type of situation I would use a bump bar. First it is more forgiving as it does not clamp down and second, when you use it, it gets their attention quickly and is done.

Now, having said that, LOL. A bump bar can really irritate a horse if they have sore tooth bumps, is too small, or if you are a chronic jerker.

No matter what you choose to put on your halter, please dont be a chronic or nervous jerker. Use it when you need it to get their attention and then release and praise them for responding.

Make sense?
Yes, thank you
All the horses I have do fine in the chains, but this helps me to know when in the future I may want to use a bar
 

Minimor

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I haven't used a bumper bar, but from what I've seen of them in use on the Arabians around here I have to say I don't think they are great for the majority of handlers. There are just too many chronic "jerkers" in the show rings (yes, Mini as well as Arab) and I don't think most people realize just how much of a bump those things can give to the horse.

For myself, I don't often use a chain either--mostly I use the biothane chinstraps--and do find that a chain gives enough control on pretty much any horse I've felt needed a bit more control than a chinstrap might offer. In fact, most don't need even that much--while a chinstrap might be too little, a chain is too much. You can give a horse a very hard snap with a chain-even the light show chains.

That said, I have found a way to wrap the chain around on itself so that it doesn't actually tighten on the horse's jaw. An extra wrap will make the chain smaller, one wrap less will make it larger, so it adjusts to fit different sized horses. Ideally it fits fairly close to the jaw, yet has a bit of room there that when the shank is used the chain does move a little bit--you get a little bit of "bumping" action from the chain if you want, but it doesn't give the strong bump that a bar will give. When I use a chain, that is how I use it.
 

mondak

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I think it is up to the handler as to whether it is wise to use a bumper bar. I went to the bar after my horse reared and reared with the chain. I am gentle with the bar, my corrections are quick and rare (I do not nag) and he shows beautifully in the bar.

Courtney
 

shoeboxstables

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Ok- I see
! Thanks so much for the replys! I think he will like that better- I like to think I'm not a bumper/snapper
.

-Kait
 

Jean_B

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The bumper bar works GREAT for a horse that doesn't like to focus - or tries to be the boss. BUT it should be used with extreme care. The "bumper" effect works only if you are standing in front of the horse, and give a sharp rap up and out. Do it once and you probably won't need to do it again for a LONG time because it really does HURT. If you snap it repetitively you can cause some damage, not to mention turn your horse into a major head jerker.
 

skanzler

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I use both, depending on the horse in training.

I love the bumper bar, as it gives me the freedom to only touch the horse when I need it to, and stays loose and free until I need it again. It gives a quick reminder and then goes slack. It does not stay tight, as the chain tends to do. Of note, you need to make sure you have it on the right direction and make sure that it is the right size for your horse. Yes if you are a chronic jerker, they can be overused. But the chain won't be any better if you tend to constantly jerk on your horse in class. This goes back to practicing with your horse at home and staying quiet on the lead. I agree with Annette, if a horse has sore tooth bumps the bumper can irritate, but no worse than a chain tightening on them. Again, know your horse......

The chain can cause problems when it tightens on a horse in class. If the horse doesn't like the pressure and moves away, which most horses will do, it can lead to flipping over. I usually roll my chain, so that it does not tighten when I need to ask something of my horse. It still allows me the contact I need without tightening.

With either equipment you need to work with the horse at home and get them used to it. Make sure it fits your horse and that you know how he or she will react to it. Be ready to go with your horse when he reacts.

I use a soft curb on the weanlings, usually a soft cloth dog collar. It still allows me to give pressure if I need it unlike the leather or biothane curbs. BUt is soft and won't pinch.

Just what works for me.
 

shoeboxstables

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Thanks for all of the great input! How would I go about sizing a horse for a bumper bar? And where would I look to tell if it's too large or too small? Is there any rule of thumb- like you have to fit two fingers between the chin/bar?

Thanks!!

Kaitlyn
 

hhpminis

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I was glad several mentioned wrapping the chain around itself as that really does help keep it from tightening down so tight.

To measure for a bump bar I would start by putting his show halter on and measure under the chin from loop to loop. Then you need to add a bit. I have never actually measured so I cant tell you how much but the bar should swing freely, not hanging up but not being so big they can slip out of it. Maybe use a string and then measure the string.

If you use a bump bar you also want to be careful what kind of treats you might give him with them on. It may be hard for them to chew with it on if it is on the snug side. You dont want them to choke.

Also it was mentioned by Syndi (skanzler) to try different types at home. The show ring is not the place to find out something doesn't work.

They are not that expensive and are nice to have in your halter bag for just in case moments. Say most of the time he is a good boy but for some reason when he gets around other horses you have trouble getting his attention. Or all of a sudden he forgets that he is usually a good boy.
 

ClickMini

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Maybe so! Hehehe! You do have to admit that even Esprit seems surprised at the result of his little "outburst!" I will never forget that moment of my "good boy," I was mortified!
John kept looking around saying, "Catch Handle!" Hahaha. You....good....boy. He wore a bumper bar the rest of the season.
 

HGFarm

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You mentioned that the lead you were using at home is for a full sized horse and big and heavy. This is overkill and once the horse gets used to that kind of weight and pressure.. the small lighter chain may have little to no effect.

Kind of like a heavy handed rider on a horse, and using a fairly severe bit. Once the bars in the mouth are deadened, and the horse requires a heavy hand to get his attention, it is very difficult to back off to a light bit and hands!!

Or like having a dog that is yelled at a lot and it doesnt listen- it surely isnt going to listen to a quiet soft tone. They are conditioned to what they think is 'normal' for them I guess.

Practice with what you are going to use, and get rid of the big heavy stuff. I know these are not good examples of what I am trying to say, but always use the LEAST you can get by with.
 

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