Keebler has an interestingly-shaped head. He's not a QH (although he is at least 1/4 Appaloosa) but he has a really big, wide jowl and a little bitty muzzle. Cob size from the eyes down, horse size up top . . . where his brain is.
Flash noseband? Meh. Figure 8? Hates it. (it rubs his Arnold Schwarzenegger-like cheekbones) Regular cavesson? Takes advantage. Drop? Can't get them to fit right. Crank? Makes him crank-y. A kineton works nicely but not practical and also hard to fit.
So what the heck, I figured I'd try a Micklem bridle. So far so good, and there was a lot less evasive head maneuvers. We even did a whole complicated jumping lesson in a big old fat D-ring snaffle and although I wouldn't do THAT again, LOL, he was 95% good.
So I'm not convinced it's the Second Coming of Tack, and I think it's sufficiently ugly to make me not want to use one for a dressage test (not to mention it's brown, and all my dressage stuff is black) I'm willing to go so far as to say it's decent, fits his chiseled face VERY well (horse size) and is of very, very good quality.
More to come as we experiment with more bits . . . all I seem to own are D-rings and my guess is an eggbutt would work better. Any experience with this, anyone?
HEHE! So after they were made legal I thought I would spend the money and get one to try on my mare with "poll" issues... this bridle seemed in photos to have very minimal poll pressure... well in our 2 rides with it she was very happy and went better than she has gone with a bit in about 3 yrs!! Normally in a typical bridle she cocks her head when you take up the bit pressure- I have to assume that with this the lack of poll pressure is what makes her happy... my only grip is the placement of the buckle for the strap below the bit, on her it is right at her lips... have to say it does not bother her but bugs the crap out of me I got the small horse size so maybe if thing stay happy I will try a larger size and see if that helps.
My gelding also seems to like it and he HATES normal "mouth containing devices" the added control gives us much more professional rides. Thankfully all my tack is brown so i am hoping i can oil it a bit darker and off we go!!
owner and friend of members of the Limping And Majestic Equine Society.
HEHE! So after they were made legal I thought I would spend the money and get one to try on my mare with "poll" issues... this bridle seemed in photos to have very minimal poll pressure... well in our 2 rides with it she was very happy and went better than she has gone with a bit in about 3 yrs!!
Oh no, not what I wanted to hear. I also have a mare with poll issues so I might have to give it a try, but I don't want anymore tack
We tested one on a bunch of horses here. None of them went "better". Some went exactly the same. Some went worse. One went MUCH worse (and, interestingly, he was the one we thought would benefit the most from it).
I know they have worked great for some horses, but a lot of horses don't tolerate the bit clips at all, and some of them get rubs in weird places. It might be the perfect solution for certain issues, but it's a lot of money for something that isn't always a solution.
I'd offer to lend out the one we had, but it broke while I was longing a horse in it.
I just picked mine up from the tack store at lunch today. Probably won't get to try it until Friday. I hope I'm one of those with a good experience. My horse seems to hate bridles -- he shakes his head and constantly wants to scratch his face/lips -- no matter what bit or if we are working or just trail riding on a loose rein.
Hilda Donahue (being Irish and a mentee of Micklem's) swears by them. She has several. There is now a "competition" bridle that has less snaps and no ring on the nose, it looks almost normal. It does come in black and hearing this means I'll probably be getting one to compete in. DW, if you like it enough that you want a black one for competition, let me know and I'll get it sooner rather than later.
Yes, the one I have is the competition one, the clips just came as extras and no extraneous rings, and it is a lovely brown that matches the chestnut spotted coat very well, but I know his mom does black tack. I'd say the jury is out as to whether it's worlds better (we had a NICE ride yesterday in Just A Plain Old Bridle) but the fit is far better with Keebler's boy-model face than most headstalls.
I am a couple of decades beyond the level of guts it would take to ride Keebler with no bit. Bonnie? Sure. She's a halter-and-leadshank horse at the ripe old age of 10.
You might be surprised! There's a way to set the Micklem as a very strong bitless bridle, similar to the Dr. Cook's. I've heard that they don't include the instructions for that in the US edition due to copyright conflicts with Dr. Cook's, but you can find the directions on the 'net.
I will let you know! Unfortunately UPS is saying I won't get it until the 1st. I'm dying to try it out! I'm not sure if they ordered more than the one in for me but you could call and check (or even e-mail).