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Micklem bridles

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  • Micklem bridles

    I have been reading up on and considering a Micklem bridle. Somebody told me that they were legal as long as you don't use the bit clips, but isn't that what holds the bit to the bridle?

    Also, the reviews I have been reading say the leather was only "decent" quality. For the price I would want more than just decent quality leather. Has the leather quality improved at all in their newer models? (the reviews I were reading were mostly older).
    Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
    The Blog

  • #2
    The leather is okay, not buttery soft like a Nunn Finer but quite decent. Mine is about 6 months old and has softened up some with lots of lederbalsm and use.

    My understanding is that Micklem bridles are legal for dressage, but I'm not a rule guru. Look here at page 43:
    http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2013/08-DR.pdf

    Unless you're in the 'double bridle' stratosphere you should be fine.

    edited to add:
    The bit clips do not hold the bit on the bridle. There are little leather loops that attach the bit. The bit clips can then be used in addition to the leather loops to stabilize the bit. For shows you can just take them off.

    Comment


    • #3
      I was thinking about one, but saw one in a tack shop and it wasn't super nice. Not horrible, but not top-flight either, and seemed a bit bulky. Seemed like it would take a while to break in, and the horse in question has a smallish head, it looked like it would overwhelm him.
      "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

      Spay and neuter. Please.

      Comment


      • #4
        I am intrigued by these... I don't want to hijack this thread, but can anyone give me their positive/negative experiences re: starting youngsters in a Micklem? When I've started horses in the past (decades ago!) I typically used a cavesson or bosal and transitioned to the bit when basic concepts were more solid. I'll be backing my boy at the end of next summer and I'm wondering if the Micklem provides a more streamlined way of doing this?
        Proud COTH lurker since 2001.

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        • #5
          I love my Micklem multi bridles, I have three sizes (had to mix two for the Arabs) though I took off the chin straps. The horses I ride seem to prefer them--with bits.
          I am not "breaking" any young ones now, all my experiences are with "ruined" riding school horses. I have ridden these horses bitted and bitless. I tried the bitless options on the Multi-bridle (before I took the chin straps off) and the horses did not like any of the three options. I also tried the bit clips and the horses went better without them.
          These horses did fine and liked 1) my ancient Jumping Cavesson bridle, 2) the Light Rider Bitless, a modified Scawbrig, and 3) all my cross-under bridles (Nurtural, Dr. Cook and Spirit, with preference for the Spirit because the release is better.) These horses seemed to think that the bitless options on the multi-bridle did not feel as comfortable as the other bitless bridles.
          These horses are three Arabs, one an old mare, two Arab/Welsh, one a mare, a British Riding pony, a half Dutch Draft Horse/Irish Sport Horse, a few Quarter Horses. All these horses demanded lighter contact with the bitless than with a bit.
          If I was "breaking" a horse I would probably use the cross-under and be very careful never to hang on the reins. When I would introduce the bit I would definitely use the Micklem bridles. A good way of avoiding several problems.

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          • #6
            I did my ride at Jane Savoie's recent workshop in a Micklem. My favorite part of the bridle? Less leather to clean!! Otherwise, it's a decent bridle and I haven't found that the horses really care on way or another.
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            • #7
              I really like mine. My horse is softer in it, and he doesn't do as nearly as much face rubbing. He didn't like the bit clips though. The quality of the leather isn't great, but it's not too bad. It broke it pretty nicely.

              Comment


              • #8
                I recently switched to a drop noseband from a regular cavesson which lays similar to the Micklem Bridle - avoiding the nerves and teeth. Because of the hard time I've had fitting a drop properly, I've considered trying the Micklem but haven't yet.

                I found that when using the drop, my horse has gone better. I would prefer the drop or Micklem over a flash any day.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Micklem and Podhajsky

                  Reviving an older thread, but I thought it better than a new one with a similar theme. I have and love my Micklem, but I am running into a fit issue with my new horse. Have a regular Horse size that I've adjusted so everything is where it needs to be, but the bit is still setting too high even on the very last hole. I can move the cheek pieces down another hole and the bit sits better but the rest of the bridle looks a little low.

                  I have a loose ring french link that shows two wrinkles on the corners right now, with the jaw strap just in front of the jaw. This makes the noseband look too low to me as it is below the nasal 'pockets' (the soft spots on either side of the bone) and below my horse's natural 'ridge'/bony projection on his nose, like the one visible on this horse.

                  I have been reading Alois Podhajsky who consistently says that there should be no wrinkles from the bit and recommends putting the chin strap under the bit. I tried the chin strap under the bit with good results but I'm still confused about no wrinkles as I've always been told "two wrinkles" and I cannot figure out a way to even test the theory with the Micklem fitting issue. Anyone have advice on either how the Micklem should be adjusted or on Podhajsky's recommendation for no wrinkles?

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                  • #10
                    Using one on one of my horses with reg. snaffle bit. He doesn't care at all, but I don't really like the look of it....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rlmatherly View Post
                      Reviving an older thread, but I thought it better than a new one with a similar theme. I have and love my Micklem, but I am running into a fit issue with my new horse. Have a regular Horse size that I've adjusted so everything is where it needs to be, but the bit is still setting too high even on the very last hole. I can move the cheek pieces down another hole and the bit sits better but the rest of the bridle looks a little low.

                      I have a loose ring french link that shows two wrinkles on the corners right now, with the jaw strap just in front of the jaw. This makes the noseband look too low to me as it is below the nasal 'pockets' (the soft spots on either side of the bone) and below my horse's natural 'ridge'/bony projection on his nose, like the one visible on this horse.

                      I have been reading Alois Podhajsky who consistently says that there should be no wrinkles from the bit and recommends putting the chin strap under the bit. I tried the chin strap under the bit with good results but I'm still confused about no wrinkles as I've always been told "two wrinkles" and I cannot figure out a way to even test the theory with the Micklem fitting issue. Anyone have advice on either how the Micklem should be adjusted or on Podhajsky's recommendation for no wrinkles?
                      I had the same problem with my horse. I contacted the importers (and Miklem) and they were very helpful in accomodating me. I ended up with a combo of the two sizes, paying only for one bridle. The importers sent me the half I needed to make it fit.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rlmatherly View Post
                        Reviving an older thread, but I thought it better than a new one with a similar theme. I have and love my Micklem, but I am running into a fit issue with my new horse. Have a regular Horse size that I've adjusted so everything is where it needs to be, but the bit is still setting too high even on the very last hole. I can move the cheek pieces down another hole and the bit sits better but the rest of the bridle looks a little low.

                        I have a loose ring french link that shows two wrinkles on the corners right now, with the jaw strap just in front of the jaw. This makes the noseband look too low to me as it is below the nasal 'pockets' (the soft spots on either side of the bone) and below my horse's natural 'ridge'/bony projection on his nose, like the one visible on this horse.

                        I have been reading Alois Podhajsky who consistently says that there should be no wrinkles from the bit and recommends putting the chin strap under the bit. I tried the chin strap under the bit with good results but I'm still confused about no wrinkles as I've always been told "two wrinkles" and I cannot figure out a way to even test the theory with the Micklem fitting issue. Anyone have advice on either how the Micklem should be adjusted or on Podhajsky's recommendation for no wrinkles?
                        Personally I am a 'no wrinkles' rider. BUT, you really need to look inside the horse's mouth. NOT outside. Any horse may have teeth that are high, low, or whatever. Ideally, I think no wrinkles are better. But foremost, the bit shouldn't wonk any teeth.

                        If you search around, you may find photos of a few riders (I know at least 2 FEI jumper riders did it) riding with bit + reins and nothing else. Horses just held the bit in their mouths.

                        The 'no wrinkles' proponents assert that the horse will hold the bit where it is comfortable. But I would take into the skill of the rider, the 'energy' level of the activity, etc.

                        I agree that the 'noseband' of the Micklem is set a bit low. I often have to jack the sides all the way up and drop the bit connectors all the way down.

                        But I do like my Micklem. Easy to longe in and less leather to clean than a bridle with separate noseband. And the one I have I can fit onto a 15.3 pocket rocket mare up to a 17.2 gignormous gelding and I still have some room at both ends of the scale. Really a very adjustable and useful piece of tack.
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                        • #13
                          Isabeau - Thank you for supporting the 'no wrinkles' as I like the idea but didn't know if I was reading it correctly.

                          Callmeacab- Did you happen to find out if we can order just the bit pieces? Everything will fit if I just have longer bit straps... I don't think I can get a good combo deal like you did as I've had the bridle for a couple years and am just now fitting a different horse. But it's great to hear that they are willing to work with the customer in case I decide I need the multibridle too.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Callmeacab- Did you happen to find out if we can order just the bit pieces? Everything will fit if I just have longer bit straps... I don't think I can get a good combo deal like you did as I've had the bridle for a couple years and am just now fitting a different horse. But it's great to hear that they are willing to work with the customer in case I decide I need the multibridle too.
                            I would call the importers and ask. I can't remember the name of the company, but you should be able to find it. Otherwise, you might email William Micklem. He wrote me several emails, answering my questions.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have a friend who tried one of these recently, and is very pleased for both of her horses. She said both take a nice contact and are quieter in their mouths. She's a very good, classical dressage rider who, above all else, puts the horse's comfort first, and is willing to try new things to accomplish this. Her feedback is enough to convert me (as soon as the tax refund arrives ... ).
                              "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                              Spay and neuter. Please.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I didn't like how stiff the leather was, thinking my horse would be uncomfortable in it, but he just loves it, being so much happier and relaxed.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I also found those cute little bit straps too short--way too short. I got two flash straps, cut them down, punched new holes and now I can put the bit wherever I and the horse want it. I also used leather spur straps but they feel a lot flimsier than the cut down flash straps.
                                  I also, after a lot of thought, took the chin strap off of all three of my Micklem bridles. The chin strap is so wide, much wider than the chin strap on my figure-8 noseband, that there was no way I could buckle it and avoid having wrinkles at the corner of the horse's mouths. If I feel I have to have a chin strap I just use a doubled up flash strap in its place. Of course the horses don't like that any more than the Micklem chin strap, but it is something I can use if I feel like I HAVE to have a chin strap. The horses also DID NOT LIKE the bit clips, but then I am riding sensitive elderly Arabians and a pony, I am sure that someday I will run into a horse that likes the bit clips.
                                  I LOVE the Micklem bridles because the horses I ride really prefer the Micklem bridle to normal bridles. The leather is not ideal, I have worked a lot of lard in to soften it and it still isn't up to the level of good English leather. The quality of the leather in the Micklem bridles do not bother the horses so I am not letting it bother me. The horses GREATLY PREFER the Micklem on their head with the longer bit straps and no chin strap, than any other bridle I have used on them.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Jackie Cochran View Post
                                    I also, after a lot of thought, took the chin strap off of all three of my Micklem bridles. The chin strap is so wide, much wider than the chin strap on my figure-8 noseband, that there was no way I could buckle it and avoid having wrinkles at the corner of the horse's mouths. If I feel I have to have a chin strap I just use a doubled up flash strap in its place..
                                    Is there any way to tuck the chin strap out of the way, just to try this, before cutting it off the bridle?

                                    My mare is quite happy in her Micklem, *except* for the chin strap, probably because she has such a dainty muzzle that it really doesn't fit in front of the bit.
                                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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                                    • #19
                                      I simply put the chin strap underneath the bit. I didn't have to cut it off that way and it doesn't interfere with the bit at all now.

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