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Micklem bridle, anyone elses horse hate them?

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  • Micklem bridle, anyone elses horse hate them?

    So I was SO excited to get my Micklem bridle in the mail only to find out it was missing the bit clips

    No matter I thought, it can be used either way, so I tried it on my mare who is pretty green broke and she HATED it. Then tried it on my gelding who is a 15.2 Arab (I bought horse size) and its too small

    Over all incredibly disappointed in the whole thing.

    I am going to research it a little more and make sure everything was adjusted correctly.

    Anyone else have a bad experience?
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.

  • #2
    My Arab loves his! So, I bought another for hubby's horse, thinking it would be a nice bridle for him. Nope. He absolutely hated it.

    He's normally a pretty sane, low key guy (think stereotypical "hubby horse"), but would not stop shaking his head with the Micklem. I'm confident it was adjusted correctly, and have been using one on my Arab for a few years now with great results. This horse just did NOT like it. I rode him in twice, and he never got comfortable, so I went back to a regular bridle for him.

    You may want to check the fit if you're new to using it - they are a little different than "normal" bridles, and I got some good tips on here when I first got mine.

    The biggest thing is how tight the chin strap is supposed to be - it's much tighter than I thought based on the written instructions that were included with the bridle. They do run a little small, but unless your Arab has a really large head, I'm going to be surprised if the horse size doesn't fit him.

    Mine came with the clips, but I've never used them. I'll send them to you if you want them - just PM me.

    I will say that the Micklem made a noticeable difference in my Arab's willingness to take up the contact, so in general I'm a fan, but based on my experience, they're not for every horse.


    • #3
      If your horse isn't used to a flash/strap over the bit or it's fitted incorrectly, I can see how they wouldn't like it my. My gelding wasn't a huge fan it 2 years ago when he was used to a *loose* normal noseband and plodding around, but now that he's sound enough to do real work and wears a slightly tighter noseband day to day, he doesn't care if I him in my other horses micklem.

      Are you sure you are fitting it correctly? My cob size fits everything from 2 15.3 OTTB's (mid-holes) to my trainers 17 hand horse. I'd be pretty surprised if a horse size won't fit your 15.2 horse


      • #4
        I recently bought one for each of my horses. My Oldenburg could have really cared less - he was already ridden regularly in a drop noseband and it didn't make much of a difference. I bought it for him because I just wanted to make him comfortable. He's 15.3 and wears the horse size.

        However, when I tried the bit clips on him, it was awful. It was like he thought 'oh, it's just pressure on my nose, I'll let her hold my head up all day.' He was crazy heavy. Mid ride, I pulled the clips off, and he was instantly back to normal.

        My Arab, despite having never worn a flash or other drop type noseband in his LIFE, took to it immediately. He's 14.3 and wears the cob size. He goes well with or without the bit clips.


        • #5
          I'd really like to try a Micklem for my sensitive, fussy mare, but I am terrified I will spend $200 on a bridle that she hates or just doesn't make a difference for her at all. This thread is not helping to convince me to purchase :-/ Wish I knew someone locally who had one I could borrow :P


          • #6
            Simkie -

            Dover has a trial program - http://www.doversaddlery.com/mickelm...mo/p/X1-TR804/


            • #7
              My Arab refuses to do anything productive in one. He just flings his head and braces against the bridle. Normally he's very soft and happy to work on the bit. It made my normally noodle pony feel like I was sitting on a solid, stiff 2x4. It was bad.

              I know other horses who love them though. I figure there's no one solution for every human and I ask a lot of my boy (foxhunt, dressage, endurance...). I'll at least give him a vote on tack preferences.


              • #8
                The point of the clips is to hold the bit forward (from too much acting on the bars). One cannot show in them, but they really help some horses. They are difficult to fit sometimes, but generally are nice in that they remove the need for a caveson. The jaw strap should be slightly tighter, the drop noseband part has so need.
                I.D.E.A. yoda


                • #9
                  First, the leather is Indian tanned crap-strike 1
                  I am educated beyond the average joe in anatomy, and after walking through the instructions several times, I couldn't get all the parameters to fit correctly -strike 2
                  While I never got all the parts perfect, I took a picture if my horse wearing it. He made the most miserable face ever like "please mom. The experiment is over! Where's my Passier?" -strike 3

                  So it went back. I've heard there's a manufacturer in Italy that makes them out of Italian leather in many colors and sizes, but I lost the contact info a few years back. Tricky, as they don't call them micklems.
                  chaque pas est fait ensemble


                  • #10
                    Micklem bridle

                    I have been using the Micklem on several horses for many years, including a super, super fussy ancient Arabian mare. They all liked it fine but the horses finally got through to me that they did not like the chin strap, the one that goes in front of the bit. When I finally cut the chin straps off of my Micklem bridles I stopped having any problems with the horses from it.

                    None of the horses seemed to like me using the bit clips at all. I had big hopes for them but the horses made me change my mind quickly. I also had to replace the cute little bit straps with cut down flash straps so I could get the bit just resting on the corners of the horse's mouth. AND, with the multi-bridle, the leather right under the center nose ring bulged down on the horse's nose. I made two little felt pads and put one on each side of the center bulge and it does not appear to worry the horses as much.

                    After I made these changes the horses I ride like the Micklem bridle fine. I really hesistate to put any other type of bridle on them. It may look odd but as long as the horses like it I do not care.


                    • #11
                      I've been riding Wizard in a Micklem since late March, and I'm very happy with it. He is the type of horse who curls behind the bit if he's anxious or confused, and he has a very busy mouth. My best guess is that he has sensitive bars. He also HATES a flash noseband- I experimented with the flash a few times over the winter to stabilize the bit, but he was so distracted by it that he could not focus. Both the curling and the busy mouth have been helped by the Micklem. I use a French link eggbutt and the bit clips. The leather is not the nicest I've ever seen, but it takes oil well and stretches a little without being overly stretchy.

                      From what I can tell, the horses who like it really like it, and then there are horses who are "meh" about it, and then there are some who hate it.
                      Last edited by Alibhai's Alibar; May. 21, 2013, 07:43 PM. Reason: clarity
                      Sarah K. Andrew | Twitter | Instagram | Flickr | Calendar


                      • #12
                        Different strokes for different folks (err... horses!)

                        They aren't very adjustable because there aren't many pieces to work with. I've heard that people order separate crown/cheek and noseband pieces in different sizes in order to get the best fit. I think too though, that some people fit them like a regular bridle (loose throatlatch, lower noseband). I've owned and seen others with both the competition and combination bridles, and think there is a noticable difference in the quality of the leather between the two.

                        My last mare, a 15/15.1hh refined Oldenburg, had been ridden in a dropnose bridle and transitioned wonderfully and seemed to improve with the Micklem (small horse size competition bridle).

                        When I got my current horse, I rode her in a "regular" bridle with a flash noseband for a while and she didn't like it. My small horse size micklem wasn't going to fit my 16/16.1hh mare with a large head so I traded mine for a standard horse size combination bridle. She was better in the Micklem then the first bridle, but I wasn't crazy about the leather (heavier/stiffer) and it couldn't be adjusted to fit *just right*. She likes her current bridle much better- totally padded flash bridle with a slightly cutback crown.

                        A barnmate's 15.2hh horse wears a standard size competition bridle, but probably could've gone with a small horse size because its on the cusp of being too large. No real difference from when he goes in a flash bridle, but it is nice tacking him up with a bridle that is so lightweight and simple- fewer straps to be tucked into place & buckles to be done up!


                        • #13
                          My TB goes really well in his Micklem but my Arabian was completely unwilling to cooperate in it. Star gazing, hollow, tail swishy, and ears not quite pinned. Switched back to his cavesson bridle and he was much happier. It seems to totally depend on the horse.


                          • Original Poster

                            thanks for the reports!

                            First off I have to say that I ordered the competition bridle and had heard things about the leather but I have to say the leather seems incredibly good quality to me (maybe they've changed it?).

                            I do plan on trying the bridle a few more times and checking videos to make sure I have it correctly fitted. My mare is incredibly sensitive to change so it didn't suprise me that suddenly having a drop nose band made her fussy.

                            Fingers crossed it was just fitted badly and they love it cause I certainly like the look and the leather and would love for it to work!
                            I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


                            • Original Poster

                              HA! I had it fitted wrong! Rode in it yesterday and the day before with no issues YAY!
                              I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


                              • #16
                                I have been riding my PSG Hanoverian gelding in one for 2 months. He loves it! And FYI, the bit clips are illegal for showing, so I never tried them.
                                Enough with the drama!


                                • #17
                                  I just went back to a plain cavesson after a couple of months with the Micklem. It seemed good, and then the maresy's mouth evasions (opening mouth, occasionally getting her tongue over the bit, though that was harder in the Micklem) came back full force. I think she's happier back in the plain cavesson, though I'm battling my trainer a bit about not putting a flash on her.
                                  You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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


                                  • #18
                                    I got a Micklem Competition bridle last week. It is very effective for the purpose I am trying it for but the leather quality is crap...like the $50 Smartpak bridles, that cardboard leather. The keepers are too small for the strap under the mouth to fit into so it looks like crap. I sent it back, hoping the poor quality was a fluke and it will be exchanged for a non-cardboard bridle.
                                    "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"


                                    • #19
                                      I swear the quality must vary from one bridle to the next. Mine is lovely. The leather has gotten nicer daily, with each cleaning. And I am a bit of a tack snob so I don't think it's just that I have lower standards...

                                      And I've seen huge improvements in my UL horse's acceptance of the bridle and coming through. Using the Micklem has really coincided with major improvements in how he goes.


                                      • #20
                                        I have one but haven't used it on my horse yet. I tried one on a mare I had in training last summer that really went well in it, so when this one came up recently on a used tack page I snatched it up. The leather quality looks good. I do wonder if that varies a bit since there seem to be so many opposing opinions on that though - I must have gotten lucky. My advice is to get one used. If your horse doesn't like it I am sure you can sell it for what you paid for it that way - they go quick on the FB used tack groups!
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