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Micklem Bridle- A Miracle for at least one horse

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  • Micklem Bridle- A Miracle for at least one horse

    To start, I have no connection with Rambo or Micklem.

    After 10 years of posting here, I have to post a Eureka! moment in hopes that it will help someone else. I am not saying that everyone will have the same experience from the Micklem that my horse and I did, but in hopes that it will help someone, here is my story. Sorry that it is so long.

    My retired (from competition) event horse is 19. He is an OTTB that was given to a young girl after 4 years on the track. He was gelded late and a handful. I was asked to work with him. I started riding him at 6, and I bought him at 8. In all that time, he has not been soft. I could not use my back for half halts and have a conversation through the reins because he would : hide behind the contact, grab the bit and run around the ring, or lean on the bit. His head was always carried very high, and I could not get him to come over his back. Even when I would try to work him on a long rein, he would prefer to go around with his head in the air. If I got his head down, he would hide behind the contact and shut down his gait. It was as though he was stuck. I could have forward, or I could have his head down, but not both, and not his head down and nose out. I could not get him to go long and low and relaxed. He would not even put his head down and bring his back up on the lunge line (with a standard lunge caveson). I tried lots of different bits. I tried a mechanical hackamore. We used a Nathe for dressage, a Happy Mouth Pessoa for XC, and a rubber Pelham to foxhunt. Recently, I have used a three ring Stubben E-Z control for trail riding. In all the time I have had him, he was always tense. Dressage has been a frustration, and even jumping could be frustrating because I did not have a soft half halt. I felt like he was frustrated too, but that he was guarding himself against getting hurt. Try as I might to figure out how to make him comfortable, I could not.

    I always thought that there was something physical going on. I wasn’t sure if it was his mouth, his back, or his legs. I had three different dentists, and all said that he was fine. I had him massaged, and there was no difference. I had several different saddles, and many saddle fittings. Horse still would not stretch down for the contact and use his back. It was frustrating for both of us. I always had the feeling that he wanted to be good, but something hurt him. I even started Yoga. My core and position improved, I can stand on my head, but my horse still didn’t relax.
    I have ridden lots of horses over the years, and I have always been able to get the Schwung, but not on my own horse. In fact, he is my first horse, because I have always been able to catch ride. I didn’t think that it was a personality thing because he is a great guy. He lives at my house, aside from being a bit hot (he will greet me on his hind legs with a high five when dinner is late), he is great to work with. He loves fox-hunting and trail riding. We have evented for years, maxing out at Novice in part because I was scared to let him gallop, as I didn’t really have a half-halt. I could only get him back by using the bit, and when I used the bit to rate him, he shut down for the jumps.

    So I decided to try the Micklem bridle. He did not love it bitless. I put on his Nathe. He did not love it with the clips. Then I took the clips off. The horse let out a deep breath and PUT HIS HEAD DOWN. For the first time ever, he connected with the bit without pulling. I half halted with my back, and he brought his back up. OMFG. He was waiting 13 years for me to figure this out. I have ridden him three times in the Micklem. Twice in the ring with the Nathe, once on the trails in a Stubben E-Z control Pessoa. The horse is swinging though his back like he has never done. He is reaching to the contact. HE IS SOFT. What is truly amazing is that in his dotage he IS USING HIS BACK. In fact, his gaits are so big and loose now, that I need to adjust to riding him. I can sit the trot for the first time because he is giving me a place to sit!

    I cannot tell you how amazing this is. But if any of you have horses that sounds similar, that have fat tongues, low palates, and are always trying to avoid the bit and bridle hurting their mouths, try the Micklem. I wish that the Micklem had been out there when we were competing (we stopped in 2008 when his front feet could not take the concussion). However, I am just delighted to have finally figured out the problem. I thought that I was a lousy rider. I was afraid that I was making excuses, saying that he was in pain as a way to explain my inability to communicate with my horse, but there really was a physical issue. I am relieved to have figured it out. Funny, I think that he is too. I may even pull out my dressage saddle that has been in storage for over a year and try a dressage show. Who knows?

    P.S. You can see an old pic of Murphy in my profile (yes, I paid for permission to use it on the internet). That pic was taken when I used to do XC in the Pelham a bunch of years ago.
    Last edited by IFG; Jun. 20, 2011, 05:37 PM. Reason: clarification

  • #2
    Thanks for sharing! I have been considering trying a Micklem on my young horse who has a low palate and constantly wiggles the bit. He is working well but I can't help but think that he could be more comfortable in a different bridle set up.
    No Trouble
    2/2/05 - 7/29/13
    Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.


    • #3
      I have Micklems for two of my horses, and I really like them. They seem to like them, too. Glad this has worked so well for you, and I hope it does help others.
      "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


      • #4
        I think they're pretty unattractive, but in desperation to find a bridle to fit Keebler's astoundingly large and pointy cheekbones, I tried one. Lo and behold, it fits him like a custom bridle, tucking just below his Schwarzenegger-like chiseled facial features like nothing else.

        He immediately became less obsessed with rubbing his face on his foreleg every chance he got, and random head-flinging (while still there) is also much, much less frequent. Can't say it has made him any easier, but I do think it's made him more comfortable.
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          Several horses in our barn use one. I am really liking it on my new guy. Is it a miracle for us? No, but it is super helpful in keeping him steadier and preventing him pulling and rooting when he gets tired and doesn't want to hold himself up. It also prevents rubs behind his sensitive TB ears. I really like them.
          OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


          • #6
            I know several riders who have them and love them. I find that having to use the word "miracle" in the product name usually is very off-putting.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by riderboy View Post
              I know several riders who have them and love them. I find that having to use the word "miracle" in the product name usually is very off-putting.
              Sorry. For my horse, it was just that. To finally figure out what was going on with him has been totally enlightening. Is that better? For those who do not know me I am a middle-aged curmudgeonly academic medical researcher, so if I use the word "miracle" it is quite a statement.


              • #8
                I posted something similar about a week ago. Total skeptic but it is working WONDERFULLY on my very sensitive OTTB. Completely different horse than when he was in a flash.

                Obviously, it doesn't do this for every horse, but it's certainly worth a shot if you've got a sensitive or hard to fit (or both, in my case!) horse.
                Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


                • #9
                  It didn't used to be a "Miracle Bridle". It was either the Micklem MultiBridle or the Micklem Competition Bridle. I'd be put off myself by something that claims to be a miracle--because they rarely are. Now if it's the USER who claims the miracle and not the seller, I'm sold.
                  "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                  Thread killer Extraordinaire


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                    It didn't used to be a "Miracle Bridle". It was either the Micklem MultiBridle or the Micklem Competition Bridle. I'd be put off myself by something that claims to be a miracle--because they rarely are. Now if it's the USER who claims the miracle and not the seller, I'm sold.
                    Yeah, it's me. I will revise the title.


                    • #11
                      No miracle here, but I love it, and my horse seems to, too. We found our "ball of energy" in the reins just about a week ago, and while I'm not sure Micklem had anything to do with it, it was the bridle I had on!
                      --Becky in TX
                      Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
                      She who throws dirt is losing ground.


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by mjaanbutt
                        This is an updated version of the same question from me. Would you use an ordinary flash bridle for everyday riding or a Micklem Competition bridle by Horseware Ireland. I've had a hard time deciding, can anyone help me out if you've used both these bridles? Thanks again!
                        For my horse? The Micklem. In fact, I am getting ready to store all of my other bridles.


                        • #13
                          I've been considering one for my very, very fussy Arab mare. How is the sizing on these bridles? I remember from previous threads that they were not that adjustable. She generally wears a cob but does fit into some pony stuff.


                          • #14
                            The cob size fits my TB with an Arab-shaped cob-size head very well. My Appy-X with a normal horse-size head fits OK into the small/regular horse size bridle (I think there's a horse and a large horse -- so the horse size), but the large horse size was way too big. Ideally, I need to put one more hole in the "cheek" piece for him, but it fits OK as is. Weird, because he seems to have a large jaw.

                            I use the Micklem for everyday riding and showing. I sold my other bridles. I want to buy a Competition in black for my TB, though -- he has the Multi in brown. The Appy has the Competition in brown.

                            BTW, IFG, I knew what your title meant, but this one works
                            "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by IFG View Post
                              For my horse? The Micklem. In fact, I am getting ready to store all of my other bridles.
                              I have the same situation. All the bridles for my little horse that wears the Micklem are now defunct as they are too small for my other horses. Oh well, I am just happy to have found something that works so well on him!
                              Last edited by Napoles; Jul. 15, 2011, 12:19 PM.


                              • Original Poster

                                Originally posted by KarenC View Post
                                I've been considering one for my very, very fussy Arab mare. How is the sizing on these bridles? I remember from previous threads that they were not that adjustable. She generally wears a cob but does fit into some pony stuff.
                                My horse is an OTTB with QH type head. He wears a horse Browband with a cob cheek piece. The Micklem Horse fit him.


                                • #17
                                  I am thinking about investing in a Micklem for my younger jumper. I was thinking about a Kineton noseband, but it seems that the clips on the Micklem would do the same thing, for about the same price I get a whole bridle, plus all the the other benefits. My horse throws his head a bit when the jumps get bigger... he gets agressive and holding him back is hard, b/c he is also very insulted when I hold him back... I was also toying with trying a hackamore until I saw this thread and investigated. Right now he is in a 3 ring (w/ french link), with the rein on the middle ring with a figure eight noseband, also a running martingale. The Micklem seems to have the entire package. Do the clips seem to apply pressure to the nose the way a Kineton would? I am not sure it will work for him, but it seems like it might... I think more subtle, less severe would be great if it would work. Sorry for the ramble... any thoughts would be great!
                                  Impossible is nothing.


                                  • #18
                                    They definitely apply some pressure to the nose. My little horse resists that pressure quite a bit so I work him sometimes with the clips, sometimes without.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Yeah, my horse did not appreciate the clips. He was golden with no clips and the Nathe.


                                      • #20
                                        IFG - did you ever try removing the nose-band? Out of frustration, I did this with my TB today...I've been told by a few to fiddle around with his noseband, not the bit, and I was very pleased with the consistency in contact within gaits, still not there during transitions but that will come with time. Wondering how the Micklem compares with riding sans nose-band? Mine seemed to breathe a big sigh of release when I took it off...