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Looser noseband = softer in bridle??? (Micklem)

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  • Looser noseband = softer in bridle??? (Micklem)

    Just wondering if this is something anyone else has experienced.

    I ride Pie in a Micklem bridle and a french link snaffle. It has been fairly loosely adjusted. We had a horse show last Saturday... soo I decided I should tighten it up one notch to make sure he didn't do anything silly. He was so strong during his dressage tests, he broke into canter and I could barely half halt him... which is very out of character for him... usually he reverts to being tense and behind my leg at shows... not tense and pulling.

    He had a few days off, then I rode him on Tuesday with the noseband adjusted the same as at the show. (Snug, but not overly tight.) Same result - he was extremely strong in the contact. Not being naughty, just MUCH heavier than usual.

    So yesterday.. I decide to see if tightening the noseband really was the cause of this. Loosened it one hole to the normal, loose-ish setting. Bingo, he is back to being steady without pulling or getting heavy in my hands.

    This just seems odd to me, I guess it wasn't the result I was expecting. Is this specific to the Micklem bridle? Can anyone offer any insight?
    Founder & President, Dapplebay, Inc.
    Creative Director, Equestrian Culture Magazine
    Take us to print!

  • #2
    NOT TIGHT OR LOOSE

    Having worked hundreds of horses in the Micklem bridle over the past 15 years I can say with some certainty your horses' reaction is not typical but I congratulate you on experimenting and listening to your horse. There has to be a mental and/or physical reason for his reaction which almost certainly relates to past experiences.

    I normally say that both the top and bottom back straps should be flush with the shin like the contact of a gentle hand shake. They are not intended to be tight or loose. Tight and the horse will always be aware of pressure even when going well, which is both a distraction and fails to reward. Loose and the bridle will move around and not encourage the quiet acceptance of the bit and rein contact. All my young horses go in a Micklem fitted flush with the skin and I just don't get problems.
    www.WilliamMicklem.com

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    • #3
      Maybe he was frustrated because there was no 'reward' for being good?

      Jennifer
      Third Charm Event Team

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      • #4
        Originally posted by leahandpie View Post
        This just seems odd to me, I guess it wasn't the result I was expecting. Is this specific to the Micklem bridle? Can anyone offer any insight?
        I've not ridden in a Micklem bridle but have had a couple of horses get strong or upset if you tighten the noseband. I haven't tried it on my current mare...but highly suspect she is another one. So I keep the noseband loose.
        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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        • #5
          Wow! Thanks, William! I wish you would post more often on other subjects! (like the breeding of Mr. Medicott and Ringwood Magister, for one.) Thanks! (You got the word of the master there, Leahandpie!)
          Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
          Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by William Ireland View Post
            Having worked hundreds of horses in the Micklem bridle over the past 15 years I can say with some certainty your horses' reaction is not typical but I congratulate you on experimenting and listening to your horse. There has to be a mental and/or physical reason for his reaction which almost certainly relates to past experiences.

            I normally say that both the top and bottom back straps should be flush with the shin like the contact of a gentle hand shake. They are not intended to be tight or loose. Tight and the horse will always be aware of pressure even when going well, which is both a distraction and fails to reward. Loose and the bridle will move around and not encourage the quiet acceptance of the bit and rein contact. All my young horses go in a Micklem fitted flush with the skin and I just don't get problems.

            Thank you for sharing this! I have wondered what is correct, I normally wear it loose and tighten for shows since my horse opens his mouth. The micklem has brought me the best result in my horse by far. He loves his. Even go cross in snaffle with it
            Boss Mare Eventing Blog
            https://www.youtube.com/user/jealoushe

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            • #7
              Trainers often tell me to "tighten that noseband!" but I tend to like it snug but not tight--and my horse seems to as well.
              --Becky in TX
              Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
              She who throws dirt is losing ground.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                William, thank you so much for posting!! I absolutely love this bridle... it has solved Pie's issue with bridle rubs. A normal snaffle bridle rubs him terribly, no matter how it is adjusted. The Micklem has been a perfect solution because it avoids the exact area that he was getting rubbed.

                I'm sure you are correct~ it must bring back an experience for him when the noseband is adjusted too tightly. Just an interesting thing to find out about him. He has a bit of an uncertain past.

                Thanks so much for the feedback!
                Founder & President, Dapplebay, Inc.
                Creative Director, Equestrian Culture Magazine
                Take us to print!

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                  I've not ridden in a Micklem bridle but have had a couple of horses get strong or upset if you tighten the noseband. I haven't tried it on my current mare...but highly suspect she is another one. So I keep the noseband loose.
                  Good to know! Seems Pie is another to join the club!
                  Founder & President, Dapplebay, Inc.
                  Creative Director, Equestrian Culture Magazine
                  Take us to print!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For what it's worth, the horse I'm riding (not in a Mickelhem BTW) will "feel" very soft and relaxed when the noseband is loose but he's going around with his mouth just slightly opened and sucking on his tounge. He's been with the same very experienced owner for years and she said he's always done it.

                    Earlier this week his owner told me I should tighten it up - He immediately became tense and rushy. We eventually worked through it, but it made me realize that he'd always been a little resistant in his jaw/tounge and once I took that option away, he moved to more overt resistance.
                    The rebel in the grey shirt

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                      I've not ridden in a Micklem bridle but have had a couple of horses get strong or upset if you tighten the noseband. I haven't tried it on my current mare...but highly suspect she is another one. So I keep the noseband loose.
                      For a while, I had an issue with my mare being strong and rushing to jumps. I thought it was a training issue, but never made much progress working through it. Different bits didn't make a difference. She went in a figure-8 for schooling (and showing jumpers).

                      And then one day following a (hunter) show, I realized I'd forgotten my figure-8 bridle at home, so I rode her in her show bridle (no figure-8 or flash). I had a completely different horse. The mare has not been in a figure-8 since, and I still have a different horse.
                      If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                      Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous

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                      • #12
                        The less gear I strap on Bonnie's head, the happier she gets. She has been a chewer of bits since day one, just like her mother, but no manner of hardware makes her stop, and when I eventually just learned to live with it and quit putting flashes, cranks, etc. on her she became much happier, chewing all the while.

                        I don't use a Micklem other than on Keebler (sorry, just don't care for the look of them) because I've never noticed a difference in any of mine when wearing one, except for Keebler because he has HUGE, jutting cheekbones and the Micklem fits him better on that part of his face.
                        Click here before you buy.

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