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Micklem Bridle thoughts...

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  • Micklem Bridle thoughts...


    I was wondering your opinions/ thoughts on the micklem bridle. I have noticed a lot more horses competing in them, and I thought it was all a fad, but I'm curious to see if it might be the right bridle to try for my horse on the flat.

    When he gets nervous, he starts "butting" against the the bit. Or taking grabbing bites at the bridle and starts opening his mouth. I've noticed it more when he goes in his show bridle with has a crank noseband and flash. He does get lockjaw quite a bit- according to his chiropractor appointments. And Also, he was an old topline injury (a former owner did too much deep hyperflexion on him and popped his vertibrae out / muscle in the T- i don't recall the exact name).

    I'm thinking the crank is not for him. His schooling bridle is a regular noseband (i've misplaced the flash) and he is much more calmer in it. It is a cheap bridle (I mean cheap) so not good for shows, but was curious if this micklem bridle would be something to give a try for him for dressage work only.

    I tried a search but receive no results- could be that I'm not using the new search features on chrono very well....


  • #2
    Here is a lengthy thread discussing the Micklem.


    My horse likes it. He can be fussy with the bit and also rubs a lot in a regular bridle. It seems to help quite a bit.


    • #3
      My horse seems to go better in the Micklem as well. There have been mentions of fitting issues on some horses.
      I bought the standard sized competition bridle first and had no trouble on my horse, but then found a standard sized regular Micklem on sale and its just an inch or so short in the throat/cheek buckle.
      As an aside - does anyone know if they make extention pieces for that bridle?


      • #4
        I'll save myself some typing - I am skeptic, I hate trends, girl. Here is my review of the Micklem. It won me over: http://www.teamflyingsolo.com/2012/1...n-micklem.html
        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
        We Are Flying Solo


        • #5
          I think they're butt-ugly, but I have tried 3 horses in them and one seems to very definitely like it because it FITS him best. He has really high and pointy cheekbones so any sort of caveson was difficult to get to sit correctly. The Micklem fit him like it was made for his head.

          My other two were spectacularly indifferent to the bridle.


          I figure any piece of tack is worth trying, but IMO true miracles are as rare in the world of tack as they are anyplace else.

          I have one dedicated bit-chomper, Bonnie--her mother was THE SAME. She does it no matter what bit, noseband, lack of noseband or other apparatus we try, and has been doing it for 10 years. We let her. The happier and looser she is, the more she actually chomps the bit. When she's tense or unhappy she will OPEN her mouth, so my job is to keep her chomping and not evading. And no piece of tack can help me. I'm on my own as a rider.

          His schooling bridle is a regular noseband (i've misplaced the flash) and he is much more calmer in it.
          There's your answer. Less may be more! Flash nosebands are almost "standard issue" in the eventing world, but personally I think they're overused. Mine all go in a regular caveson, quite loose, except on my one nice show bridle which happens to have a crank but I buckle it very loosely.
          Click here before you buy.


          • #6
            LOVE them! Own three now--two for my pony and another for our driving pony that I also ride.

            My guy had always gone well in a plain cavesson but this past year, as I started asking him for more, his evasion was to open his mouth as wide as possible, stick his tongue out, and go "Neener, neener...you can't make me do anything." Gotta love 4 years olds!

            I tried a plain crank cavesson, flash, and figure 8 nosebands and he just was not happy in any of them. I dislike flashes and figures 8s because you really have to get the "top" part tight on the horses' heads to keep the nosebands from being pulled down as they try to open their mouths. My pet peeve is seeing horses in flashes so tight that you can see the skin bulging on both side of the flash--we all know we've seen it!

            So, after reading up on the Micklem, I tried one and he just LOVES it! It alleviates all the issues I had with the figures 8 pressing on the delicate structures of his face and the noseband stays in place perfectly even if you leave the lower part looser. I don't want to crank his mouth shut, just keep him from being able to evade me to such a great degree as earlier described.

            Many people ask me about them now since it's all I use to ride in for the most part and many have said they are going to try them. Even in the very "traditional" hunt field, I've gotten complements on using one (from the Master, no less).

            They can be difficult to fit to get the balance correct between the noseband height and bit height. For example, the driving pony is same size as my pony (14.2 hands) but has slightly finer head. He wears a pony size Micklem, which fit his face perfectly, but the buckle around the jaw is on the last hole. Rally wears a cob, which is fine except if I'm using a Pessoa-style bit--I have to get the bit adjustment (buckle at bottom) all the way up to the highest hole and it's still a tad loose. I can't adjust it from the cheekpiece because it would pull the noseband too far up.

            Key is to get one and try it. I believe Dover and Smartpak are both good about letting you exchange one if you need a different size.

            I'm thinking about getting Rally a traditional flat hunter bridle (going to playing around in the side saddle this summer!), and I feel confident that because I've used the Micklem, he'll go back to a plain cavesson with no issues. Also, I think the Micklems are quite attractive when fitted correctly, but I also don't mind dropped nosebands either!

            Here's a pic of us from January 6, getting ready to go out hunting using a Micklem bridle and Happy Mouth Pessoa-style bit:

            Edited to add: I had some issues with getting rubs on the corner of Rally's mouth--not sure if it's how the lower noseband interacts with the Happy Mouth bits because I don't have as much of an issue with non-Happy Mouths--so I use Vaseline on the corners of his mouth when I ride. He has very delicate skin, though. Just a heads up to keep an eye on this possibly happening.
            Last edited by KellyS; Feb. 3, 2013, 04:13 PM.


            • #7
              My trainer suggested a Micklem for my horse who wouldn't 'hold' the bit in his mouth; he was difficult to establish contact with. We use it in dressage only and it seems to keep the bit more steady in his mouth which he appreciates.


              • #8
                Dover has a try it before you buy it deal so I think I may be trying one this spring. Like wildlifer, I found myself staring at them at the Dover store and I have been curious ever since.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                  I figure any piece of tack is worth trying, but IMO true miracles are as rare in the world of tack as they are anyplace else.
                  Absolutely. I HATE flashes and generally school with no noseband at all. I hesitated to even try the Micklem because of the chin strap. But when I use it, it is very very loose and it just stabilizes the bit a little. Horse can still eat, swallow, drink, chomp, whatever. There is no miracle -- he's just a little more comfortable, a little bit softer, and to my intuitive sense, a little more relaxed. It certainly doesn't teach piaffe by osmosis, ROFL.
                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                  Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                  We Are Flying Solo


                  • #10
                    I'm wondering why you don't just use no flash, if your horse likes it better. For show, can you just take the flash OFF the show bridle? Yes, you'll have a little tab hanging off the front of the nose, but if you have something that works, why not use it?

                    That said, I have a Micklem bridle for my mare and she definitely prefers it over a flash. I'm still figuring out whether she prefers it over a plain cavesson, or no cavesson at all, which I sometimes go to when I'm not into "heavy schooling."
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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


                    • #11
                      I've thought about the Miklem bridle but am hesistant to buy another bridle. I agree about the overuse of the flash, although it is such an individual thing from horse to horse. I've got one horse who is just awful without the flash, as he bounces the bit all over the place. The flash does help to keep the bit stable in the mouth, and I use it much more for that than I do to actually keep the mouth closed. I am just unsure if the Miklem will add anything beyond a just-tight-enough flash. These testimonies are convincing... but it's almost $200 that could go elswhere... we shall see. Would love to hear if the Miklem has made a difference in dressage scores. ??


                      • #12
                        I currently ride my horse in a flash on flat and figure 8 jumping. Would love to try the micklem, just so darned expensive for my poor college kid budget.
                        The Little Man



                        • #13
                          I use a Micklem bridle quite a bit of the time. I like the way it supports the position of the bit and my horses find it comfortable.

                          I ride one horse in the sidepull configuration bitless and I like the flexibility.

                          I like the way they look, so it's not an aesthetic draw back for me.

                          For those who are concerned about the price, if you look for sales, you can buy them for less. I paid $99 for one and $110 for the second.
                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ahbaumgardner View Post
                            Would love to hear if the Miklem has made a difference in dressage scores. ??
                            I showed our driving pony in dressage shows last summer--at his first show, I used a figure 8 with Herm Sprenger WH Ultra bit; his scores were high 50s/low 60s. The rest of the shows I did with him last summer were with the same bit but the Micklem bridle--his scores were 70% or above from that point on and he showed the same tests at every show. The bridle definitely made a huge difference for him in how he went.


                            • #15
                              My boy is Mr Fussy, always has been, and he can get so distracted with chewing on his bit that he forgets that you are half-halting. Before I got him he was going in a flash bridle (after he completely evaded the bit for a round at 1m by opening his mouth, before then it was just a plain cavasson). As soon as I got him in the states I switched to a figure-8 because I prefer them over flashes and I didn't have a full flash bridle that would fit him.

                              Now he is doing dressage in a micklem bridle and his jump bridle has a figure-8. He is going quite nicely in the micklem, accepting the bit and really pushing through, even though his dressage bit really hasn't changed (loose ring single joint compared to a single jointed D and a single jointed boucher). Only reason he isn't jumping in a micklem is he is currently jumping in a rubber gag and that wouldn't work with the micklem bridle :P
                              "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline


                              • #16
                                I sold off every bridle I own except the Micklem and a couple cruddy old western headstalls (no noseband) I use for introducing babies to the bridle. My horse that would toss his head and pull away when I went to buckle the noseband and flash now stands quietly while I do up the buckles on the Micklem. I think it's kind of ugly, but it is clearly the preferred headwear, so that's what we use.


                                • #17
                                  I am becoming more and more convinced.... Thanks Kelly!

                                  Originally posted by KellyS View Post
                                  I showed our driving pony in dressage shows last summer--at his first show, I used a figure 8 with Herm Sprenger WH Ultra bit; his scores were high 50s/low 60s. The rest of the shows I did with him last summer were with the same bit but the Micklem bridle--his scores were 70% or above from that point on and he showed the same tests at every show. The bridle definitely made a huge difference for him in how he went.


                                  • #18
                                    if your at home bridle works really well for him at home, and has held up to everyday riding, why not use it to show in? No one cares if it's not fancy. Or find one in the same style to show in. I don't understand training in one bridle and showing in a completely different one. A crank with a flash is a very different bridle than a regular caveson with no flash. or just loosen the crank and ditch the flash.


                                    • #19
                                      I like the way they look!


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                                        For those who are concerned about the price, if you look for sales, you can buy them for less. I paid $99 for one and $110 for the second.
                                        You can definitely find them on sale -- I could not afford it, the only reason I got one was that I had a gift card. It actually looks quite handsome on my TB (black competition version) and he now quietly accepts his bit and bridle instead of clenching his teeth and raising his head.
                                        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                        We Are Flying Solo