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MY Micklem bridle experience

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  • MY Micklem bridle experience

    I thought I would do a follow up on the Micklem bridle threads with one of my own since I recently purchased one.

    I bought the original Micklem Multi-bridle from Adams Horse Supply. Dover also sells the bridle but Adams had free shipping. It comes in black or brown from what choices were available; I bought brown. It did not come with reins.

    I was expecting the bridle to be complicated to put together but I didn't have a problem with it. I just looked at the pieces and the picture and everything fits into place very intuitively. The leather is pretty good quality for a $140 bridle. I took off the set of D clips for "tongue relief" because I find them unnecessary for my horse and I also took off the D clips for the bit as I do not ride in a three-ring snaffle type bit and used the leather bit extenders instead. The "competition" model of the bridle does not come with the D clips but I would buy the "original" bridle, take off the clips, and save them because you might need them in the future.

    First time I tried the bridle on my horse, I used the medium bitless version which is the chin strap looped through the noseband which creates a noose-like effect around the nose. My guy loves going in a mechanical hackamore so I wasn't concerned about the bridle's affects on his nose. Unfortunately, I chose a very cold and windy day to hack out in the bitless bridle and so my horse was very strong and spooky. I did NOT like the bitless option because the chin strap would "pull out" on whatever rein I had to pull harder on (had some hard spooks to deal with on my ride). I do not have this problem with a normal mechanical hackamore. What I DID like is that it reminded me I get too strong with my right hand at times and need to be more cognizant of applying equal pressure to both reins. So I thought that would make the bridle a nice training tool for the rider, but it didn't do much for my horse. He was happy in it (although I could not get him to round at all and after awhile he tuned out the nose pressure) and I will probably try it again on a day when my horse isn't so jacked up and high on life.

    After the bitless bridle experiment, I installed the bit loops and tried the bit option. I did some work on the flat, jumped a small course, and rode cross country in it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this configuration because it basically turns the bridle into a much more comfortable drop noseband bridle. I broke my guy in a drop noseband and he always goes super in one, but I never liked how the drop nosebands would pinch his nostrils and pull the bit up in the corners of his mouth. This bridle does not do that as it conforms better to the horse's head shape.

    So my verdict on the bridle is: Super SUPER drop noseband bridle. If you like dropped nosebands and your horse goes well in one, you will love this one even better. However, I did not particularly like the medium bitless configuration because my horse was able to ignore the pressure and the chin strap did not stay in place. Perhaps I did not have the outer noseband tight enough but I was constantly having to adjust the chin strap and that annoyed me. It also did not encourage him to round at all. I did not try the side pull configuration because that would not offer enough control for my particular horse. I also did not try the "strong" version of the bitless configuration as the long strap is not sold in the US with the bridle due to patent issues with the Dr. Cook bridle. I would like to purchase that strap so if anyone knows where I can get it - please let me know!

    Hope this helps! Happy riding!
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