The Micklem bridle was designed “from the inside out”, from the shape of the skull itself. The reason for the design is to avoid any pressure of the facial nerves and discomfort on a horses face. It avoids the projecting cheek bones and the upper jaw molar teeth making it more comfortable for the horse.
The Micklem bridle avoids the sed, both facial nerves and the sensitive tissues lining the cheeks inside the mouth.The key motive for this is clear to see when looking at the skull of a horse as top jaw is much wider than the lower jaw.
Therefore, with a conventional bridle, the inside of the cheeks are squashed, bruised and torn between the outer edge of the upper jaw teeth on one side and the flash noseband or bitless bridle pressing inwards on the other side.
The Miclem also avoids pressure on the delicate and fragile bones at the end of the nose which can break easily with a tight bridle.
It also provides a good solution for horses who tend to resist a lot due to pain around the commonly damaged bars of the mouth, or simple dislike too much pressure on the tongue.
In addition to that, the weight of the bridle is taken comfortably on a wide and padded headpiece, rather than having all the weight on one narrow noseband strap.
I have been using the Micklem bridle for approximately 6 months on Tofino. As I mentioned in my earlier bridle post, Tofino hates the normal noseband/flash bridle and prefers the grackle. I first ordered a Cob size, which Tofino usually is in all halters and bridles, however, the bridle turned out too small to even close the strap around his jaw. I ended up exchanging it to a horse size and still, i can only use the first hole on the chin strap, but i wouldn’t get any bigger as he has a short face. So i would suggest buying a size up.
When i first tried the Micklem Competition bridle on him, he kept raising his head too high, i am not sure whether that was because he was not used to the feel or simply because the Micklem is similar to a drop noseband, but not too low.
After a couple of rides he got used to the feel and lowered his head down the same way he would do so with a grackle.
Personally, i don’t see a big difference when using the Micklem to using the grackle, however, i still use it as it is after all designed from the inside out of a horses skull, and therefore, even if i don’t feel much of a difference, i am sure it still does it’s job by avoiding main nerves and fragile areas on a horses face.
Here are a few shots of Tofino with his Micklem (click to enlarge):
Now i must admit, it is not very flattering on his face, nonetheless, you can see in the first picture the veins that go through a horses face and how the Micklem avoids them.
The bridle does come with bit clips which avoid added pressure on the tongue. I did try them but Tofino absolutely refused to go on the bit. Maybe because he likes to chew and play with his rubber bit.
The bridle is very padded and comes in good quality leather. It also avoids pressure behind the ears as can be seen in the pictures below (click to enlarge):
The Micklem competition bridle CAN be used bitless but with very low control, which i have yet to try. The multibridle has 3 setting options for bitless and can be used as a lunging cavesson. Only the competition bridle is certified to be used in competitions and come with thick rubber reins. I did find that the reins were too heavy and wide for my liking, and therefore i stuck with my brown Decathlon Romeo Grip reins instead.
- Avoids facial pressures
- Avoids poll pressure
- Nice leather
- Bitless option
- Tongue clip protection
- Perfect shade of brown with SILVER hardware (i love silver hardware)
- Heavy, thick reins
- Only one bitless option (competition bridle)
- Not very flattering
- Must size up to normal bridle size
- Would be nice to have a brow band design
- Chin strap too short + fits weirdly for big jawed horses
Do i regret buying it? NO
I am glad i brought the micklem bridle as i strongly believe in keeping my horse as comfortable as possible while i am as safe as possible. So this is a good compromise.