Friday, January 16, 2015

Micklem Musings

I have really been wanting to try out a Micklem bridle on Maggie for a while now. I love the idea behind it - avoiding the horse's facial nerves and relieving pressure points - and I've heard lots of stories about how well some horses go in it compared to traditional bridles. I know a number of you other fellow bloggers have Micklems - I found a review by SprinklerBandits, and a review by Cob Jockey, both who say good things bout them. Plus just yesterday SprinklerBandits posted a comparison of the Micklem vs. the PS of Sweden High Jump (very timely!!!) I really like the High Jump, but I'm looking for something dressage legal, which the High Jump isn't. Sad face :(

Maggie isn't touchy about bridling, but she can be pretty mouthy while we're actually riding. She plays with the bit quite a lot sometimes and focuses more on that than on me at times. I don't really know if she's reacting to the noseband or if she might go better in a different bit (which could be a real possibility, because I really don't know much about biting), or if it's neither of those and she just likes playing with it.

A friend of mine at the barn has a Micklem for her horse and she offered for me to use it with Maggie and try it out. So before the colic episode I rode Maggie in the Micklem three times total. The first was the New Year's Day ride with the overcrowded indoor area, which I don't think is a fair test because there were so many distractions and she was a little all over the place. The second time was when we practiced striding over the single cavalletti. She went well that day. And the third time was the last time I got to ride her before her colic episode and it really wasn't very exciting so I didn't blog about it yet. Basically we were stuck trotting on a 20m circle at one end of the arena while someone else used the other end to long line a green horse. Seriously not exciting, but Maggie seemed to go fine.

All in all, I can't tell a darned thing about Maggie's bridle preference. Did she go better than in her regular flash noseband bridle? No idea. So is it worth investing in a Micklem? No idea. I do like the look of it...though I realize that should not be only thing I base my decisions on! 

I don't love the fit of Maggie's current dressage bridle (it's a Crown bridle, the Dover house brand.) The main problem being that I don't think there's enough room at the junction of the brow band and crown piece for Maggie's giant ears. I also don't like how the throat latch seems to be attached at a weird angle so that kind of curls back.

Maggie's current dressage bridle - Crown brand
It's a little hard to tell with the winter fuzzies, but I do think that the Micklem's crown piece is a much better fit. The Micklem has a wider and curved crown piece which I really like. 


Of course, it's nothing on the PS of Sweden bridles with their gorgeous anatomically fitted crowns... you guys have any more Micklem advice for me? Should I be playing with biting instead of bridling? Is there a different type of bridle I should be looking at? I do realize that nothing can substitute for good training and I'm still working and making progress on that front, but I want to make sure I have the right tools to get the job done and I want her to be as comfortable as possible!


  1. I think you can make a case that the Micklem is very flattering on some horse's heads, and that's not a bad thing! Connor's long, plain, slightly tapered head looks great in it, and horrible in a regular caveson. I also think anything designed from the ground up with the horse's anatomy in mind instead of years of tradition is a good thing. Right now we're jumping in a figure 8 and Dressaging in the Micklem.

    1. I'm jumping in a figure eight as well, and I kind of think she likes it and since it has similar action to the Micklem in places that's part of why I wanted to try the Micklem for dressage. Connr definitely looks adorable in both the Micklem and figure 8!

  2. It does flatter her well! I'd pick whatever fits around her ears the best. The Crown one doesn't seem to be ideal in that way.

  3. I think she looks cute in the micklem! Sorry no better advice from me, I'm stuck in plain huntersville.

  4. I was using a Crown too. Also had issues with someone's (giant) ears fitting comfortably. My horse definitely goes better in the Micklem. Like Jen said - it's designed to be more comfortable for the horse, and that's never a bad thing. Your horse looking good in it (she does) is icing on the cake. ;D

  5. that micklem looks great on her!! it's not my favorite bridle type (and i'm seriously not the greatest person to ask about these things) - but it really suits her from an aesthetic perspective :) the ear fitting thing looks like real enough justification, if ya need it!