February 17, 2020

Bridles: Episode V - The Micklem Strikes Back

Surprise!  We're back in a Micklem:

Don't look so excited, Connor.  Still playing with fit - it's sitting a little low in the noseband for my tastes, but fits well everywhere else.  Work in progress.

Back in December, before we knew it was back pain causing Connor's reluctance under saddle, CGP suggested changing things up with the bridle and bit scenario.  Jan happened to have her old Micklem in her trailer, which definitely does not fit her new gigantasaurus, so she let me borrow it temporarily.

My friend that built this barn came back to visit!

You may remember we had a Micklem years ago.  That one was small horse/cob sized, and I got rid of it when I realized it was exerting too much poll pressure on Connor when appropriately adjusted everywhere else.  It's the one bad thing about these bridles, they either fit or they don't fit at all, there is no in-between.

July of 2013

The one Jan is letting me borrow is standard horse sized, and although we're on the top hole on the chin strap, it fits a lot better over his head.  And you know who is happy?

To be clear, lots going on in this photo, but it's a Happy Horse

I've noticed in the past that this horse seems to be happiest with a strap to stabilize the bit (NOT to keep his mouth closed!), and I don't know why I didn't follow my own advice sooner.  He IS happier with the Micklem, which I've now been riding in since early January.

I'm not saying it's magically fixed his problems, but he's steadier in the contact with it, and hasn't tried to get his tongue over since I put him back in it.  That problem is caused by more than just the bridle, to be sure, but I'm not messing with success regardless.

Is it great leather?  No.  Is it trendy?  Not anymore.  Is it as beautiful as my Schockemohle?  Not even close.  Is my horse happy?  Yes, and that's all that matters. 

On that note, is anyone looking to sell a brown standard horse sized Micklem?  In the six hours since I posted this another blogger has already sold me one, you guys are the best!


  1. I've noticed the same thing - some horses really seem to like the stability that a Micklem provides, even if you leave the strap super loose. Also the way the bridle is designed, it works for weirdly-shaped snoots (ahemIberianahem). That said, Taran HATED the Micklem, so it really is a matter of finding the right bridle for the right horse! Glad Connor is happy with his!

    1. Agree with all of this. I think not only does it work for weirdly shaped snoots, it's even flattering on some of them, at least on my long, plain, horse-headed pony. This is the first time I've ridden in a non-jointed bit with the Micklem, and with that enormous amount of stability, Connor is happier than I've seen him in a long time.

  2. I find it really interesting that Connor fits in the regular horse size Micklem because my mare (when she was ridable) who normally would be in a cob size bridle went really well in the horse size Micklem. It also was a bit long on the nose but everything else was perfect. I only put the horse one on her b/c It was the size I could get my hands on without having to buy one. Glad Connor is going well in his new bridle!

    1. Interesting! Yeah, I don't think their sizing directly correlates to normal bridle sizing (not that there's a lot of standardization there anyway). Connor is horse to oversize in the crown, horse browband, cob cheeks and cob diameter noseband, depending on where the straps are sewn on. And then horse in this! Top holes on some things, but oh well.

  3. I've not been brave enough to buy one and there's none around here to borrow (at least from the people I know). I often wonder if Carmen would prefer the stability with the bit. Knowing her it would be either a love or hate thing. But her head is not a standard size/shape so fitting might be a problem.

  4. Its nice that you were able to borrow one from Jan and you found one so quickly for Connor!

  5. I don't love the looks of the Micklem (in fact I very much dislike them) but Levi seems to really like it. I originally bought it for Nilla since she was so incredibly fussy about the bit, but she never cared for it. I started to type that Eugene doesn't care, but come to think of it he's never worn the Micklem. Maybe we should try it some time.