Micklem Bridle Reviews – Bitless Bridles For Horses
I am a huge fan of the Micklem bridle in all its styles. Read on for Micklem Bridle reviews from someone who actually uses it. I explain all the pros and cons for each different version honestly from a users’ perspective.
I have tried several bitless bridles for horses over the past 4 years and this is still my go to and most favourite of them all as a bitless, even as a bitted bridle they offer superior comfort for the horse in my opinion.
Micklem Bridle Reviews
The Micklem Bitless Bridle is becoming more and more popular as word gets around.
These are beautiful bridles, they are well-made and with the Multibridle able to be used bitted or bitless they are a very versatile piece of equipment.
I rode my first Standardbred almost exclusively in this bridle as a bitless once I purchased it, he loved it and so did I.
Unfortunately the Full size isn’t quite the right fit for the new boy (big boofhead that he is). It isn’t far off but ideally he would be in a Large Horse Warmblood size.
William Micklem is the creator of this bridle, you will sometimes see it referred to as the Rambo Micklem (they are the same bridle by the same company).
Mr Micklem challenged the design of existing shape and styles of bitted bridles highlighting the inherent problems with them causing damage and discomfort to the horses’ facial nerves, as well as the sensitive tissue lining the inside of the horses cheeks and mouth rubbing against the upper law molars.
All the styles of the Micklem bridle are designed to remove this pressure on the horses’ delicate cranio-facial nerves whether you have a bit in or not.
Some horses can exhibit unwanted behaviour, such as head tossing, refusing to be bridled or general lack of acceptance of the bit (tongue over the bit, fighting contact) simply through the added pressure on the bars of the mouth potentially causing pain to the horse.
Additional benefits are for horses who resist due to pain, this is frequently caused due to damaged bars of the mouth or horses that dislike too much pressure on the tongue and as a result fight the contact or get their tongue over the bit. This bridle also offers additional comfort with the wide and padded headpiece.
The image to the left shows the delicate facial structures that the Micklem bridles aim to avoid with the ergonomic style of their bridles.
All the styles have the wide and padded headpiece which helps reduce direct pressure across the narrower noseband and causes the bridle to work on a whole head action, so individual pressure is not used on any one point of the head or face.
I feel the Multibridle is one of the kindest bitless bridles available on the market today and I recommend it very highly.
The company states all of their bridles are legal for competition when worn with a bit. This gives you the added benefit of being able to train without a bit at home and then simply adding a bit to be compliant for competition without needing to change the bridle your horse is use too.
All prices shown below are in Australian dollars and the super specials are correct at time of blogging.
What makes this bridle so different?
Before jumping into the reviews, if you haven’t seen the Micklem bridle before, this video from the company explains why it is so vastly different, and superior, to any other bridle you may be using.
This bridle is available in 5 styles. The Multibridle, the Competition Bridle in Diamante or Deluxe, the Competition bridle in a high quality English leather, and the Original Competition bridle. We break down the differences for each one below so you can make the best decision for you and your horse.
The cheapest and I think the most versatile for everyday use. It has a ring on the noseband so can be used as a cavasson for in-hand work or lunging as well as ridden work.
All the bridles fit beautifully and are leather and the Multibridle will set you back around $200.
Due to the shape of the Micklem’s the Multibridle will not move during lunging or riding and certainly my horses seem to find them very comfortable.
The leather is all 5/8″ so nice and wide, again adding to the overall comfort of your horse.
The image shows the bridle being worn bitless, it is a simple matter to add additional cheek straps and bit holders on each side to add a bit. These additional pieces come with the bridle so you are not paying extra and have a bitted and bitless bridle all in one.
Adding a bit does not affect the way the bridle functions and it can be used either way with no change in comfort for your horse.
One thing to note straight up is that none of the Micklem bridles come with reins. I expect this is to save you money, so if you have a pair of perfectly good reins you are not paying for an extra set you don’t need.
If you would like to keep it all matchy matchy (like I do) the reins are sold separately.
I have found it on sale online at the Bonnets eBay store with free postage only $180 – click here to check it out.
Competition Bridle – Diamante or Deluxe
This bridle is the same great quality as the multibridle but does not have the noseband ring and looks far more elegant, and less workmanlike, perfect for the competition arena.
Neither of the competition bridles can be used bitless, only the Multibridle version offers this feature.
The Diamante version has, as you would expect, diamantes on the browband, whereas the deluxe does not.
The Deluxe has instead very elegant stitching on the browband and the noseband which is understated and in my opinion more suitable for dressage competition, but then I am a traditionalist in this regard.
Don’t get me wrong I love bling in the hack show ring but dressage competitions I feel should follow the traditions a little more closely.
If you do like to show off a bit, and you like a bit of bling, the diamante browband I think is still quite stylish, it is understated and not garish but does give that something extra.
This bridle has the additional padding across the headpiece, and the cheek pieces and noseband for added comfort for your horse.
The Competition bridle also has stainless steel buckles, and comes in black or dark havana (brown).
You pay a bit extra for the Competition bridle over the Multi, and can expect to pay around $200 – $220 for either the Diamante or the Deluxe.
English Leather Versions
The Diamante & Deluxe Competition bridles also now come in English leather.
These higher quality bridles use soft but strong leather this will last you a lifetime if well looked after.
The English leather versions are the most expensive of the Micklem range but very comparable to any top quality English leather bridle you would buy elsewhere at around $350.
They come in black or brown in the English leather version as well.
No great sale prices yet available on the English leather but I did find it in the UK with free postage worldwide for $334.52 – click here for details.
Original Competition Bridle
This bridle offers all the features of the Diamante/Deluxe Competition bridle but without any bling or stitching.
The browband and nose piece are plain leather without any adornment.
This bridle would be perfect in the hunter hack ring, as while it is plain it is still quite regal.
If you are not fussed about having sparkles or stitching, you can still give your horse all the added benefits of the ergonomic Micklem bridle, and it is a great buy at around $200.
I have found a great seller on eBay though who currently has this bridle out at a super price in Pony/Cob size for $110 – click here to check it out, they also have it in Full size at only $120 – save yourself a heap of cash and click here.
Sizing & Colours
All the Micklem bridles come in 4 sizes and either black or dark havana (brown). Although it seems the dark havana can be a little difficult to source at times, whereas black seems to be always available.
Choosing the correct size and fit is essential to using this bridle to it’s fullest and providing the most comfort for your horse. Before choosing a size check out William Micklem’s sizing guide here.
Pony – 14.5” / 37.5cm – small ponies up to 14.2hh
Small Horse (Cob)-15” / 38.5cm, recommended for 14.2hh horses with a finer head
Standard Horse (Full) 16” / 41.5cm, recommended for 14.2hh up to 16.2hh if your horse has a fine head, horses who would normally take a full bridle
Large Horse (X full) 16.5” / 42.5cm, recommended for 16.2hh, larger heads or horses who would normally take a Warmblood size bridle.
For a super comfortable everyday bridle for your horse at a great price you can’t go past the Multibridle. If you want to buy a beautiful bridle but still give your horse a try in a bitless, this will save you buying two bridles.
This is the style I have and have had for 4 years now and it still looks as good as the day I purchased it.
Initially the leather can be quite firm but it softens up easily with a bit of leather conditioner. The bridle does remain with a firm feel so that it holds its shape, but this didn’t bother my horses one bit.
For competition, the Diamante or Deluxe Competition models are FEI approved and permitted for Equestrian Australia dressage, eventing and showjumping.
Pony Club WA has also approved Micklems for rallies and competition, it is expected that other State Pony Club will also, but it would be worth checking in your State (or Country for my overseas friends).
One thing to note the bit clips (which are not essential to use the bridle bitted) are not approved for dressage competition here in Australia.
In summary, if you have a horse who you feel may have head or bitting issues it would be well worth trying this bridle. Many users’ report a big change in their horses once they swapped to a Micklem, and it is attributed to the different shape of the bridle relieving pressure points on the horses head and face.
If you have been considering trying bitless riding, or you already ride this way, then this is a stylish, functional bitless bridle that will last you for many years.
Just as an aside if you are wanting to try riding bitless check out this cool video of bareback and bridleless riding on one of my earlier blogs. It shows what can be achieved when you have a true partnership with your equine friend – no tack required!
I hope you enjoyed our Micklem Bridle Reviews and that it gave you an introduction to bitless bridles for horses. As always if you have loved this review please feel free to share it with others, and if you have any questions we’d love to help you out so pop them in the comment box below.
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