Saturday, 27 April 2013

New bridle

So after hearing about the Micklem bridle from someone on the forum, I did a bit of research and decided it could be good for my lot. The Indian bosal things we usually use work fine on a totally loose rein but if you need to use any pressure they tighten round the nose and the horses shake their heads so it must be uncomfortable for them. The Micklem is designed to fit the shape of the horse's skull and avoid pressure on the delicate facial nerves, which is why it looks a bit weird.

But when you look at it with the skull in mind, it makes sense

And regular brides don't. For a start, if you use a noseband, it means there's a thinner bit of leather under the headpiece just where it can dig into the poll. A regular noseband lies over the area where the nerves run along the nose. And flash/crank nosebands, especially overtightened as you often see them, mean that the horse's skin is pressed against its molar teeth.

So I put the new purchase on the boy this morning. The leather looks great quality but it's really stiff, going to need a bit of soaping I think. I did the straps at the back up loosely and he seemed OK with it all (although not thrilled at having a bit back in). So we went for a little amble and it's so far so good.
He can certainly manage to eat with it on!
I'm not a fan of any kind of "strap the mouth shut" noseband, so I was not sure about the strap under the bit, but it just seems to support the bit really, I had it on the loosest hole
You also get some plastic bit clips that can be used to attach the bit to the D rings of the chin strap and apparently lift the bit in the mouth to relieve tongue pressure.
But one of the main reasons for buying it is that you can use it as a bitless bridle. I tried it in the mildest version of the 3 available options, the sidepull and that seemed to be fine, so I'll probably use it like that most of the time.
You also get extra straps so you can use it like the bosal, crossing under the chin, or like a Dr Cook type bridle, crossing under the whole head. And the D ring at the front means you can use it as a lungeing cavesson or headcollar too. Pretty well thought out piece of kit, I'd say.

I bought the largest size though and the strap under the cheek is a bit snug, so it wouldn't be big enough for a draft horse or cob with a big roman nose. I have read that people have had problems with them being too small and I can see why!

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