BY BETSY KELLEY
Perhaps one of my favorite parts of a horse show is standing by the rail and eyeing everyone’s tack. It’s my version of a red carpet fashion show, and one of the best ways to see new gear and brands in action. It’s also a fast way to see which items seem to be working, which are fads, and which are sticking it out for the long haul. So much of riding is steeped in longstanding tradition, how could you not notice when the Rambo Micklem Bridle started to pop up? Whether you are watching the hunters, jumpers or dressage ring, this unique piece of tack is an eye catcher.
Like many horses, my mare is sensitive. I spend a lot of time looking into each piece of gear that I put on her body, from wither relief pads to padded crowns and thoughtfully curved snaffles. I have been pondering the Micklem bridle, and when I finally decided to take the plunge I was excited to see how this piece of gear could impact my ride. The quality of this bridle is outstanding, made from high quality leather with excellent craftsmanship. It comes with detailed instructions on how to fit the bridle to your horse for maximum effectiveness (If you aren’t great with written instructions, fear not! There are plenty of how-to videos available online, along with photographic instructions on the Micklem website.) I half expected my mare to be fussy with the buckles and straps in unfamiliar locations, but reality was quite the opposite. She was immediately relaxed and worked beautifully in the Micklem bridle.
From the strikingly unique shapes to the beautiful craftsmanship, every inch of this bridle is painstakingly well thought out. If you are not yet well-versed in Micklem, you can read an in-depth description of the nearly endless benefits on their website (www.williammicklem.com) or see one in person at most major tack shops. This innately cool bridle-cavesson combo bridle was conceptualized as a bridle whose purpose was not just to hold a bit in the mouth, but a completely redesigned bridle created with a horse’s unique facial structure in mind. Every bone, nerve, tooth, muscle and inch of tissue was taken into consideration, with the ultimate goal being total comfort for the horse, resulting in a “more comfortable, more humane, more effective bridle.”
I have been enamored with this piece of tack from the first time I touched the leather to the difference I saw in my mare’s attitude and comfort level. I am so pleased to see these becoming more prevalent, across a multitude of different disciplines, breeds and levels. I am a huge proponent of anything that we can do to increase the longevity of our equine athletes, a task that starts with their day-to-day comfort and safety. If the Micklem Bridle is not yet a fixture in your tack room, I highly recommend adding one.