The Micklem Experiment – Day 1

Last week I was wondering aloud on my blog about whether something like a Micklem or Perfect Sit bridle would make Henry (aka Fussypants) happier. Fellow blogger Forging Fiction was kind enough to let me borrow her Micklem to try it out.

I put it on Henry last night and my first thought was that it was kinda cool how it was all one piece. It’s easy to put on and lays well right away. I played with it for a while trying to get it adjusted correctly… I watched a couple different videos yesterday to get an idea of what it’s supposed to look like. It seemed to me after all of my playing that there was really only one particular setting that made it sit well on his face, so I went with that.

micklem1 micklem2

He was still pretty chompy when I put it on, but as soon as I fastened all the straps he stopped. I got on and started my regular warm-up, and he admittedly seemed a little confused. He didn’t chomp on it, but he kept trying to poke his nose up and out. Then he settled and we actually had several really lovely laps both directions. I started to get my hopes up about a magical cure for the fussiness.

micklemtrot1 micklemtrot2

After our walk break I started again and there he went with the chomping, as usual. Womp womp. It was gone during the warm-up but now it was back. I will say that he always gets more tense after we trot, anticipating the canter, so I’m betting that’s why it started. He internalizes everything. I made him trot for a while, then walk again, then trot again before we cantered.

No one was around so the best I could do for video was setting my camera on a standard. It’s far enough away to where you can’t really see the chomping, unfortunately.

HenryJulyMicklem from amanda chance on Vimeo.

 

Pros:

– I think he was a little steadier in the contact?
– Down transitions were definitely better. He didn’t root against me. Guessing that’s probably because of the “flash” strap.
– He really never curled up behind the bit.

Cons:

– Still chompy, still fussy.

I’m going to try it today with the eggbutt instead of the loose ring and see if that makes any difference. Micklem experts – should I make any changes to how it’s adjusted?

23 thoughts on “The Micklem Experiment – Day 1

    1. I wish there was someone around to zoom in more/follow the horse in the frame so y’all could see it better. I do think, after going back and watching video from a few weeks ago, that he’s much steadier in the Micklem. The chomping is still there though… but probably not as marked or visible? It’s hard for me to say for sure from the one ride.

      I’ll have to bribe someone to come out and get better video.

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  1. The chomping may not be fixable. I’ve experimented with everything and Fiction still chomps. A girl out at my barn has the same problem – her horse is horribly obnoxious about it too. We’re convinced it’s just a nervous habit our horses won’t get over, ever 😦

    On the plus side, the Micklem looks nice on him!

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    1. You’re probably right. This was my attempt at figuring out once and for all if it’s discomfort or just a nervous habit. First impression makes me think the latter. But I’m going to ride in it a few more times and jump in it this weekend to see what I really think. I do like the bridle and the design and there were definitely some pro’s. It doesn’t look as bad on him as I was imagining either lol. Makes me kinda really covet the Perfect Sit even more.

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  2. Gosh I think he goes very well in it but like you say I can’t see him chomping.
    I use a Micklem on my guys and I keep the ‘flash’ strap pretty loose – if they want to chew I want to let them. I keep the ‘jowl’ strap pretty snug. You could try sitting the bit a hole higher or a hole lower in his mouth too. Easy to do with those little bit attaching straps.

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  3. The fit looks fine to me from what I can tell. I think chomping on the bit just becomes a habit for some horses and nearly impossible to break. I had one like that and the only thing that helped was putting a rubber bit in. He still chopped on it some but it wasn’t nearly as noticeable mainly because it was quieter.

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  4. I think you have the bridle adjusted well (I have one for my OTTB and one for my Arab). At a clinic that I recently attended, the clinician did suggest I raise my bit one more hole (with the bit straps and not the headstall). That might help with the chomping, but I don’t know for sure.

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  5. I love the idea behind a micklem but I can’t get on board with how they look. For some reason I just don’t like them. And my inner soft leather loving self wishes they had different quality levels avail.

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  6. You have it fit correctly, it takes a few rides for your horse to adjust to it. That being said – the chompiness is nothing to do with the bridle – it is the bit. So the bit either needs to change or where the bit hangs in the mouth needs to change. Does your horse have a small or large palet? Big or small lips? A straight bar, like the mullen mouth might be a good option to try with the Micklem.

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    1. We’ve been through a ton of bits and none of them have made much difference with his chomping. Fat, thin, single joint, double joint, mullen, copper, steel, happy mouth, etc etc. He was worse in a mullen. He’s best in the loose ring french link and eggbutt french link. That said, I tried the eggbutt with the Micklem last night and he was worse than the day before. Gonna try it with the loose ring again, then compare it to just the loose ring on a regular bridle. I’m not sure there’s really much difference for this horse.

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  7. He looks super cute!

    I have no experience with the bridle tho 🙂

    A horse at our barn grinds his teeth and it’s just a habbit so the chomping may not be fixable 😦

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  8. I’m not an expert, but I had to re-adjust my Micklem at least 2 or 3 times over the course of ~2 weeks to find the fit that Hemie really liked. Then we got steadier contact and major bit salivation.

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  9. I am a big Micklem fan, but I will say it took Connor a few rides before he got used to it. He kept trying to find ways to lay on my hands and failing. He eventually figured it out, but the first few rides felt like “up down up down up down” with his head. It does look adjusted correctly!

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