If horses were choosing a bridle, the Micklem would top their list! The Horseware Rambo Micklem Multibridle is the first bridle designed specifically to fit the shape of the horse’s skull, rather than the outside appearance of the head. It was innovatively designed from the inside out, with an understanding of equine biomechanics and mental health.
The Micklem avoids protruding and sensitive areas of the horse’s head. It features a higher noseband to avoid sensitive facial nerves and bones. A tight flash on a conventional bridle will desensitize the horse’s face, while the Micklem’s noseband sits higher to avoid this desensitizing pressure. The placement of the bottom back strap provides similar functionality to a flash noseband in a more gentle way. Similarly, the headpiece is made with thicker leather to avoid pinching the sensitive nerves at the poll. The shaped cheekpiece fits comfortably around the protruding cheekbones, avoiding unnecessary pressure.
How to Fit the Micklem
Fitting the Bit Straps
Fit the bit straps to your bit first, with the buckle on the outside and the end of the strap facing upwards, then attach to the Multibridle using the bit rings at the bottom of the cheek pieces (Figure 1). For some varieties of bits with long sides, a shorter attachment than the bit straps may be needed, in which case one of the set of clips should be used (Figure 2).
Positioning the Front Nose Piece
The key to fitting your Rambo Micklem Multibridle is to ensure that the front nosepiece is approximately 2-3 inches higher than the corners of the mouth, and about six inches above the nostrils. To confirm you have the right position, put your fingers on either side of the nose at this point, and you will be able to locate where the sensitive ends of the nose bones begin. The front nosepiece should not be below this point. Use both the cheek pieces and the bit straps or clips to fit your bit at the normal height.
Securing the Top Back Straps
The top back straps should be fastened flush with the skin, not loose like a throat latch, so that it holds the bridle in place. It should sit naturally on the cheek bones at approximately 45° to the vertical.
Securing the Bottom Back Straps
This should fit like a standard dropped noseband, underneath the bit and flush with the skin. This allows the horse freedom to open the mouth slightly. When the mouth opens, the bit will rise up, encouraging the mouth to close.
Fitting the Tongue and Bar Protector
Use the appropriate length clips to join the bit to the side rings, and you have a unique tongue and bar protection system (Figure 1). If a rider gets left behind, or a horse and rider pull against each other, the clips will shift the extra pressure to the nose, rather than onto the tongue or the very narrow bars of the mouth (Figure 3).
The bridle can be used as a classical lunge cavesson (Figure 4) by simply attaching a lunge line to the ring provided on the nose piece. When using side reins or running reins, which are relatively fixed by nature, the tongue protection system with the clips is a huge advantage.
3. Bitless Bridle
There are two alternative bitless bridles, both of which will help you avoid damage to the molar teeth caused by standard bitless bridles. They are great to use after any mouth damage such as split corners, or if your horse has grown to dislike the bit. Some may find the bitless bridle suitable for daily use.
Mild (Figure 5)
Take out the bit by undoing the bit straps or clips, and attach the reins directly to the side rings.
Medium (Figure 6)
Add the curb groove attachment by fitting it under the bottom back strap, like a curb chain. You will need to open the lower back strap of the Multibridle when doing this. Fit the lower back strap through the keeper (Figure 7) at the back of the curb groove attachment before securing this strap again. Then, bring the side straps of this attachment back through the side rings of the Multibridle, before attaching the reins to the end of these side straps.
The Micklem Multibridle is not just a bridle, a noseband, a lunge cavesson, and a bitless bridle; it’s also a halter (Figure 8). That means, you can buy just one item instead of five. When using the Multibridle as a halter, the side rings are the perfect place to attach cross ties safely.
Fitting the Halter
Just remove the bit or bitless bridle attachment, and loosen the back straps.