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Micklem Competition Bridle

Horseware Ireland
- Item #18335

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As riders and online shoppers, we know it can be tough to buy a new bridle or pair of boots without trying them on. That's why we moved the fitting room to your living room (or barn)! From breeches to blankets, if you or your horse can try it on, you can return it, free! Just use the pre-paid return label included in your order within 60 days from the purchase date. And of course, please make sure the item is in like-new condition with original packaging (we said 'fitting room', not 'war room'!).

Why We Love This

The Bridle with an Ergonomic Design

The Micklem Competition Bridle by Horseware Ireland is designed to fit the horse's skull and prevent uncomfortable pressure points. This unique shape makes this bridle the most comfortable and effective ever designed. Available in both black and dark havana (brown). Approved for FEI competition.

Favorite Features

  • Ergonomic design to fit the shape of the horse's skull
  • 5/8" Eco-friendly with rubber reins
  • Stainless steel buckles
  • Padding on noseband, browband, and cheek pieces

Sizing It Up

Cob, Horse, Large Horse

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    SmartPak customers are some of the most conscientious animal owners around. We encourage you to share your experience with the products we sell to help fellow customers to make informed choices for their animals. We do not edit these reviews in any way - they are direct customer-to-customer communication. We do monitor reviews for positive and negative feedback, and use this feedback to improve our selection as well as sharing feedback with product manufacturers to help them improve their products. Please note that we recommend consulting your vet with serious health issues.

    Micklem Competition Bridle is rated 4.4118 out of 5 by 136.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from High quality bridle After trying my trainer's Micklem bridle on my horse (and noticing how much better he went in it), I decided to purchase my own. The bridle was a little stiff initially, but softened up after a few cleanings. Like some other posters, I did notice the brown mark it left on my horse's nose, but that seemed to decrease the more times I cleaned the bridle. My trainer and I both agree that the leather on mine is of a better quality than the leather on hers (a few years older). Definitely would recommend!
    Date published: 2014-03-15
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice bridle but runs really small I bought Cob sizes for my 2 mares that wear cob size halters but the bridles were too small.
    Date published: 2014-03-15
    Rated 3 out of 5 by from I wanted to love this bridle, but.... I love the concept, and I loved the quality of the leather and the craftmanship when I got it. But the upper backstrap is just too small! My rise is a 16.1h Selle Francais mare, not a huge head, so I bought the regular "horse" size. I watched William Micklem's YouTube video on how to fit this bridle.The cheekpieces were set on the middle holes to get the noseband at the right height, browband length was fine, the lower backstrap (chinstrap) was pretty tight on the loosest hole, and the upper backstrap was squashing her! Very hard to do up on the loosest hole. I had to use the tightest (highest) hole on the bit straps too, so no space for adjustment there - maybe because I was using a loosering snaffle, could be better with smaller bit rings. I could go up to the "large horse" size bridle, but the mare showed me she didn't care for the chinstrap anyway (by stopping to rub her mouth many times). So, a very nice bridle for the Cinderella horse that it fits!
    Date published: 2014-02-26
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice quality leather I have had this bridle for 3 months now and my horse is going so well in it. The leather is super nice and soft right out of the box. The bridle cleans very well and is getting super supple. The only thing is the sizing is a little odd, I have a TB with a small head and he fits in to the Standard horse size on all the first longest holes.
    Date published: 2014-02-25
    Rated 2 out of 5 by from watch the sizing! Love this bridle BUT be careful about sizing. I have a 16H Friesian, so thought I would need large horse, but way too big. Bought the regular horse size BUT now both of the straps will not fit. If you position this bridle the way they describe on the youtube videos, and from Micklem himself, you need a horse with a very fine head in order for the straps to fit in the proper position. I really like the bridle so am considering finding a leather smith to make longer straps.
    Date published: 2014-02-25
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice functional and pretty! My horse loves more head tossing. He is very comfortable now. Bridle madequality leather and the instructions were simple and accurate. It comes with rubber reins...I wish there was an option to exclude the reins OR an option for another type of rein as I generally prefer other types of reins.
    Date published: 2014-02-20
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice Bridle for Price I've been using this bridle for about a month. My guy seems to like it and is more comfortable. The leather good be better quality but overall I'm satisfied with the bridle.
    Date published: 2014-01-29
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from I like this bridle! I didn't buy this cause my horse haa any issues I just like the comfort aspect that the bridle offered horses.  I love the ease of putting it on.  I am 5'2 and my horse is 17 h so this is a super easy bridle.  It fits him very nicely.  I ordered a large horse and it fits.  Nice leather and a breeze to put together.  I don't know how you cannot figure it out.  I thought it was very easy.  It breaks in nicely and I don't mind the price. I notice other horses in the barn have swear marks or pressure points after work but my horse has none other then behind the ears so I believe this bridle is more comfortable for him.  I am glad treated myself to the purchase!!
    Date published: 2014-01-21
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Every horse we own loves this bridle! We bought our first Micklem years ago for my daughters horse who always seemed so fussy with her head while under tack. We read the reviews, bought a Micklem, solved our problem, and moved on. Since then, we started using the Micklem on our field hunter, who is a draft cross (the first mare was a fine-featured Appendix), because the mare had retired and that was the bridle we had. Well, he went just great in it, even with a kimberwicke bit. My daughter then started using it with her new horse (Morgan/TB), who went really nicely in it---much better than his previous bridle where he tended to do a lot of stargazing. Then one day, I trailered my mare out for a lesson and forgot her bridle. My daughter's Micklem happened to be in the trailer, so I used that in my lesson and we had the best ride ever! Those of us who have multiple riders in one household know what happened next---a Micklem war! Since we used it on 4 horses with 2 riders at that point, the Micklem was always in demand, and we never wanted to ride together anymore because we each wanted to use the Micklem. It got pretty ugly and was the source of many mother/daughter tensions in the barn. :-)I solved the problem by buying my daughter a new Micklem for Christmas this year. Our old one is the multi-purpose bridle---I don't think they even made the competition bridle yet when we bought it several years ago. We never use the lunging ring on the bridle, and my daughter does quite a bit of competing, so I thought the competition version would be perfect for her. Peace has been restored to the barn!I'm so surprised to hear reviews where people have a hard time fitting the bridle to their horses. We have the standard horse size and it fits everything in our barn, from our draftX hunter to my little Morgan mare who is almost pony sized and has a little teacup muzzle. We keep different reins attached to our bits, and then just quickly attach the bit that matches the horse we are riding to the bridle and away we go. Each animal uses a different type of bit, and they all go fine in the Micklem. In fairness, the draftx is on the next to the last hole, and my little mare is on the first hole, but it works without a problem.My daughter's new bridle, the competition version, is beautiful and came with reins. She preferred her old reins, so now the new ones are attached to my bit on the old Micklem bridle. A Micklem is a stiffer bridle---it's part of the design, and people should not expect a flimsy/supple feeling noseband. In fact, when the bridle is hanging on the hook, it completely holds it's shape and looks like it does when it's on the horse. It is incredibly easy to put on because you don't have to worry about the noseband flopping around. If you have a horse that's hard to bridle, the Micklem will solve your problem.The biggest problem you'll have with this bridle is wanting another one!
    Date published: 2014-02-13
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Short reins, but good fit I found the bridle easy enough to assemble (once I took a good look at a photo), but the leather looks as if it will crack pretty quickly, and my hands were a little black from the assembly process (leather dye).I have a 17.3 Dutch, so I ordered the large horse size - the bridle fits well (after some adjustments), but the reins are super short (I will need to buy replacement reins as these are too short to do a free walk or stretchy trot with my big guy).Overall, I am satisfied with the bridle.  I have only ridden him in it once so far, and he seems to go well with it.
    Date published: 2014-01-01
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from My horse loves it I have ridden my horse in the bridle 5 times now and she still loves it. She is lighter in the bridle and more responsive to the half halts.  The only complaint I have is that parts of the bridle is dirty or else the dye is coming off.  My hands were black when I was putting it together. No matter how much I clean it, my sponge comes out black.
    Date published: 2014-04-05
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Definitely go a size up! This is a nice bridle, but it does run really small. I think only a pony would fit the small horse. It just barley works for my 15.3 thoroughbred. I think he does enjoy this bridle. He seems more comfortable. 
    Date published: 2013-12-21
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this This is my second Micklem, but first competition version.  My mare goes in both this and a traditional hunter bridle.  She seems to like them both.  However, I think this one is a bit more comfortable.  The instructions were easy to follow and fit her well.  The leather was more supple than others we've tried and even better after a good oiling.  I love the way it looks on her and like the ergonomic design.
    Date published: 2013-12-20
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Very Smart Bridle! Even though I've bought my share of bridles, I am still looking for one that is butter soft out of the box. Even my Stübben required some conditioning to get it buttery soft. The Micklem was no exception. It wasn't super soft, but it's better than many of the cheaper bridles I've purchased. One reviewer, and I can't remember from where, described the bridle perfectly. She said something like, 'you're paying for a design, not the leather.' I thought this was a perfect explanation.QualityThe bridle is quite pretty out of the package, but I did spend some time conditioning it, especially at the bit ends. I hate those hooks; they're so hard to open and close when the leather is stiff. The padding on the crown piece and nose band is nice and feels as though it will hold up well. Over-all, the leather has a nice thickness and width. I am very satisfied with the quality and workmanship of the bridle and with some regular conditioning, I imagine it will get softer and softer.The rubber reins are nice enough, but the rubber is quite thick. I love my Passier laced reins, and I've worked hard to get them super soft and drapey, but I am trying the rubber reins for now. I may switch back. I can tell they're going to be great if I go fox hunting again, that rubber doesn't slip at all!FitSydney is quite a large boy as far as TBs go. Not that I have oodles of experience with his breed, but from what I can see and from what others tell me, he's rather large for his breed. Maybe it's the New Zealand breeding. It's not like he's a giant, but he's really thick. His head is wide and moderately long. I waffled for some time over which size bridle to order. It comes in Pony, Cob, Horse, and Large Horse. I went with the Horse size which seems to have worked out.Many reviewers complained about the jaw strap being too short; I have to agree. For the "cheek" piece, I have it set 4 holes from the top with 5 to go, but for the jaw strap it's on the very last hole. The flash's fit is similar; it's on the second to the last hole, but I am certain that will stretch.Ease of UseWhether it solves any of Sydney's tension issues or not, I still love the bridle. The design makes it super user-friendly. You simply unbuckle the jaw strap and the flash and the whole thing slides off. Putting it on is even easier. You don't have to hold the caveson open or widen the crank noseband, and there's no flash attachment to drop. And conditioning it was fast; there are fewer pieces to dissemble and clean.If you're looking at this bridle to buy, I would recommend you buy it first because you like the design, second for the quality of construction, and lastly for it's tension reducing abilities. I am glad I bought the bridle, and I think that it's a quality piece of tack for the price.
    Date published: 2014-04-05
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from My horse loves it, soft supple leather My horse loves this bridle, moves forward more easily, and quit fussing with her head.  I can't bring myself to put anything else on her.In addition to the style, I find the quality to be quite nice.  The leather is soft and supple and I had no issues with buckles or keepers, even spending 15 mins in the Wisconsin winter weather fitting it to her head.  I would recommend this bridle to anyone.
    Date published: 2013-12-20
    Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not for non-traditional breeds I bought this to try on my fjords one of which has a classic fjord head and the other with a more refined head. It did not fit either one. Also the leather was very stiff and the instructions for putting it together were difficult to understand. Do not buy this bridle if your horse has a wide jaw.
    Date published: 2013-11-26
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice quality leather / great fit I bought this bridle 6 weeks ago and overall I love it. The leather is of great quality, and the hardware is strong and you cant beat the price! Fits well as it is very adjustable. I purchased this bridle to replace a drop nose band.. looks and works much better .. My mare seems to be happy with the change 
    Date published: 2013-12-08
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Quality, Horse Loves It My smart and sensitive mare goes great in this bridle, reaching into the bit and being soft and steady in my hands.  The leather and quality are good, I found it to be quite supple right out of the box, and I was adjusting it on a cold winter morning.  I can't wait to jump her in it.I previously rode in a very nice, soft, padded bridle with a flash noseband.This bridle was worth the money.
    Date published: 2013-12-08
    Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good leather, poor manufacturing Unlike other people, I found the leather to be of fair quality. My horse went well in this bridle so I'll definitely be keeping it. The manufacturing quality isn't great. The keepers were too small for the straps they were supposed to hold, many holes weren't punched all the way through to the other side of the leather, and the browband was stitched so close to one end that it was impossible to fit the crownpiece through.For $190, I would expect better quality.
    Date published: 2013-11-09
    Rated 2 out of 5 by from High Hopes, but Disappointed After reading so many positive reviews for the Micklem Bridle on this and other websites, I decided that this bridle made perfect sense for my young OTTB with a small head. Unfortunately, I have been rather disappointed. I really, really WANT to like it, but my horse just doesn't. He becomes stiff as a board in it and won't give or flex at all. I have tried it many times (and I'm sure it's too late to return it), thinking that he would come around. But no such luck. I switch back to my traditional bridle and he is soft and supple. Grrr.
    Date published: 2013-11-05
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from The leverage I need I have one of those horses that likes to keep his nose a fraction in front of the vertical... this bridle gives me that little bit of leverage I need to get him on the bit with ease and comfort. He seems to like it better than the regular bridle with the flash.On the downside the leather is a bit hard/stiff, oil it well.
    Date published: 2013-10-18
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Micklem Bridle - A good investment I have a young OTTB that is extremely sensitive to EVERYTHING. I've been trying a number of bit/bridle/cavesson combinations on him over the past few months and never found anything that really worked consistently. He's got that OTTB habit of twisting his head and gaping his mouth. I had been reading about how well sensitive horses seem to be going in the Micklem Bridle, so finally bit the bullet and ordered one. I have to say, the change in him has been dramatic. He's no longer anxious in the bridle, he's light, and the head twist/gap mouth issue is no longer a problem. I paired this bridle with a Myler bit. He truly seems happy and comfortable with this set up. My only minor complaint is the bridle does seem to run a little bit small. He's 16 hh with an average to slightly large head and the nose band is on the first hole. I'd prefer to have a little bit more wiggle room although it is not tight on him. This has been a very good investment in our partnership and I'm glad I gave it a try. Happy horse = happy rider :)
    Date published: 2013-10-18
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE this bridle! Last winter I purchased a fixer-upper horse who had a very bad tongue problem from his former owner's heavy hands. My vet recommended trying this bridle and it took me about 9 months to get around to it and I can't believe how awesome it is! I had the tongue problem 90% contained with riding in a normal bridle with no flash (the flash makes it worse) but with this new bridle he barely ever sticks his tongue out and I have found he is lighter in the hand!
    Date published: 2013-11-02
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ideal for sensitive, thin-skinned horses I bought this bridle for my sensitive thin-skinned chestnut mare, thinking she might like it's ergonomic design and be less fussy in the bridle. She takes a very light contact on the reins and used to curl, stick out her tongue, do her giraffe neck impression, and grind her teeth in a traditional bridle. In the Micklem, she hasn't ground her teeth at all in the last few months! It hasn't miraculous cured her training & contact issues (and in fact, she still sticks her tongue out sometimes), but I've seen a huge improvement in her willingness to take up a steady contact with the bit and to stretch more consistently. I definitely recommend this bridle for sensitive horses! She has a quite refined head for a warmblood and full-size bridles are often a bit big on her. The Micklem fits well on her, though I tried it on my other full-sized mare who has a slightly longer nose, broader forehead (16" browband) and bigger check bone and I'd have to punch a hole in the cheek strap for her on the Micklem (she now wears the Harwich Crank dressage bridle which I love on her feminine face).
    Date published: 2013-10-18
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Purchase!!! This bridle is simply amazing--- I cannot say enough good things about it. For a horse that has comfort issues with the bridle it is golden. I bought the horse sized and it has fit everything from a cob sized TB head to a warmblood who wears a horse/oversized bridle. I would recommend watching the video on YouTube on fitting this bridle. The horse that primarily wears this bridle now really seems to want to seek the contact. It doesn't do anything to make the horse "go better" but simply is equipment designed to make the horse more comfortable.
    Date published: 2013-10-18
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from
    Date published: 2013-08-11
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from You Are Buying A Design First, I would like to say I am in love with this bridle. I appreciate it more than words can say. It has made my extraordinarily heavy mouthed Warmblood/TB cross into a noticeably lighter horse. By the first ride I would easily say he was improved by 30%. Now I can say he was improved by maybe 60%. The difference is night and day when I put him in this bridle (which is now his jumping bridle because I can't afford to get two Micklems) and his flatwork bridle, which is an old figure eight HDR. The bridle is accepted at USEF shows and makes your horse look quite "cool".** Putting together the bridle is going to be extremely confusing, long and frustrating. I enlisted the help of several youtube videos, the unhelpful instructions that were packaged with the product and four of my barn mates. It still took up to an hour. However, when finally put together, it is adjusted and "custom fit" to my horse's head.However, I want future buyers to know that you are buying a design, not extraordinary leather. The base leather for the crown, browband and noseband is of good quality though not superb. The straps such as the jaw straps and nose band straps are of OKAY quality and are attached to the bridle by little silver rings and pieces of nylon. My concerns are that the straps do not seem to be suppling up with good conditioning and I am worried about how long those little bits of nylon will hold up.TL;DR: If you have a big chunk of change and a heavy mouthed horse, give this bridle a try. The quality of leather is okay but the design is superb.
    Date published: 2013-10-18
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best bridle on the market I bought this bridle for my OTTB mare. It was the best investment in a bridle I have made. Not only is she softer but has she has become easier to bridle during tacking up and accepts the bit. I can't say enough good things about this bridle. Don't doubt get it!!! Don't worry if it starts off running small it will stretch. The leather quality is fantastic. I've already realized I have to get a black on for dressage!
    Date published: 2013-08-02
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Non-traditional but effective. I have a very sensitive and mare-ish gelding that is often tense. Although I must admit I am a traditionalist when it comes to tack, I figured this was worth a try. Almost immediately my horse was more relaxed in his jaw and neck and stopped chewing his rubber bits. The benefits by far out weight the non-traditional look.
    Date published: 2013-10-18
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dare to be Different! My guy is 15.2 h longish-faced friesian. While he may be a gelding, deep in his heart he thinks he is a princess about his tack. He has a thick tongue, low palate and bars the vet says are easily bruised. My vet prefers I use a large diameter bit - seriously? With that tongue? So a fortune in bits later and a grumpy horse who tries to curl and avoid, I decided to try the Micklem after reading blogs etc. I made a good decision - He felt so light in this bridle on the first ride! I ordered the "Large Horse" size to have the maximum adjustment options; the fit/assembly was easy. If you look at pictures of horses wearing this bridle, there appears to be variability where the noseband is positioned and also where the strap under the cheek ends up. What seems important to my horse is that these straps be comfortably loose. While the leather is initially rather stiff, it softened as the bridle buckles were used. Plain and cleanly made the bridle looks elegant. I will really appreciate its simple design when it comes time to clean it. One big negative commented on by other reviewers: reins. While nicely made, they are wide, heavy rubber reins that are rough and would make it difficult to let the reins slide through your fingers. I won't use them.
    Date published: 2013-12-23
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