Ergonomic Tack - English Bridles? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-10-2019, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Ergonomic Tack - English Bridles?

Hey everyone! I'm thinking about buying an ergonomic bridle, such as the Rambo Micklem.


The arguments made in favor of this bridle seem positive and sound. But it's one thing to read about it, and another to hear from those who have tried it. Anyone noticed any positive changes in a horse wearing an ergonomic bridle? Any recommendations for brand/model? Any information is helpful. Thanks!

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Last edited by Feathers7; 11-10-2019 at 06:44 PM. Reason: Clarification
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-10-2019, 08:23 PM
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Or you could just ride western, ride without a cavesson, or ride with a looser cavesson. But I understand if you show or something, that is not a really an option......at least not the first two. Maybe the third would be.

I ride western and have never used one, so I probably shouldn't even be commenting. But all the while I was watching that I was thinking the problem is people like to clamp the mouth shut with the cavesson, not really the cavesson itself.

This does look like a more humane option for riding with a tighter cavesson. But if a person doesn't use the cavesson to clamp the mouth shut, I can't see it making a big difference to the horse. I don't think the poll gets much (or any) pressure in a snaffle bit (but it would in a leverage bit). And the extra little brace attaching the snaffle to the cavesson is interesting. It's almost making it a combination bridle.......giving a bit of nose pressure. Hmm.

One a side note though, I sometimes get the urge to try out new bits and tack. So sometimes if I can afford it, I will buy something just to try it. So if that's how you feel and it's in your budget, why not? I don't think there is anything wrong with their logic, only that people ride with a cavesson way too tight if their poor horse's mouth is going numb.

Oh, the comment in the video about horse's rubbing their mouth on their leg because of the cavesson on the facial nerve.......while it could be true, I have some doubts. My trail horses do that all the time (loose bridle, little contact, no cavesson). I take it to mean they are sweaty and have an itch.

There's a lot of stupid out there!
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-10-2019, 11:57 PM
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I tend to agree , about the tightness of how the bridle is put on being more important, and that horses without a caveson love to rub their faces after a ride, too..


Is your horse having trouble? or are you just curious and have extra cash?
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-11-2019, 02:59 AM Thread Starter
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In general, tack ideas that promote the horse's freedom of movement and comfort always interest me. But there are a lot of commercial gimmicks out there, some of which claim to fix problem that are actually uncommon or not real. That's mainly why I'm inquiring. I know that I'll get honest answers here and I appreciate that.

@trailhorserider I'm glad you did comment! I'm not really interested in riding with a tight caveson - did I miss something about that bridle? I thought the intention was to dissipate pressure, bypass sensitive pressure points, and overall lessen discomfort. Anyhow, I ride both Western and English, and I haven't used my bridle with the caveson for a long time. I use a level 1 Myler D-ring bit, but she does fine bitless too. So, yes, sticking with that setup would be the simplest answer, lol. However, I might start showing at some point down the road, and I believe in practicing in the same gear I'll be showing in. If we must have a caveson it might as well be comfy. I heard about ergonomic bridles, found that info, and thought I'd post here to see what everyone thinks of this.

@tinyliny Just curious for now. But even if my mare never has a negative reaction to a caveson, some horses put up with a lot without showing much for it. But she's usually not quiet about that sort of thing. Bridles that claim to be 'ergonomic' are expensive. I realize that. That makes it more important to ask if they're worthwhile and whether the claims presented are true. I'm frugal up to the point of being a conscientious horse owner.
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-11-2019, 09:01 AM
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A bridle that is fit correctly does not hinder a horses natural head carriage nor way of doing anything.
A caveson fit and adjusted does not impede a head nor stop breathing as needed by the animal.
That is true though for all tack, not just bridles.
Well fitting tack, all equipment is a compliment to the animal not a deterrent.

I think, no I know there is a lot of gimmicks today in the equestrian world...
Called marketing, advertising, endorsements and story-line given to separate a fool from their money is what my grandparents would of said.
There is also the "fad and fashion" trend that makes many jump on the band-wagon and buy because so-and-so has so I must now get...
See it in saddles, rider apparel, bridles, bits...just everything regardless of discipline.
Even food and supplements fed are often marketing strategy...
Somethings are improvements, but most are a glorified new name for same merchandise.

I personally am a tough sell...don't buy into the hype, marketing and advertising gimmick.
For me to buy that bridle you would have to prove to me there is a marked improvement in my horses way of going that I can see, feel and watch a change take place under the exact same riding conditions with only a headstall change occur to part my $$ from my pocket.
...
jmo...
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-11-2019, 04:00 PM
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personally i found that the micklem bridle never really worked for my horses and me, only when going bitless haha. but when it comes to ergonamic bridles i find that the noseband does not really effected the way my horse moved, held the bit or framed up.

however anatomical headpieces are a Must for all my bridles because the pressure off the poll as well as the freedom for the ears, the small divits and larger crown piece really help my horse relax his head and be more responsive to the leg because he is not focusing on the bridle.

the fit of the bridle is also important, things like looser cheekpieces (see
for a good fitting bit), a looser noseband and no flash noseband.

I personally don't like flash's thats why i didn't really like the micklem so i use a regular french noseband bridle with an anatomical headpiece.
good anatomical, quality bridles for a reasonable price is PS of Sweden bridles.

hope this helps!
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post #7 of 16 Old 11-11-2019, 05:02 PM
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I see those types of bridles as excellent marketing gimmicks. If you don't need to tighten your noseband excessively, I don't see any issue with a normal one.

I had someone explain the bridle types to me as a belt vs a harness. If I need something to hold my pants up, I can use a normal belt adjusted properly without physical discomfort. However, if I am going to rock climb, I want something tight enough that there is no way it can slip off. If I tighten a normal belt to that point, its going to be pretty uncomfortable. However, if I change the belt to a climbing harness, snugging that down is much more pleasant.

In the above example I need a very tight thing around my body because nobody wants to fall to their death. I would question, however, why a horse needs a noseband so tight that a traditional one won't work..
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-11-2019, 05:03 PM
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I don't know if I would call PS of Sweden affordable. I have two kinds of anatomical bridles a micklem and a PS knock off. I like them both. Keep in mind I don't fasten anything tight, not flashes, not nosebands. For my horse an anatomical bridle makes 0 difference. Though I know for others using the Micklem has been night and day for a fussy horse. I've read that a noseband and a flash is simply an unstable figure eight and can be quite restraining to the horse. Certainly the horses I've met haven't been very pleased with the traditional noseband set up. They do seem to like the higher jaw strap and the flash attachment on the Micklem and the PS that I have hasn't seemed to upset anyone (I'm not keen on flashes as a rule). I will say I adore the minimalism in the Micklem. Just two buckles, and less hassle to get on the face, whereas with a traditional bridle for the same effect you have an extra buckle and you have to lift the noseband and chance getting a strap in horse dearest's eye. In winter the reduced buckle number is a great boon to cold fingers.
No bridle is a substitute for good training. But sometimes it's nice to buy beautiful tack and getting something ergonomic for a fussy horse sometimes is a little bit of a leg up.
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-11-2019, 06:35 PM
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A good friend with a picky TB mare has a Micklem. Her mare prefers a loose flash to stabilize the bit, but she also wasn't a fan of the traditional noseband even if it was loose. She was given a Micklem as a gift and her horse goes very nicely it in compared to 'regular' bridles. However, she rides a lot of horses and says that it makes zero difference on every other horse she's ridden with it, so unless you can try one first, it's probably not worth the cost.
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post #10 of 16 Old 11-11-2019, 07:08 PM
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To me, this just looks another rendition of a Figure-8 ...
Ergonomic Tack - English Bridles?-img_20190712_185237_1573506179406.jpg
The similarities are just to convenient when I look at it...
A proper Figure-8 offers relief and support, subtle pressure...
Without the hype and name it is also a fraction of the cost.

The wider poll strap padded and larger ear browband...well, that is just having the bridle fit the horses skull properly.
These options already been on the market for more than 20 years.

Just like you can shop better quality bridle pieces in several lengths...
I'm still just not seeing it, the price to pay for the hype name.
I guess I just don't get it about the buckles either...still see 3 straps needing buckled.
Cold fingers...I do understand.
...
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