I'm a bit of a Traditionalist in many ways, and tend to have an attitude of "if it 'aint broke, don't fix it" to some extent. When we were approached with the idea to stock these bridles in store, I had been familiar with the brand but wasn't entirely convinced it was what we were needing. I haven't used a Micklem, I understand the research and $$'s thrown into making the Micklem (and PS too of course) but my horse was traveling fine in a conventional bridle, so I was a little bit of the view - why do I need to change anything? And further to that - if I was thinking that, surely other were too?!
It took me a little while to get around to trying one out. The style I chose was Jump Off Revolution which if you simplify the massive blurb on the bridle - is an anatomical flash noseband bridle with a shaped headpiece and lots of nice squishy padding for softness against the face. [apologies for the dirty rubbers... I swear I do clean my bridles! Was an impromptu shot)
The first thing I noticed was:
It was a little tricky to fit this bridle to my growing WB's large head, as she is still filling out but needs a larger bridle (in general) but smaller noseband (for the minute). However, I went with a size 3 (full) as it was quite adjustable and meant I was able to use this on a greater number of horses in the future.
The next *complication* was positioning the noseband (it wasn't really a complication, but takes some fiddling around - the bridle arrived with the cheek pieces and noseband attached the wrong way around, so I felt a bit ridiculous when I finally realised this after the first competition I used it at.... of course with people commenting on it and coming to look at it first hand!).
However, once that was resolved and the leather had softened up (it is already pretty soft, but after a few cleans they are pretty lovely!) the moulding to my mare's head was much better than in her previous bridle, and furthermore...
She stopped her head shaking.
I thought she was being a young, green, chestnut mare just wanting to take over - not wanting to come back when I went for a hold or when shortening up the distance. She would get a bit narky and shake her head from side to side, which wasn't so nice coming into a fence.
Do you think it happens with this bridle? Nope. Not once! Same bit, same riding style by me... but she has never once shaken her head against me.
This tells me of course one thing - she is happy in this style of bridle, and wasn't so happy in her other (very expensive and beautiful) French version.
I am a convert, but...
I think these bridles really are fantastic. I also ride my more competitive horse in the new HvE version (which comes with two nosebands - one rolled leather version similar to a thick rope style, and one flat leather version):
This horse had no indication of requiring a different bridle, but has since stepped up into 130cm classes happily and is a lot softer in the contact. The above photo is of the flat leather (padded) noseband on the HvE. It also has a much simpler but thick headpiece, with an air channel through the centre.
Convert, yes, but I still feel you can get exceptional results and feel from regular bridles too... These just add additional comfort for the horse, which is what I particularly like and am happy to pay for.
I have been really very surprised and happy with both of the PSoS bridles that I've tried, and know that other customers have been very impressed with the versions of dressage style bridles they've tried. The Flying Change Revolution is another beautiful bridle, with a wide, shaped noseband and anatomical headpiece. The flash noseband is removable on this bridle, which means you can have a cavesson version in two shakes of a chaff-bag.
Overall, they are very well worth trying - every bridle is different so contact us for more information on the other bridles, and look out for the new Nirak hitting Australia shortly!