There is no doubt about it...we need to put our top equestrian brains together and come up with a new design for the horse's head with six main aims:


1 We need to desensitise the area around the poll.
2 Make the top jaw narrower or the bottom jaw wider so they are both the same width.
3 Move the exit point for the motor and sensory nerves that is just under the cavesson noseband.
4 Fuse and strengthen the delicate ends of the bones at the bottom of the nose where a dropped noseband is usually fitted.
5 (a) Widen the bars of the mouth which are currently shaped like a knife.
5(b) Change the shape of the lower jaw in order to create more room for the tongue.

With the power of Charles Darwin's expertise on natural selection and using selective breeding it must be possible to do all of the above in the next million years.


However in the short term I know there is an alternative solution that delivers what every rider wants...a more comfortable horse and improved results. A solution that avoids the current fashion for excessive rasping (floating) of the teeth, which actually shortens the life span of a horse. A solution which avoids the numbing of the facial nerves caused by cranked up cavesson and flash nosebands. A solution which avoids the bruising of the tissue inside the mouth under the noseband. A solution which avoids fracturing the lower nose bones with tight dropped nosebands; and a solution which will prevent excessive pressure on the tongue and bars of the mouth.

The solution is the Micklem bridle. I am embarrassed in some ways to promote it because it is my invention, but if I put my trainer's hat on I know it is simply fantastic and I need to shout this story from the roof tops because so many horses immediately go better in a Micklem bridle. It also is a way of reducing your costs because it also makes a superb lunge cavesson or bitless bridle. I have to pinch myself in the morning because it is difficult to believe that I have achieved a solution for all these bridle and noseband problems....but it's true and it will probably be the most significant achievement of my life.


With the saying 'a good idea has to give way to a better idea' echoing in my head I set out about 15 years ago with a clean sheet to see if I could come up with an improved design of bridle and noseband. The present version has now been used, tested and refined for the last eleven years. My start point was the skull of the horse, (see photos attached) which means that the The Micklem bridle is truly designed from the inside out, from the shape of the skull itself …in order to avoid pressure on the six areas which consistently cause discomfort with traditional headwear.

FIRSTLY discomfort on the poll with all the weight going on one narrow noseband strap.... This is why we have a widened and padded headpiece with no separate uncomfortable noseband strap.

SECONDLY, when looking at the skull of any horse it is obvious that the top jaw is considerably wider than the lower jaw and therefore protrudes…..this means that tight, cranked up cavesson nosebands and traditional lunge cavessons can cause huge discomfort and damage to the sensitive tissue inside the mouth, as this tissue becomes sandwiched between the outer edge of the upper jaw teeth on one side and the noseband pressing inwards on the other.... This is why we have a drop nose band shape with unique diagonal side pieces avoiding the protruding molars and without any inward pressure.

THIRDLY it is also easy to see how traditional tight flash nosebands and lunge cavessons put pressure on the main motor and sensory nerves, that exit to the outside of the skull at a point just underneath the normal position of the cavesson noseband. Apart from the discomfort this causes the horse it can also numb the nose and lips, and is often the reason horses rub their heads on a foreleg after work. Continual pressure in his area can also damage blood vessels and other tissue, leading to the creation of enlargements due to fibrous tissue.... This is why the positioning and fitting of the Micklem Multibridle completely avoids the exit point of the facial nerves and any inward pressure in this area.

FOURTHLY, when looking at the skull it is easy to see how delicate and fragile the bones are at the end of the nose, which should never be subjected to the pressure of low fitting nosebands .... This is why we have the front nose piece sitting on the nose higher than a normal dropped noseband

FIFTHLY and most importantly, when looking where the tongue and bit have to fit, at the narrow lower jaw…. and the bars of the mouth which are shaped like a knife, it is obvious why so many horses understandably object to strong pressure on the tongue and bars.... This is why we have both a tongue protection system, that takes any extra pressure on the nose, and bitless bridle options that are truly effective and wonderfully comfortable.

The photograph attached shows the skull, the different width of the jaws, the exit point of the nerves and the delicate nose bones. It also shows how the basic Micklem bridle fits. Next time I will explain about the different applications.


The bottom line is that God did not make a horse to be ridden...they just happen to be suitable for this purpose...and God did not design their head with bridles and nosebands in mind. Therefore for me it is a no brainer - instead of just accepting the limitations of modern bridle wear we have to seek new solutions and be brave enough to be different. Let's not just follow the fashion of the day. The results will reward your bravery. Happy Days. William

William Micklem

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Comment by vineyridge on November 22, 2009 at 7:29pm
I would like to talk with you about the Multi Bridle because I probably will be buying one for a young horse. Unfortunately, the message function won't work unless I "friend" you, and that seems unnecessarily intrusive. And I didn't want to bother you at home. So here I am with my question.

My young TB gelding broke his jaw when he was 2 1/2. The break included one of the two roots of the first permanent molar. I was told when it happened that the tooth would eventually have to come out, and the sooner the better. However, he's had no infection or trouble with it since the break and accompanying abscess healed. The last two vets I consulted said the operation was horrendous; that the surgeon would go in from the bottom and punch the tooth out and that the consequences might be awful for a riding horse. They suggested waiting until he actually developed problems.

So now it's time to start him, and I'm worried about the effect of bitting. With your bridle there are so many opportunities to keep pressure off his mouth that I will order one from Dover very soon. BUT where can I procure the cross under strap, perhaps as a separate purchase? I read what you wrote about Dr. Cook, and I cannot find the "strong" option on the Dover website, so the conclusion is that the multi-bridle still doesn't come with the cross under in the US thanks to his ridiculous patent.

I am assuming that this is precisely the situation that the Multi Bridle is perfect for.

If you could contact me about this, I would truly appeciate it. Thanks in Advance.
Comment by William Micklem on October 8, 2009 at 6:25am
I am so pleased but not surprised. So many horses go better in the Micklem bridle. Say hi to Eric...he is a top man and rode one of the really great 3 day horses in history - Pontoon. It sounds as though your horse needs the Small Horse size...the bridle now comes in 4 sizes. My best wishes. William
Comment by Susan Lynch Smith on October 8, 2009 at 6:14am
Hi William,

I borrowed this bridle from my coach and absolutely love it. My wee horse is much happier, no more scratching his head on his leg, less avoidance of contact, just super! I am going to buy my own but not sure of the size. My coach has the horse size bridle and to fit it I had to put it on the second to last holes on the cheek pieces. He has a very small TB head that usually fits cob or even a pony halter. Should I buy the cob size or the small horse size? I will be ordering from Dover. Many thanks for this alternative. Off to a clinic with Eric Horgan (your fellow countryman) this morning, hope he likes it as much as I do!!! I look forward to reading your reply.
Comment by William Micklem on September 23, 2009 at 4:26pm
Brendan THANK YOU...William
Comment by Brendán Gerard William Bergin on September 23, 2009 at 3:08pm
I would like to agree with William about the Micklem Multi Bridle!! I use it on everything!! Unfortunately I did not bring it with me to Australia!!! If you want what is best for your horse the multi-bridle is a superb piece of kit!!!
Comment by William Micklem on May 11, 2009 at 5:21pm
e-mail me with your
Comment by Liz Goldsmith on May 11, 2009 at 5:09pm
I have one of your bridles and am quite pleased with it. However, I have misplaced the clips that are used to attach the bit to the bridle. Where can I get another set?
Comment by William Micklem on April 27, 2009 at 12:56am
Yes we do...ask for large horse size Stacy....Thanks William
Comment by stacy smith on April 26, 2009 at 6:37pm
I'm going to your website right now!! I hope that you have draft sized ones!
Comment by William Micklem on April 6, 2009 at 2:15pm
As they say all we need is 3 things...Education, education, education...keep going Alice

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