Q: I have seen a completely new design of bridle that, I hear, is more comfortable for the horse. Bridles have not changed for so many years so what has brought about this revolutionary new style and how does it work?
What is it?
THE Rambo Micklem Multibridle was designed by international coach William Micklem and has been causing quite a stir in the equestrian industry — from professional riders to Pony Club members — since winning the 2008 British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Innovation Award in February. It has been snapped up by suppliers in the US and is said to offer complete comfort to the horse.
How does it work?
The bridle is, essentially, three main pieces of equipment in one — a bridle (including integral noseband), a lunge cavesson and a bitless bridle (with three alternatives, mild to strong). It also features a tongue protection system and can be used as a headcollar.
The manufacturer says it is the first bridle to be designed from the shape of the horse’s skull, instead of the outward appearance of the head, thus preventing damage and discomfort to the sensitive tissues lining the cheeks, upper jaw molar teeth and the sensitive poll in particular. The tongue protection clips join the bit to the side rings reducing pressure on the tongue — which is known to cause resistance.
Who uses it?
John Ledingham, chairman of International Equestrian Federation (FEI) coaching and former show jumper, attributes the bridle’s success to William’s “understanding of equine biomechanics and mental health, and his ability to think outside the box”.
Irish event rider, Aidan Keogh uses the bridle on all his horses and it is now an essential part of his tack.
“I use it on youngsters and right up through the grades,” he says. “You can school or lunge and go straight out on a hack without having to change tack.”
He also uses it in competitions and plans to ride in the six-year-old world championships at
Le Lions d’Angers in October with it.
“In terms of comfort, the noseband is the best feature as there is no longer the constant battle on the sides of the horse’s mouth,” he says, recommending it particularly for horses being broken.
“But the combination of the bit, the tongue protection and the noseband gives a more natural feel.”
Where can I get one?
Horseware Ireland Tel: 00353 429 389000 www.horseware.com
This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (13 March, ’08)