Well, I’m sad to say my experiment with Horseware’s Micklem bridle has probably come to an end. I have never liked the look of these bridles, but they claim to solve a lot of the problems Nilla has (discomfort in the bridle, etc), so I figured I’d try it out. I didn’t love this bridle from the start. Now, I bought it on sale, but the MSRP for this bridle is $269. You’d think that price would get you some nice, subtle leather. It does not; it gets you stiff leather and rubber reins.I will say that the padding leather is nice, but the bridle as a whole is not amazing. I mean, my PS of Sweden Hackamore cost less and was nicer.
I mentioned in my Breaking Tack post that Nilla broke the bridle right before Stadium. She also broke the reins and I didn’t realize the bridle was broken until later because the padding didn’t break so the bridle still seemed intact.
You can see how I missed it. Especially as I was a little distracted with broken reins and broken crupper.
But once it’s not flat (like against Nilla’s face), it looks worse:
And I’m not really interested in riding in a bridle held together with just the padding.
Now, I realize that stepping on the reins isn’t exactly normal use, but the reins broke – that’s what they’re supposed to do. I’ve never had a bridle break from a horse stepping on the reins. I’ve had reins break. I had cheek pieces break when Nilla pulled back once, but those were ancient and cheap cheek pieces. This bridle had only been used 4 times. Also, the nice thing about cheek pieces is you can replace them. When I discovered the Micklem was broke, my husband commented that maybe I could replace just that piece. Well, with the way the Micklem is designed, that piece is basically half the bridle. It’s not as easy as just buying new cheek pieces.
I emailed Riding Warehouse about the break and sent them some pictures. They contacted Horseware and Horseware’s response was basically sucks to be you. They didn’t actually say that, they just told me that “this bridle did not qualify as a defective or warranty issue.”
Apparently shitty leather that breaks within 4 rides is standard issue with Horseware. And the leather is pretty crappy as I mentioned in the first paragraph. The padded parts of the bridle are nice and soft, but the part that broke and the flash and under jaw strap are pretty stiff and rough quality. Where it’s broken, I can feel that that leather is really dry and choppy.
Now, here’s where Riding Warehouse really shines. They sent me a replacement noseband. For free. On their own dime. Horseware’s response: our products are shitty and breaking is to be expected. Riding Warehouse’s response: “However, we will be happy to send a replacement nosepiece to you. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority.” This is why I buy everything I can from Riding Warehouse. Their customer service is amazing. Riding Warehouse didn’t owe me anything, but they made it right anyway. I love them. I will be their customer forever.
Horseware, however, has lost a customer. I doubt they care. They already got my money. But they won’t be getting any more of it. And I don’t think I want to continue using their crappy bridle either. I don’t know, maybe I’m just being bitter, but I wasn’t in love with the bridle before the break and now I’m even less impressed. I’m especially unimpressed with Horseware’s customer service and commitment to quality. So I don’t think I’m going to keep the Micklem.
Has anyone else had a similarly bad product experience or similarly amazing customer service experience?