Olivia   September 30, 2016   38 Comments on Disappointed

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’m not sure Nilla likes her new #micklembridle #mulesofinstagram

A photo posted by Olivia @ DIY Horse Ownership (@diyhorseownership) on

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.

Broken Micklem Bridle

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:

Broken Micklem Bridle

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?

38 thoughts on “Disappointed

  1. Monica V

    I’m glad all of you find RW appealing, I just can’t. I have never been impressed with them. Though I did like that they took back the half chaps I bought from them that were literal shit even after 5 rides. But the slowness in their shipping and lack of selection is super annoying. I also have always despised those micklem bridles and now hearing that it broke like that?? GAG. Glad you got the piece replaced though!! Luckily haven’t had horrible customer service, only great CS from SP. Love them till I die.

    1. Olivia Post author

      RW has the fastest shipping for me. Free overnight just cannot be beat. It’s better than Amazon. SP is just too expensive for me, but they do have good CS.

  2. Christa R.

    I love riding warehouse! I’m always impressed with the fast shipping (and I live all the way on the east coast!) and great customer service. The only leather thing I ever tried from horseware was a breastplate years ago and it was definitely “meh” quality. I think I’ll stick with only buying their blankets from now on, especially after seeing this!

  3. Leah

    That’s super of RW to stand behind the product even though Horseware won’t…. I bought a Micklem (used) and it mostly just gathers dust in my tack room. I never saw any “majikal” improvement in my horses using it, and the leather is so gross. I should probably sell it but haven’t managed to get that far yet, haha.

  4. Megan

    it sucks that it didn’t work out for nilla (i think it can be very hit or miss for horses either loving it or it doing absolutely nothing).

    but im pretty disgusted that it broke and horseware wouldn’t do anything about it. the qualify of leather is not good either. i seriously wish my horse didn’t like it. but i guess it’s not my fault he has shit taste.

    at least riding warehouse fixed it!

    1. Olivia Post author

      I think even if it had been a magical solution to all of Nilla’s problems, I’d still be pissed about it breaking, but maybe less interested in abandoning ship completely.

  5. t

    There are a couple of these in our barn tack room, and yeah, I’m not impressed with the quality either. Glad RW at least stepped up!

  6. Heather

    Woah that’s pretty crazy! I had a horse break the cheek piece from stepping on a lunge line, but that was on one of those cheapy $40 Dover bridles and was kind of to be expected. I just really don’t love the look of a micklem and refuse to by them for that reason alone. But just based on the general quality of some of their other stuff, I guess I’m not super surprised that the quality of the bridle is less than stellar, though the price is baffling.

  7. SprinklerBandits

    That was my complaint with micklems–I took AMAZING care of two different micklems for months at a time and the crappy leather never got any better. Do they pay extra to make it that unattractive? Hard to say.

    That level of service is definitely off putting.

  8. Jenn

    I will echo what Monica said: I don’t get the overwhelming appeal of RW. Their shipping takes at least 7 days to get to me and their selection is mediocre at best. I can order from SP and will get it in no more than 48 hours. Also, their CS is hands-down the actual best. I’m an SP’er for life.

    1. Olivia Post author

      RW has 2 day shipping. SP only recently started doing the 2 day shipping, it used to take me a week to get stuff from them. Mostly I just like RW prices better. SP does have good CS.

      1. Monica V

        Nothing I have ever ordered from RW has ever gotten to me in less than 7 days even with the “2 day shipping”. Usually its 7-12….WTF?

  9. Carly

    That’s so disappointing to have them respond that way. I’ve owned my Micklem for 6+ years and never had any issues with the leather quality. I also can’t believe how much they run now! I think I bought mine for $170 or so brand new? I like RW CS a lot, but being on the opposite coast from them makes shipping snail slow, and I can never find enough to order from them to qualify for cheaper shipping.

    1. Olivia Post author

      I think the bridles have gone up over the years. I also bought the “competition” bridle which is supposed to be nicer and that’s probably part of the price difference.

  10. Stacie Seidman

    Ugh, that’s a bummer! Nice to hear that Riding Warehouse tried to make it right. I think Nilla was just letting you know she’s prefer a prettier bridle on her face 😉

  11. Stubborn Together

    I have one, of the cheaper older versions, that I don’t love but it’s been serviceable. I’ve done a lot of conditioning and cleaning and the leather has gotten better. I don’t like the way it looks though and I still don’t like the leather. A PS of Sweden dressage bridle is on my christmas list this year so I’m looking forward to switching

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