Monday, June 15, 2015

Will the Real Micklem Bridle Please Stand Up?

The last 3 days have been rather interesting in my world.  On the way home from a rather intensive day trip to Oklahoma City for work on Thursday, I was perusing English Tack Trader (I was a passenger, not driving) and came across a post for a "Micklem knock off" that looked extremely similar to the bridle I received.  So I started researching Micklem copies and Micklem knock offs.  I couldn't find anything but when it drove me crazy enough to post on COTH earlier today, one of members found a few websites with similar bridles, though not advertised as Micklems.

Feeling very wary, I privately messaged a Micklem dealer through Facebook and she said based on the photos I sent her of the bridle and the lack of stamp on the crownpiece, that my bridle is in fact a copy and not an authentic Micklem.  My bridle also came with web reins and she stated that Micklems ALWAYS come with rubber reins.
"If this thing doesn't come with cookies, get it off me."

No Rambo Micklem stamp on the crownpiece

I also contacted Horseware USA to see if they would be able to tell me anything about it.  Their representative that I spoke to sent photos of my bridle to Ireland for confirmation.  Ireland responded today that in addition to no stamp on the crown (I asked if it was possibly just a manufacturing defect and if it was possible that the bridle just missed getting a stamp), they also said there were "sharp edges" and the rings used were not consistent with the Micklem bridle.

Y U no buy me real Micklem, Mom?

I'd contacted the seller on Friday to let her know what was going on and that I would wait to file a PayPal dispute until we had heard back from Ireland on the authenticity.  She said that she had ordered it from a fairly well known discount tack website (one that I've used several times with little issues) and that she had kept the rubber reins they came with and sent new web reins with the bridle.  Now that I look at the reins, they have the same rollers on the buckles that every other buckle on the bridle has.  When I spoke to her today, I let her know that Horsewear verified that the bridle was a copy.  She then asked if the bridle had worked for me and if I just wanted to receive a partial discount.  Now, I don't know about you, but if I found out a retailer had sold me a fraudulent bridle and I was about to lose almost half of what I'd paid for it, I'd be asking for it back so that I could get my own money back instead of losing the money.

Faux Micklem.

So now I don't know what to do.  The bridle seems to be of decent quality and make, and I have a pair of rubber reins on the way that someone didn't need and graciously gave to me for the cost of shipping.  I paid $170 for the bridle shipped and she is offering me a $50 refund.  I just don't know if that is enough of a break for me to justify keeping the bridle.  Someone commented on my COTH post that sometimes the copies are of better quality and if I liked it it shouldn't matter and I should keep the bridle.  I responded that had I only paid $100 or less, I probably wouldn't care one bit.  But I did pay close to full retail and it bothers me that I didn't receive what I thought I was paying for.

What do you guys think I should do?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Monsoons and Micklems

We were supposed to have gotten another show under our belts last weekend but a Thunderstorm/Monsoon last Thusday laughed in our face and effectively rained out the show.  The barn is about 25 minutes away from where I live and there were a few clouds but it was still sunshiny when I left home.  It got darker and darker on the way out to the barn and little drops of spirit crushing rain started to fall.  By the time I pulled into the driveway an all out downpour was well under way.  Since Kansas sometimes has a tendency to piss rain for about 20 minutes and then dry out a little bit, so I puttered around the barn organizing the chaos that is my stuff (I have so much horse stuff!  How does it feel like I don't have what I need all the time?!).  An hour later, the arena was flooded and there was no sign of the rain letting up so I admitted defeat and went home.

Face buried in the grass of the newly opened up pasture.

The email that the show was cancelled came about 10:30 the next morning.  At least they rescheduled it, and now we can do the other June show next weekend since they rescheduled the show to July. Just as well, I figured, considering how our last lesson went.  Chloe wasn't bad by any means, but she just came out really wound up.  Maybe it was excitement to do her job?  Either way, we had several sewing machine trot and canter steps in the warm-up and on the approach to the jumps.  We stopped and backed more than a few times.  It was a bit warmer than it has been this spring and the temps popped up to 84*.  I figured that would make Chloe more lazy than normal, but boy was I wrong!  We ended the lesson with foamy sweat and a sweat beard from Chloe working herself harder than I was asking her to do and race llama-ing around the courses.  Anyway, she got a good hose and was no worse for the wear.

Sweaty overachiever is sweaty.
Also, why does her chest look so narrow??
Sweat beard.  Because we are awesome like that.
In other news, I was perusing English Tack Exchange on Facebook the weekend before last while working up some more energy to get out to the barn and ride after work.  I came across a brand new Micklem Competition Bridle for decent price and decided I hadn't had an impulse buy in awhile, so why not?!  I contacted the seller and worked out the details. I don't think that bridle was for sale for more than 30 minutes.

Because I'm a Star Wars nerd.

I'd also been waffling back and forth between whether to get a Micklem or a PS of Sweden High Jump Revolution.  The PS Bridle is almost double the Micklem price, so I've been trying to adult and budget and save, rather than throwing handfuls of money towards Sweden and making my husband live on Top Ramen for the rest of the month.  I was getting close to having what I needed put away and the PS bridle was sold out again.  I'd also been trying to find the Micklem Deluxe Competition bridle, because fancy stitching is fancy and I like being fancy.  However, other than Dover, who wanted me to pay $25 just to ship the damn thing, no one else had a brown F/S in stock.  I even tried contacting some shops overseas just to see if they had any in stock.  Only one of the shops got back to me, located in the UK, and their batch of Deluxe Competition bridles have been on backorder since last August!
Courtesy of the Dover Catalog.  Fancy bridle is fancy!
Micklem Deluxe Competition Bridle

Anyway, the regular Micklem Competition bridle popped up and snatched it up.  It arrived last Friday and I noted that the leather wasn't as bad as I was expecting, that putting it together was about as hellish as I was expecting, and that indeed, this bridle is not super adjustable so if your horse doesn't have a Micklem shaped-head, forget about it.  I don't have any glorious Micklem pictures yet, partially because I wasn't sure it was going to fit and I still need to punch some holes in the nose strap and throat strap if I keep it.  I've been able to get 1 ride in it so far and I can't tell if I like it yet or not.  This particular bridle also came with web reins (no rubber in the web, just leather grips), which surprised me as I was expecting rubber reins and I can't decide if I hate the web reins or not.  It feels like I have a hard time holding onto them and they keep getting long.  So if I keep the bridle, I'll probably order the matching rubber reins.  I'll have photos and such soon!  And probably a post about how the hell that damn thing is supposed to fit.

And, as they say...