I am very particular about tack. Right now, we have three bridles that we use in the rescue... two bridles are Micklem Bridles and the other is just a plain bridle. Ideally, I would have a bridle for each horse so there is no resizing on the fly. Micklems are a little more difficult to resize... but I love them.
What is so different about a Micklem? It's all about the pressure points. It takes pressure off the sensitive parts of the nose while giving you more control of the horse. The bridle padding over the poll is wider than a typical bridle which helps distribute the weight better and relieve pressure. It does not prohibit the nose expanding during heavy work like a drop nose band or figure-8. The horses really love it! To help distribute the weight across the poll even more, we put a BeneFab Therapeutic Poll Pad (click on the name to order) on the bridle. This pad is super soft and cushy and increases circulation in the poll area with magnetic and ceramic therapy. It seems that a lot of horses that come into the rescue have sensitive polls, so the more we can do to make the horse comfortable, the better for the horse.
For the most part, Thoroughbreds have sensitive mouths. Right now, we have a Happy Mouth French Link D-ring, a Copper French Link D-ring, and a Hard Rubber French Link Loose Ring. We have a horse in the rescue right now that has an old scar on the side of his mouth. Who knows how it got there, but I don't want to irritate him with anything hard. He uses the Happy Mouth, but I feel like I can find something better for him. His mouth is like butter. So I did some searching and found a Loose Ring Flexible Mullen Bit by Bombers Bits. It has a stainless steel chain on the inside covered with flexible PVC. It is great for young horses or horses with sensitive mouths since it is so soft and forgiving. It is also good for horses that chew or grind their teeth or are sensitive to metals. I am super excited to try it! I also bought a Soft Rubber Mullen Mouth to try as well. It has no metal running through it and is also very flexible. I will keep you posted to see how he does with his new bit.
We really work with the horse to make sure they are happy. From our saddles (another post, I promise), to the saddle pads, to the girths, to the bridles. We want to give our Thoroughbreds every opportunity to succeed in their new job.