This Santa Barbara spade bit incorporates a 4-inch spade mouth. Mark chose to use a classic split-ear headstall and added ornate silver sterling bit connectors, buckles and card suits. The traditional two-tone reins and romal set were made by braider Nate Wald with bodies of natural horsehide and buttons in black walnut-dyed calf hide.

MARK DAHL, Bitmaker, Starr Valley, Nevada
Mark Dahl grew up in a ranching family in northeastern Nevada’s Starr Valley, where he continues to live and work. He is largely self-taught, learning metalwork and silverwork through trial and error and by studying the traditional gear of the Californios and buckaroos of the region. Mark believes that silver mounted bits and spurs should appeal to as many of the senses as possible. “They need to be pleasing to the eye and smooth to the touch. The cricket of the bit and the rowels in the spurs should sound good. Although bits and spurs can be beautiful works of art, more importantly they need to be functional,” he explains. Mark is a founding member of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association. Braider Nate Wald is also a member of the TCAA.

NATE WALD, Rawhide Braider, Lodge Grass, Montana

Photos by Adam Jahiel