BRUCE HAENER, RON BUTLER & BRUCE SANDIFER
This Santa Barbara spade bit is 4 3/8-inches tall, and crafted in the style of legendary makers Mardueño and Espinoza of Santa Barbara. The Spanish spade mouth measures 5 1/8-inches wide, while the Santa Barbara cheeks measure 7 3/4-inches, and incorporate coin silver inlays just as the earliest Californio bits did. This bit has a stirrup-style clevis and a triple slobber chain bottom on the cheeks. The classic California headstall, with leatherwork by Ron Butler, features pinned-on buttons around stampwork conchos made by Bruce Haener. The reins and romal are Santa Ynez-style with a rawhide body using braided calf leather dress knots, all of which were made by Bruce Sandifer.
BRUCE ALAN HAENER, Bitmaker, Los Osos, California
Bitmaker Bruce Alan Haener started attending the vaquero show at Santa Paula in the early 1980s and began buying old pieces that needed work. After years of getting bits repaired by others, he started repairing on his own and making new pieces.
RON BUTLER, Headstall Maker, Moccasin, California
Headstall maker Ron Butler learned saddlemaking in his 20s and was greatly influenced by Forrest Shoup. Ron now runs a saddle shop and cattle ranch in California.
BRUCE SANDIFER, Rawhide Braider, Santa Barbara, California
Braider Bruce Sandifer was raised around Avon, Montana, and now raises bridle horses and teaches hackamore and spade horsemanship.
Photos by Adam Jahiel