CHUCK IRWIN & JUAN LARA
This bit features a classic Santa Barbara cheek done in the fashion of Abbey Hunt, known for its wide striped edges, hand bevels, and deep coin silver inlays finished off with teardrop beads on the cheeks. The Barqueño-style mouthpiece is 3 3/4-inches tall and incorporates a set of hand hammered rollers on the gently swept braces. The headstall was made by Juan Lara. The hand-plaited reins and romal were also made by Chuck Irwin and are natural rawhide with dark kangaroo buttons.
CHUCK IRWIN, Bitmaker and Braider, Solvang, California
Nora Wallace says, "Chuck Irwin doesn't really put in hours of intricate work on bits and spurs for the human buyers who covet his work. He does it for the horses." Chuck was born in Walnut Creek, California, and has spent most of his life in the Santa Ynez Valley. He began his career with a pair of spurs made out of necessity - he couldn't afford to buy them. Those spurs have led to a life of creative work; he has been making spurs and bits and braiding rawhide for more than 60 years.
JUAN LARA, Saddlemaker, Santa Barbara, California
Photos by Jeremiah Watt