This Santa Barbara spade bit, featuring silver inlay, engraved teardrop buttons and engraved steel, has been given a French gray coloring and an antiqued background. A set of triple slobber chains have been integrated between the cheeks along with a stirrup-type bottom clevis and handmade rein chains. The reins made by Nate Wald have a braided cowhide body and are 16-plait trenza patria (Argentine flat braid) transitioning to round braid and back to flat, with 1/32-inch natural horsehide buttons. All the loops are of trenza patria. The headstall was made by Mario Hanel with silverwork by Ernie Marsh.

ERNIE MARSH, Bitmaker, Westfall, Oregon
Ernie Marsh became interested in bit and spur making while working at the 6-Prong Ranch in south central Washington, inspired by the gear owned by the men working around him. In 1990 Ernie attended the Elmer Miller School of Bit and Spur Making, and in 1998 Ernie and his wife and partner Teresa purchased Al Tietjen’s line of stainless steel traditional bridle bits. Under the name Marsh Brothers Oregon Sliver they make traditional style bits and spurs for working cowboys and horsemen. Joining the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association as a founding member in 1998 had a profound impact on Ernie’s creative work.

NATE WALD, Rawhide Braider, Lodge Grass, Montana

MARIO HANEL, Headstall Maker, Cedarville, California

Photos by Adam Jahiel