Bridles of the Americas, Volume 1:
The Navajo and Southern Plains Indians loved the flash of silver to adorn their horses and themselves. This book
traces the evolution and use of silver bridles as well as gorgets, pectorals, hairplates and concha belts, all
of which were first obtained through trade networks, and later the Indians learned to make themselves.
The silver bridles which came to North America from Mexico with the earliest explorers, and later
military officers, were the first examples seen by Indians on the Southern Plains.
Once they obtained horses, these Indians preferred the flashy accoutrements the Spanish had used.
Southern Plains tribesmen used Mexican ring bits on their
German silver bridles, but added to them hanging elements such as chains, scalps, ribbons or flags. In this volume
are nearly 500 images of silver bridles from museums and private collections, as well as depictions
in ledger drawings and
historic photos of these bridles in use by the Plains people.
The chapter on Navajo bits and bridles by Robert Bauver is illustrated with numerous photographs of ornate silver
bridles and their details.The Navajo were the only tribe making distinctive iron bits and their own silver
bridles. The development of the Navajo individual bridle style is traced from its origins in the Southern
Plains, where the bridles were made by Mexicans.
Winfield Coleman has contributed his beautiful paintings to illustrate how the Indian horse and mounted
in full regalia. Also, he provided the illuminated initial letters for each chapter. These embellishments add to the
beauty of this book.
There will be three volumes in this series on Bridles of the Americas. The 2nd one, by Mike Cowdrey and the
Martins, will cover Beaded, Quilled and Cloth bridles, and the final volume will include South
American bridles, Cowboy bridles and Hitched Horsehair.