Books on the
Art & History of Indian & Cowboy Horse Gear
By Ned & Jody Martin

Bridle book cover

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Bridle book cover
Sample page from
Horses and Bridles of the American Indians
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2012 winner of a Silver medal in the coffee table category of the Independent Publisher awards.

Independant Publisher Award Winner

Horses and Bridles of the American Indians Volume 2: Bridles of the Americas

By Mike Cowdrey and Ned and Jody Martin

In this volume, for the first time in one source, is the historical documentation showing approximately when and from where the first horses reached more than 125 tribes. Elegant, full- color maps, show this parade across the continent. The introduction of the horse changed Indian culture, and caused a revolution in lifestyle.

American Indian tribes bridled their horses in unique and beautiful ways. Their fancy beaded, quilled and cloth bridles are featured in more than 600 color photographs, paintings and historic images. Of materials taken from the depths of the sea and the bowels of the earth; from birds of the sky; plants, trees and creatures of the land; from the scalps and bodies of defeated enemies and the manes and tails of the steeds themselves, Native artisans designed myriad ways to transform the appearance of their beloved horses. Jingling with bells, wrapped in rainbows, reined and stitched with lightning, for five centuries the bridles of American Indian riders have been paraded with pride.

Mike Cowdrey, long fascinated by the beauty of American Indian arts, is the author of Arrow's Elk Society Ledger: A Southern Cheyenne Record of the 1870s, and American Indian Horse Masks. He lives in San Luis Obispo, California.


Special chapters on tribal horse culture have been contributed by Nakia Williamson Cloud, Nez Perce historian, and Paul Raczka, long associated with the Blackfoot.

Review from the Foreword:

Native people, artists, scholars, museum curators, and equestrians will certainly welcome this beautiful book, which presents a spectacular selection of historic bridles made by the quintessential "horse nations"-the Native peoples of the Plains and Plateau. Drawing on seldom-seen objects and archival materials from European and American museums as well as private collections, the authors survey regional and tribal bridle styles, noting the interplay between indigenous and Spanish ideas and the pervasive infuence of horse gear on all aspects of Native material culture.

Castle McLaughlin, Associate Curator of The Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, Harvard Univ.

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