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

This is the epitome of a classic Walla Walla prison-made hitched horsehair bridle. The exceptionally wide brow band with the elegant use of orange and burgundy dyed horsehair against the black illustrates several of the identifying characteristics of Walla Walla bridles 100 years ago. This stunning piece exemplifies the superior skills of the inmate who hitched this bridle.


Horsehair Bridles

Horsehair Bridles, A Unique American Folk Art will be available December 2015 for $65 plus shipping.

Our book on the unique American folk art of hitching horsehair will finally be ready next spring. After ten years of research, we are ready to share with you the history of the development of this skill in western U.S. prisons. The book will include over 400 images of horsehair items made in the prisons, including 150 bridles.

Most of the book will focus on the beautiful and colorful bridles made of horsehair; but there are also images of hatbands, belts, quirts, canes, reatas and other miscellaneous pieces made by inmates.

Did you know?

Horsehair bridles were made in 12 different western state penitentiaries.

It took 3 to 6 months to make a hitched bridle, depending on the complexity and skill of the maker.

Hitched horsehair belts and bridles are still being made today at Deer Lodge prison and by several hitchers on the outside.

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