Tom Triplett of Whitefish, Montana, used a heavy-duty headstall (shown, far left) in the 1950s and 60s when working for the US Forest Service. Horses and mules were -- and sometimes still are -- the only way to transport people and supplies into the rugged mountains around Whitefish and nearby Kalispell.
A respected teamster and horseman, Tom was inducted in 2009 into the Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame.
Tom's original headstall, its steel and sterling horseshoe buckles, and other silver trimmings were made by Tom's friend Laverne "Reddy" Clair (spelling may not be correct) about 1950-55.
Tom gave the headstall to his daughter Patti for use with her horses, but advised her to replace the old leather for safety. Patti had the buckles and loops repaired by a silversmith, and asked me to create a replica of the old headstall.
I made a preliminary tracing on paper of the original headstall, which had stretched and distorted with use and repair. I then refined the tracing into a finished pattern using a computer-aided drafting program.
The new headstall is made of dark brown bridle leather, with a full bridle leather lining. The finished thickness is a stout 10-12 ounce, but that is only 2/3 the thickness of Reddy's original headstall!
After I sent the finished headstall to Patti, she added the final touches -- small silver conchos on either side of the crown piece and silver-covered Chicago screws on the ends of the cheek pieces, all originally made by Reddy.
This particular item is a custom, one-of-a-kind project made for a past client. Custom Projects are shown for information only; they are not available for regular sale.