Sunday, November 7, 2010

Native American tack

All of today's pictures were taken at Brian Lebel's Cody Old West Show and Auction which was held last June at the Denver Merchandise Mart Expo in Denver, Colorado.  I'm not sure why I didn't post these sooner, but they shouldn't be any less interesting now than they would have been five months ago!

First up is this beautiful Blackfeet pad saddle which was priced at $12,500.
A Navajo saddle.
Another Navajo saddle.  This one was not for sale.  It was part of a bookseller's display.
Another view.  I wish I'd have had enough money to buy the book!
Last but not least is this Plains Indian frame saddle.  This is probably the most common Native American saddle type in the model horse hobby.
Close up of the seat cover.
Stirrups and cinch.
On to the bridles!
There were four separate silver decorated Navajo bridles in the auction. This one was the oldest.
 Here's the next one.  
 Detail of the brow.  
 Bridle three.  This one is from the 1920's.
These first three bridles are all missing the crescent shaped pendant or "naja" which should be attached to the center of the browband.
Cheek detail.  Most hobbyists are familiar with the beaded and quilled Plains bridles, but these silver Navajo bridles are lovely in their own right.
 Bridle number four.  This one has both silver and turquoise decorations...
 and a naja!
Last picture--this beautiful beaded martingale was priced at $14,500.  
Tack and costume makers, feel free to copy these pictures for your reference files, and be sure to send me a photo is you tackle any of these items in miniature!


  1. The frame saddle with beadwork as well as the martingale appear to be the classic Crow nation style. Yummy! Thanks for sharing ;).

  2. What beautiful things! I knew the Navaho rode horses and had been wondering what their saddles were like or if they traded for cowboy saddles so it's nice to see those pictures and the bridles. Trying to figure out how the pad saddle in the first photo went on a horse...

    1. The pad saddle is like a pillow, stuffed with hair or sometimes grass. There are straps that hang from leather (sometimes metal) loops on each side. The attachment points are under the piece of serrated hide that is over the seat.

  3. Shannon, next year you ought to come to Denver for the show and auction. It's is just full of inspiration for everyone who likes old Western saddles, Parade saddles and Native American Tack! The only bad thing is that some of the items are not well documented. I took a picture of the sign that went with the martingale. It read: Martingale, $14,500. No age, no tribe info, no nothing!

  4. I am a Native American Beadworker and Craftswoman, it takes years to bead a full saddle, I show my appy and she is decked out in beadwork that I have done on a loom but mostly I bead applique, I will bead 5 to 6 hours a night on projects, sometimes I have 4 to 5 projects going at the same time