Lot 175

1890 Deer Lodge Braided Horse Hair Headstall & Bit

Estimate: $3,500 - $5,500

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$25,000 $2,500
$100,000 $5,000
Featured in this lot is this early Deer Lodge Prison braided horse hair bridle headstall and silver overlay bridal bit, circa 1890-1910. The braided horse hair stall features a wonderfully and professionally braided Deer Lodge Prison traditional design with patriotic decorations to the cheek pieces. This bridle shows exceptional craftsmanship with a twisting of variety of dyed horse hair and a core hitched design on the majority of the bridle. The crown piece, brow band, and nose band are decorated with a flat hitched, geometric design decoration that accentuates the piece with flare and bravado. In the western United States, the history of hitching is intertwined with the history of territorial and modern day prisons in the western United States. It was the first hobby at Montana State Prison, dating back to the territorial prison in Deer Lodge. Charlie Russell, the famous western artist, wrote about men down at Deer Lodge “twistin hairs”. Other commonly known prisons for horsehair were located at Yuma and Florence, Arizona; Rawlins, Wyoming; and Walla Walla, Washington. The bit shows an iconic early design to the wide port Mona Lisa design with a copper port coving the cricket and shows silver overlay with floral decoration. The condition of this Deer Lodge headstall is good for its age. The measurements of this headstall are 27" from crown piece to tip of bit shank and 6 3/4" from rossette to rossette on the cheek pieces. This is one of the oldest and well preserved Deer Lodge Prison made headstalls to come through this auction.