Victorian Style Horse Bit

Metal Bit

My great-grandfather forged his life from iron, silver, gold, and steel.

He made this horse bit in the form of a Victorian-era lady’s legs. I believe it’s steel, and it’s rather heavy, with a tongue roller and a high port—the part that touches the roof of the horse’s mouth—so I used a light touch when I rode my trail horse, Maude. I get a kick out of it because it’s unexpected and a little risqué, and I can see by the shaping and fine details that he took a lot of care making it. I never knew him, so it’s neat to have this piece of his work.

As a younger man, he ran a saloon up near the Oregon border, where miners banked their gold. One night his partner absconded with the contents of the safe, leaving him high and dry! He later bought a silver mine that went bust. For all his misadventures, I’m glad he developed metalworking skills to fall back on! And it’s interesting to me that the things he made were not just utilitarian—they also expressed his creative side.

Contributed by: Robin Groesbeck
Created by: Great-Grandfather Robert L. Pfluger (1859-?)
Origin: Made in Oakland, California