Tom Balding’s handcrafted Bits and Spurs

logo copySheridan, Wyo. – Located in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains, Tom Balding Bits & Spurs takes great pride in hand crafting high quality equine riding equipment. All of the bits and spurs shipped around the world are crafted in the local Sheridan Wyoming workshop. Tom’s products are endorsed by professional riders and trainers throughout the world and include: Andrea Fappani, Phil Rapp, and Shawn Flarida.

Tom moved to Sheridan in the early eighties after leaving his fast paced California career as a precision fabricator in the aerospace and sailing industry. Tom’s an avid outdoorsman and was drawn to the area after a visit to the local community, with its breathtaking scenery and limitless opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Now, as one of the ‘locals’ himself, he takes pleasure in supporting the community through sponsorships, donations, events, and volunteering. His days are full, running his business, spending time with family, and involvement in the community. However; he still takes time to slip away and enjoy the beautiful outdoors that captured him in the beginning.

10th Anniversery Sheridan Bit NRS (4)In 1984 a neighbor asked for a favor and planted the idea that would later grow into what is now Tom Balding Bits & Spurs. The request was to repair a broken bit. The bit repair started Tom thinking of the possibilities and tinkering with what he had on hand. It began by putting together scrap sailboat parts to create the first bit design. The concept of what was required of the bits in order to perform at the level his clients required was quickly learned through trial and error. He decided to pursue bit and spur crafting as a full time vocation and the process was refined into the high quality craftsmanship it’s known for today. The first workshop was a mobile home rescued from its demise. There was designated space in each room for a specific aspect of the production process. Along with numerous other founding concepts, this multi room layout is still used today in the new custom built shop.

For the first fifteen years Tom ran the company as a one man operation. It started to grow and he realized the need for helping hands to keep up with incoming orders. Over time Tom carefully assembled his current team, which he refers to as a small family. He was fortunate to hire several talented craftsmen with a natural affinity in the areas required. Through working one-on-one with Tom they were able to replicate the high quality fabrication standards set forth. The sales team also offers a solid work ethic and natural ability in customer service. An original principle of the company is ensuring customers always receive custom built bits or spurs that live up to their greatest expectations. Having the right staff in place guarantees this principle is always prevalent. Tom and his team continue to ensure each item that leaves their shop is of the highest quality possible.

Tom works closely with professional riders during the development of new products to make certain of their performance. Valuable feedback is gained from the trial period and is carefully considered in the final design. This process can take up to a year before the final product is offered to the general public. “The Steamboat shank with the Klapper mouthpiece is made with impeccable workmanship, easily accepted and offers tremendous feel” states Phil Rapp regarding one of his bit preferences.

DSCN0019SADDLEtifThe choice in which bit to use is fundamental in a horse’s performance. Tom Balding Bits & Spurs offers a wide variety of custom bit combinations; and some of the more popular designs are featured on the company website. The website also offers visuals to the various options available to assist you in ordering you’re own unique masterpiece. A few of the popular bit mouthpieces are the Double Cross™, Hinge Port Pro™, Pro Roller Correction™, Slick 50™, Ace of Spades™, Equalizer™, and Catalina Royal™. No matter what you are looking to attain from your horses performance, there’s a bit that will offer customized assistance. Trial bit service is also offered giving you the opportunity to try bits on your horse before making a selection. Up to three styles can be selected at a time and put to the test for two weeks. Tom wants to ensure each bit is a perfect fit and a valued addition to your personal tack collection.

The spur line is also offered with a variety of customizable options. Each spur is built for matchless fit and function while providing individual style. The fit of the spur is designed to stay down on your boot for increased comfort, and functions best when sized to permit movement of the spur. The diverse finishes and option to apply custom brands, logos and names allows you to personalize your spurs. Inscriptions are a great way to add further personalization, either for gifting or in creating a unique touch to your personal set. Inscriptions are stamped into the inside of the spur heel band. The shanks and rowels used in each spur are precision cut; then individually hand beveled and buffed resulting in a satin smooth finish. The finished set of spurs is guaranteed to become a favorite.

Diamond Cut Spur AssortmentAn assortment of hand crafted smaller items, such as; belt buckles, bracelets, earrings, scarf slides, key rings, and money clips are also offered both in store and online. Though they are smaller in size, no less attention to detail is spent on them. Most can also be customized to include brands, logos, initials, and names in sterling silver or brass.

Tom’s reputation for superior craftsmanship has spread worldwide. In 2011 the film crew for Discovery Channels How It’s Made documented the elaborate process of hand creating a belt buckle, bit, and spurs. Three segments were captured on film and aired at different times throughout the following year.

If you live close to or are traveling through the Sheridan area, stop by for a personal tour of the workshop. The team is hard at work Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm mountain standard time. The tour includes a walkthrough of each production process and a majority of the time the team is working in each of the individual areas allowing for a truly unique experience.

If you are looking for a personalized gift, one of a kind award, or an addition to your personal collection; Tom Balding Bits & Spurs is dedicated to making it something to be treasured. For more information on any of the products or services offered please contact the sales team at 307-672-8459 or sales@tombalding.com. You can also visit Tom Balding Bits & Spurs online at www.tombalding.com. Feedback on Tom Balding merchandise is appriciated; please share your experience and suggestions through the comment form at http://www.tombalding.com/contact.htm.

 

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