Artisans of the West – Tom Balding


Tom Balding

Sheridan, Wyoming
Bit and Spur Maker & Silversmith


With a passion for the western culture fed through the trainers, competitors and riders that use his product, Tom Balding is still forging ahead in the industry after nearly 30 years.


A self-taught artist, Balding began building bits and spurs in 1986. Soon, the demand increased from his customers for his items to be “dressed up” a little, so the silver began to appear. To this day, he still has the same inspirations and satisfaction in what he does. It is seeing the bits and spurs in use on the trainers and riders that are his customers and the design process that he employs through his customers and employees that he still enjoys to this day. He takes pride in having some of his employees with him for over 20 years.

But with all of the success that Balding has found in the market, it has its fair share of challenges for him. He explains that one of the biggest difficulties is “creating and maintaining original designs. Companies in China have been copying American made bit designs at a lower quality and cost. This has created an inequality in the market.”


After so many original designs created and hanging in the mouths of horses around the world, he still finds his inspiration simply through his everyday interactions. Sometimes he will free hand concept drawings that will later make its way into a formal prototype. The creative freedom that he enjoys has been hard earned, but Balding still stays at the helm of the production process that makes Balding Bits and Spurs one of the most prominent makers in the industry.

~ Dainya Sapergia

Tom Balding Bits & Spurs


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