A long line of horsemen and women preceded us. We have had the privilege of pursuing our dreams, but also had ingrained in us a work ethic to make those dreams a beautiful reality.
Our business began as an adventure to learn something we were passionate about--quality cowboy gear. We were awarded a Cooperative Teacher Creativity Grant from the Lilly Foundation (Yes, we are also educators--we pursued this passion of ours to refresh ourselves and learn something new!) to study bit and spur making.
We originally had no intention of building a business, we just wanted to make our own spurs, bits, and buckles; we wanted to have a creative outlet. It was also a tribute to the past, as Jay's Great Uncle was a silversmith in Chicago, and his Great- Great Grandfather was a watch maker.
We had also grown very tired of the box stores and products that were stamped out with no human hands ever touching them, and no heart going into how they were made.
We traveled to Alberta, Canada to work with Vernon Lynes, a bit and spur maker. The unexpected taught us a lot. We came back and built our own studio/ shop. Then began to build the gear.
I wanted to learn more about the engraving, so I went to Alpine, Texas and worked with the most outstanding Teacher I have EVER had-Johnny Weyerts. It was wonderful! Check out his site: www.engravinginstruction.com
Since then we have worked hard and played hard in our shop. Forming a business was not what we initially planned, but the unexpected can lead down amazing paths. We continue to travel foward together.
We would again like to thank our families for the years of teaching and support they have given us.
We would like to thank those customers who took a risk in having us build their gear in the beginning! (Brian Nielson, Jennifer and Al Andrews, Gerry Hostetler, Josh and Rosie Ziegler, Keith Fritcha, and Joann Snyder)
We would also like to thank Jennifer Ocken for the photography--the ones on this site that are outstanding were taken by her--the others I attempted, thus I will be sticking to the engraving. Jennifer@ockenphotography.com
"I must not forget to thank the difficult horses, who made my life miserable, but who were better teachers than the well- behaved school horses who raised no problems."
~Alois Podhaisky, director of the Spanish Riding School, 1939
Jay and his family have raised and shown horses for several generations. He has benefitted greatly from the knowledge base of his parents.
Jay began shoeing horses at the age of 14 apprenticing under Tom Beard. He attended Ball State University and earned a degree in Industrial Technology through his hard work shoeing.
IBHA was a big part of Jay's youth. He was the IBHA Youth Supreme Champion in 1991. He enjoyed great success in IHSA during his years at Ball State.
He is an Industrial Technology Educator for Whitko Community School Corporation during the school year.
During his "off" time, he is a part-time farrier, as well as the bit and spur maker in our shop. His knowledge base of metal and horses gives him an edge in this profession. He is extremely particular about his work and a perfectionist- which makes him a tough boss! Gotta love him!
Generations of knowledge about horses have been passed on to me as well. I showed growing up, and sold those horses to help pay for my college education. While at BSU, I also enjoyed success through IHSA. GO BSET!
I graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. I currently am an Educator for Huntington County Community School Corporation.
I am enthralled with the artistic energy that comes from engraving and designing!
It is a great life~ to do the things you love on a daily basis!
Jay and I met while competing on the Ball State Equestrian Team. We have three children and enjoy watching their love of horses bloom and riding skills continue to develop.
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