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Welcome to the Timaru Star II!

The Guide


Horse Sales

Tack Sales Info

Braided Saddle Sets

Braided Headgear

Guide Grandchildren

Parade Sets


Peruvian Paso Sets



Links Etc

Come on board and enjoy this gallery of artist Susan Bensema Young, model horse tackmaker since 1979 and author of that classic book Guide to Making Model Horse Tack (1998) now updated (2016) and available as a pdf!  Our Horse Sales lists our own sales horses.  My Tack Sales Info page has news and updates as to what I've been up to, even when this main page does not.
November 7  2016.
 At this time the TSII is buckling down on the last Lottery winner's order, a silver Parade set.  The saddle is mostly designed and work has commenced.  It will be a combination of ikandis (hot fix spots) and pictorials, using both silver and gold colors.  I've never before had the idea to completely silver-braid the edges of an entire Parade set, but this one calls for just that.  I'm anticipating the job to be so hard and long that occasionally other, smaller pieces might be made just for refreshment.  If and when that is the case, such pieces would be advertised on my FaceBook before being auctioned.
Congratulations go out to Andrea Smith for her winning bid on the Pony Hackamore!  The story of this piece is on our blog.  And thank you to everyone at Happy Valley Fun Show; it was indeed a wonderful backyard show.
May 3  2016.
Of course the big news is that the Guide is now available in .pdf format.  A solid month of hard work (40+ hours a week by someone who recently worked 4 hours a week on tack), and countless hours put in by my husband the computer guru has resulted in 109MB of pdf files.  See the Guide's own page.  This spectacular transition to the digital age has strongly inspired me in the direction of my next book!  as if I needed another project!  I had so much fun working with PhotoShop and later with the word processor LibreOffice I feel I've found a second career.  I have been a professional editor, but this was waaay more fun and educational.  My prayer now is that this version of the Guide is as well-received as the earlier printed ones, and that it can eventually be made available through print-on-demand.

In other tack news is the completion of TSII #455, the TriColor.  This stunningly colorful parade saddle, which owner D. Miller waited many years for, was begun in August 2015 and finished just before Christmas!!  It was shipped in January 2016 and Danielle was very pleased with it.  With this second-to-last Lottery winner now finished, we have only one more Lottery order to go.  As always, details about tack orders are on our Tack Sales Info page.  The Tack Sales Info page is turning into something like a recent history of the TSII.  The TriColor was a great victory in terms of design and color.  I am more convinced than ever that ikandis (iron-ons used in this saddle) are the best way to achieve the results I was after in a miniature (one-ninth scale) silver Parade set.  The horse shown here is a little large in the head for TSII #455 (which was ordered for the Marwari) but it looks so good on him I can't resist showing off.  See our blogs for more details on the making of this saddle: and

Four more pictures of the TriColor are below, followed by four saddles from 2015 & 2014:  #454, #453, #452 and #451 the Goehring.

April 21  2015.
 Can you believe the Timaru Star II Tack Shop is celebrating its 36th year of making model horse tack?!?  Over such a stretch of time, we have developed favorites and specialties, and this is our most famous: Silver Parade.  The Gold-Tipped, TSII #454 (seen below), is the 101st silver saddle we've built since 1979.  It was begun in October of 2014 and finished March 31st, 2015.  

Certainly there is a desire to share on this website more of those 101 silver saddles.  The history of the TSII is currently in scrapbooks.  Two big scrapbooks document the stories of those 101, contained as they are within my 455 Western saddles (so far) -- which themselves are documented in 2 more scrapbooks.   Harness has 2, Peruvians have 1, and Braidwork pieces have 2 scrapbooks also.  In a world of unlimited time, I would be sharing more of them on this site; as it is, right now we'll have to settle for what's already up here.

It is becoming more and more obvious that my blogspot, and now my FaceBook, are the places to go to find what the TSII is up to!  Since December of 2012 the blogspot has grown and grown, reflecting my interests in tackmaking, tack collecting and teaching about tack.  It also happily shows off new horses, etching projects, fun corners of the hobby like collecting stable blankets (thanks people, I had no idea this subject would prove to be so popular!) and anything else that holds my interest!  I am finding more and more that I am referring to the blog posts in my emails.  Detail is king in this hobby!! and what a relief to find a place I can spread out.  I'm not quite at the point of writing the next book there, but it certainly is good practice.  

For the rest of this page I would like to share the last 3 saddles I completed in 2014.  It has been SUCH a relief to be making more than 1 saddle a year again!  The place to begin is with Feldman's Roseleaf Roper (#453), now sold but still known by that name here where it was born.

Other notable advances on TSII #453 include the tooling pattern, a complete original I had evolved as long ago as 2011.  I hadn't figured out how to do corners until I came to the actual tooling.  What I like about this saddle is its balance between fancy and plain.

The next saddle to show off is TSII #452, finished August 13, 2014.

This lovely turquoise inspired set, bridle and breast collar and matching blanket and all, (as described in our blog)  went to Germany when it was done.  How is it that some of my best pieces travel over the sea?  I have been to Europe a couple of times, but there are more saddles by me 'Across the Pond' than weeks I have spent there!  Enjoy, folks...  How I wish I could visit you again!

May 18  2014.   After more than 15 months in the making, the Clyde Goehring saddle is finally done!  So many thanks to Sue Stewart who waited so patiently - she has waited since long before 2009.  Heartfelt thanks to Ann Bilon, without whom this piece would have taken even longer!  And thanks to Luis Aguilar's Flickr site of Mexican saddle pictures, which proved absolutely invaluable.  Several posts on our blogspot document the year-long process of creating this incredible piece, TSII #451.

Most of the progress on this saddle's tree and its silver was done in New York, during December '13 and January '14.

The horn cap and cantle plate were made from solid sterling silver, as were all the pieces on the breastcollar.  The pommel swells, may it do ya (excuse me, S.K.) had their silver in Aluminum sheeting, the perfect miniature solution to the requirements of shape, size and access.  I had long been stuck over how to do them, but eventually it dawned on me.  Even the real one (see below) sure looks like it's oxidized aluminum, and this material allowed me to draw on the engravings.
(BEN-sum-uh)  (TIM-uh-roo).  My eBay name is timaru-star-ii.  This page updated every six to twelve months (let's be honest).  My blogspot seems to get updated every 1 to 3 weeks, if I'm not digitizing a book or taking a 6-week trip.  Normal email answering time is 2 to 4 days, longer if we're on a trip.