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Welcome to the Timaru Star II!

The Guide


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Braided Saddle Sets

Braided Headgear

Guide Grandchildren

Parade Sets


Peruvian Paso Sets



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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.
December 2  2017.
 Yes, it really has been more than a year since this main page was updated.  That's what's happens with our 2 FaceBook pages and blogspot taking center stage!   This page will review all the tack - and model goodies! - made at the TSII during 2017.
On the one hand, tackwise, you could say we made only one saddle, one piece of headgear and a couple of saddle blankets.  On the other hand, you could say we had pushed the boundaries amazingly:  What a saddle!  What a great hackamore!  We created a wickerwork chair, a craft related to model tack yet different, with the same miniature rawhide (nylon sinew) yet utilizing completely new materials and skills.  We followed the chair with a pair of rawhide-and-wood snowshoes, at least 10 years in the dreaming, using the same rawhide material in yet another new way!  I dusted off my drafting skills and drew 4 Plates documenting how the Snow Shoes were built, thus paving the way for the long-promised Braidwork for Model Horses book.
The saddle finished was, of course, TSII #456, Star Wars.  Below is just the bridle: Note the BB8 bit and the Rebel Alliance Phoenixes, plus the fabulous Galactic Empire Gear for the face ornaments.  The full story of the saddle properly belongs in a blog post, and I am hoping to get one out soon (read: within the next six months); meanwhile, scroll down for more pix.

A word on the setting of the Star Wars saddle shots.  What you are looking at is the front planter of my parents' house (made of Lyons sandstone).  On the lip of this planter, back in 1981, I took photos of one of my very first Silver Parade Saddles.  I would have used the lip again but this horse, and this saddle, was too big to fit and the evergreens had grown too much; so he's on the sidewalk in front.

My second picture shows Steve, my general-purpose Western Handler and Cowboy, doing his level best to display the Snow Shoes.  I'm showing this picture next because it has the best presentation of both the Shoes and the Chair, and shows that the chair is actually 1:12 scale, or Classic size.  In actual timing, what got finished first in 2017 was a saddle blanket, the Vibe.

At the start of 2017 I found myself finishing a beautiful saddle blanket.  The pattern came from Chris Armstrong's Model Horse Saddle Pad Cross Stitch Patterns Vol. 1.  I loved the color. I went to the immense trouble of stitching between the straight stitches I'd already done, that is, using the spaces between the holes, on 14-point Aida cloth, in order to get the texture I wanted.

The moment it was done, I found myself using it for a most unusual saddle and bridle I had purchased the fall before (Sept 2016). The full story of this saddle (below) is told in a blog post: Gilfoyle (Not!) on Copperfox.  This post rather abruptly tells the story of a months-long hunt to find out who made the saddle.  There was more hunting on FaceBook, but the answer came via email in November of this year.  Kelda Goerte of Red River Saddlery had made the set, more than 20 years ago.  Meanwhile I had been enjoying it for nearly a year on my bay Copperfox Cadno, who is named Canto in my herd.  SADDLE NOT BY ME!!!

It wasn't until May 18, 2017, that the Star Wars saddle was finished.  It had been started the previous September.  I know I keep on about how long and hard model tack pieces are to make, but this one did indeed take the cake.  To be able to complete the last of my Lottery orders, one of my greatest Silver Parade saddle ever, was an immense relief.

This ambitious Parade Saddle had thirteen pictorial panels, while most others have three at most (two serapes and a breastcollar center).  Very rarely do I depict human beings on saddles; the only other time I've done so was TSII #438, the Buffalo Bill set, in 2004.

For the first time I can reveal the near side of TSII #456.  After all the fuss of worrying over copyright (as if I would ever do this again!), the battle to translate into leather and silver tape what most people expected to be a photographic likeness, and the real struggle of communicating with the owner, I was just so glad to be done with it.  My fear of revelation perfectly balanced my delight at having created new ways of expressing my chosen art and craft, model horse tack.  In the saddle itself there was only pride at a huge challenge successfully overcome.  I had not known I was capable of it.

The front of the Tapaderos was the one place where I was given no instructions on what motif to use.  I decided I wanted to try the remarkable face of Darth Maul. This was drawn on double-thick silver tape (Aluminum) and fastened down with hand cut prongs in the 3D shape of the Tapaderos.  Not everybody who saw it could figure out it was him.

Upon finishing TSII#456, almost immediately I did something very, very different.  It was as though it had been pent up within me.  As told in the two blog posts, Miniature Wickerwork Chair Part 1 and Miniature Wickerwork Chair part II,  I found a tutorial online for making a Dolls-House scale (1:12) wicker chair. It was finished in July.  No one has made an offer grand enough to tempt it from me.

The next piece to be finished, and indeed the only piece of model horse tack I would offer to the public for all of 2017, was the fabulous Peacock Hackamore. This one also has blog posts about it - no less than three!  However, I will settle for only one link here: Peacock Hackamore Finished. A very good customer of mine, Andrea Smith of Washington, got this Hackamore.

The Peacock Hackamore was inspired by the Maine landscape, in which I and my husband had taken a 1-week canoeing vacation in June, trying to make up for the fact that Spring Break canoeing had been denied us.  The deep greens and blues are rare in my tack, yet were so beautiful.  BreyerFest came along in July and its theme of India provided the name Peacock!  BreyerFest also provided me with this horse, the matte Perlino Lonesome Glory.  When I put him together with this piece of headgear, the resulting good vibes created a must-photograph situation.   You will not really see the horse it was built off, Geronimo the Stock Horse.

The Peacock was begun in July and auctioned in August.

The next goal of my tack shop gradually revealed itself as the pair of Snow Shoes, and they took all of September, finally finishing in early October.  As you might expect by now, the snowshoes have their own blog post (only one this time) and here is a link to it: Creating the Snowshoes. As of this writing, they are up on eBay but have not met reserve.  Here on my website I can tell the story of why so high a price is being asked.  Where is that $220 going?  Twenty for eBay fees. One hundred for charity:  I did in fact originally intend to devote half this auction's proceeds to hurricane relief (my husband is a meteorologist and I have friends in TX and FL).  Over the intervening months my desires waned but I felt I had to keep my word.  And one hundred for me.  It took me over 50 hours, a full month, to make these snowshoes, and that's not counting the hours put into the plates (drawings).  I didn't keep track of those!  If my snowshoes don't sell this time, I'll try again after Christmas.

It was after BreyerFest that I started on my second saddle blanket of the year. This time I had a specific saddle in mind, one I'd purchased from fantastic tackmaker and good friend, Heather Moreton.  Saddle blankets seem to take me about a month to build.  Of course there is a blog post about this set!!  Silver Acorn Opus Saddle. And here we have my Moody Minuet resincast, issued in 1994 by Dabar and painted by Liz Bouras and myself, wearing the most fabulous of emerald-studded and silver saddles.  Thank you so many times to Heather for letting me purchase this beauty!!

Since this website is supposed to be about Timaru Star II tack, regardless of how marvelous other artists' tack is, I conclude this year's review with a picture of the blanket for the Moreton Silver Acorn.  I will also state that I'm keeping a couple of pictures from 2016 that show important saddles:  TSII #455, the TriColor, made for Danielle Miller; and TSII #451, the Clyde Goehring, made for Sue Stewart (currently owned by Colette Robertson).  The Goehring is what I call a Mexican Silver Parade set, based upon the classic Charro form.  Stay tuned for 2018!!

(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, except during May and June when we're on the road.  Normal email answering time is 2 to 4 days, sometimes longer during the first week of February, Spring Break (March), May, June, the second week in July (BreyerFest), the second half of December and the first week of January, and at other random times.  I am not of the Smart Phone generation.