Timaru Star II Braided Saddle Sets

      As of April 2004, with the successful auction of TSII #434, it is clear that the TSII braided bridle and saddle set has reached a plateau of artistic expression wherein one must see it all together to appreciate it properly.  That is just not possible with only one picture!, the previous (and present) limit to our Saddles page.  After due thought (dashing the hand across the brow and muttering, why didn't I think of this before), we proudly present: three pages of masterpieces of the model tackmaker's art.  Due to our most-recent-is-highest arrangement, you will be reading backwards in time if you go down the page.  Why not go to the bottom of Page Three, scroll up, and watch these saddles evolve through time?  Enjoy!

TSII #436.  Here we have a glimpse of a trade saddle I finished just before BreyerFest.  This was the first set where I combined two colors, green and purple, instead of just one, with the traditional leather colors and the rawhide braidwork.  This was also the first set where I created a complex patterned cross stitch blanket (instead of one color).  It is amazing how inspiring those suede seat colors are!

TSII #435.  This is a sunset shot of TSII #435, the 'brown zebra' of A. Tackett.  In fact she has posted her own webapge of pictures of this set, worn by a lighter palomino, and better photographed.  I was very pleased with how the whole thing came out.  Everything worked so well together... Finished 0404.23.

TSII #435.  Great tack must have three things: excellent material choice, superb workmanship or execution, and great design.  Breastcollar design is just as hard as saddle blankets: they form a bridge between saddle and bridle, or between saddle and horse.

TSII #435.  This is one of the most fantastic scans I've ever seen.  It captures the color better than real life!  Heaven only knows how many layers of dye went into this saddle--- quite a few.  The ivory UltraSuede seat sets off the contrasting color braiding to perfection, and the sinew just went along.  This is #434 done 'in dark', and how fantastic it all was... The rule to great tack seems to be 'contrast' and also my perennial favorite, 'simple yet elegant.'  This saddle presents both.  It's another case where the owner turned me loose.  Owned by Anna Tackett.

TSII #434.  This pose or rack shot shows the breastcollar center, which usually can't be seen in a side shot of a horse.  Of special note are the gold pins holding on the corner plates; the carving pattern, our own Rose Rayonnant; and the braidwork adorning every possible surface, short of edges or panels.  This saddle goes very well with a red pinto.  We have done such long buttons before (see Braidwork page), but never so tight and well, nor in this material, Tandy's #30 Fine Sinew, which might be said to be inspiring the current wave of braided saddles.  Finished 0403.18; eBay auction closed 0404.05.

TSII #434.  Birds eye view.  It is often rewarding to shoot model saddles from this angle.  We are always looking down on our model friends anyway.  This might do their fragile egos some damage; but for a saddle, it often reveals more detail---and detail is what tackmakers rejoice in.  The trend of fantastic braided-trim saddles with metal cores continues with this masterpiece, "Rose Gold Concho".  This set was sold in spring 2004 for the third-highest price ever fetched for a TSII saddle, $913.00.  Owned by D. Snow.

TSII #433.  Close up of the breastcollar pattern and design for Jenning's Black-blue-and-white braided.

TSII #433.  The bridle to #433 is shown on Stone's Carat, who in my herd is named "Carob."  Somehow the combination of wedgewood blue, cream white and light natural leather worked well with the golden sinew.  Twin tassels on the browband, Rio Rondo bit, split reins of custom-dyed lace, and handmade twisted-wire buckles for the bridle.

TSII #433.  Owned by K. Jennings.  With this saddle, our braidwork and the customer's color ideas blended perfectly in a piece of surpassing beauty.  She provided the suede and floss for seat and blanket, and ideas used years earlier (#416, #425) came to a greater and more glorious fruition.  I am particularly proud of the tooling on this saddle.  Finished 0402.23;blanket 0403.14.  Apologies for the wierd photo slant; no other picture is as good, and the photographer (me) ran out of time before shipment...

TSII #432.  This is the famous "elk saddle" which, despite its name, was never near a deer!  It was inspired by Roger Selner's book, Greatest Elk, published by Safari Press.  Made and kept as a prototype, it was on this saddle I learned to do metal-cored trees--- a huge leap of technology for me--- as well as sinew edge-braiding on stirrups and many other places, plus a thrilling new way to do welts (shoulder seams).  Even the blanket was new ground, our fourth-ever cross stitch.  The figures started out natural-colored, and were hand-dyed in until only the antlers remained white.  Note the design which allows elk antlers to co-exist with the rear skirt concho... quite a challenge.  Finished 0312.24.

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