Donya ran barrels, poles, and goat tied her way through high school and 4-H. She actually never caught the cutting bug until she met her husband, Roger, a long time member of the NCHA. About 15 years ago she learned to cut on Miss Dainty Doc - the most gorgeous dapple gray mare she had ever seen, and an own daughter of none over than the great Dry Doc. Donya says, "Dainty is so solid and so fun to cut on. Her gorgeous presence behind a cow is always good for an extra point from the judges! She's consistently in the money at the weekend shows we travel to and has been documented as being one of the top money-earners out of Dry Doc. Being farmers/ cattle feeders - our cutting time is our vacation."
A few years ago Donya and Roger had their precious daughter, Holly. With that and some health problems Donya has been out of the cutting pen for a while. During this time she discovered ebay - and collecting model horses took a whole new turn. Her collection centers around Quarter Horses and working horses. She has approximately 75 plastic Breyers and Stone Horses, and about 30 resin horses hand sculpted by artisans. Donya was amazed to find out there are actually model horse shows, and she will be hosting one annually called the Cow-Horse Classic! She will be offering a SR Cutting Horse Series of model horses along with her cutting horse theme, making them available to both hobbyists and real cutters!
Donya met her best friend, and fellow cutter; Holly Leatherman through their interest in model horses online. With encouragement from Holly and another cutter, Terry Newberry, Donya started building western saddle sets for the model horses, that truly resemble "The Real McCoy", which has become her signature name behind her tack making. Donya's husband builds real saddles, and was totally amazed with the details of her model saddles. She's actually developed her own home business called Cow-Horse and has been able to stay at home raising her daughter at the same time.
Donya's first saddle set was built with a modified Rio Rondo kit - then she recustomized her patterns from there and put as many "real" details into her sets as possible. She only builds traditional size (1/10th scale), western saddle sets, and specializes in working saddles - as that's what she rides and builds in real life. Her books are always open and she will continue to build saddles as long as it remains enjoyable!
You may contact Donya by email or check out her web site.
Top: Donya and Miss Dainty Doc in their earlier years!
Bottom: Donya's first custom-built Saddle Set owned by Janet Leli! This set started it all for her - modified from a Rio Rondo kit. It gave her the inspiration to keep building!