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|In 2010, The Trail of Painted Ponies hosted an exciting design competition for Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. The winner was a talented artist named Alanna Donohue of Brentwood, New York, with her Pony titled "American Spirit." "I love Dolly," says this colorful graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. "She seems to be so warm and at home with the woman she is. I didn't want to let her down."|
The authenticity and accuracy found in "American Spirit" comes from a long history with horses. As a teenager Alanna worked at a boarding stable, cleaning stalls, grooming and exercising horses. So horse crazy was she that she took trick riding lessons and learned the Cossack Drag, Indian Hideaway and Liberty Stand.
Seventeen years in the home decorating field enhanced her design abilities and resourcefulness when it comes to working creatively with different materials. She knew where to go for the fabric and silver embellishments she incorporated into her design. With a touch that the woman who wrote and sang "Coat of Many Colors" would surely appreciate, Alanna fabricated the saddle from pieces of a shabby leather coat her mother had given her years ago.
But Alanna wants to be sure not to take all the credit for her Painted Pony. She makes a point of sharing credit with her spiritual collaborator. "God gave me a gift that I haven't really used. And I have always wanted to somehow contribute to this world with my art. So I said to him, 'You're the Master Creator. Let's do this together.'"
Of her achievement, Alanna says, "I wanted to create a special Painted Pony that people would want to take home with them from Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. Something that would help them preserve that priceless memory forever. A Painted Pony people could ride in their dreams. That is American Spirit!"
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