There’s just something about Paints and fast speeds that brings out our creative side.
For Katie Weaver of San Martin, California, and creator of Western Dove, fast horses and a legacy of creative women inspired her talents for one-of-a-kind stone and leather tack.
“My great aunt had her own tack store and saddle shop for years, my grandmother is a turquoise expert who collects Native American artifacts—she always encouraged my artistic side—and my great-grandmother ran an antique store until she was 95,” Katie said. “I’ve always loved turquoise and appreciated an old school vintage feel with authentic Western appeal, so I took inspiration from the three of them to pursue my passions and create my own business.”
Since 2008, Katie has designed custom tack sets decorated with turquoise and other colored stones. In a crowd of sparkles and rhinestones, Western Dove’s designs stand out for their carefully crafted patterns and authentic themes. Though most items are custom—inventory flies off the shelves too quickly to have many stock products—Katie is working to build a stock of belts, purses, tack and more during the Christmas season.
Her work has even been featured at the National Finals Rodeo; customers include NFR barrel racers Kristie Peterson, Jordon Briggs, Shali Lord, Christine Laughlin and ropers Dugan Kelly and Brandon Beers. Barrel racing icons Lance Graves and 1977 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world champion Jackie Jo Perrin. Other sets make a splash at jackpots and rodeos across the country.
“I just love seeing all the success of my fellow cowgirls and cowboys and knowing a little piece of me was part of their experience,” Katie said. “It’s so cool to know that whatever I come up with will be used on horses doing what I love most.”
Katie’s eye for color collides with her equine passion in another way—Altus Annie, her 2002 brown tobiano mare by Brays Moon Bug (QH) and out of Colorful Jetsetter. Bred for speed, “Annie” is Katie’s main barrel mount, and though high demand means plenty of work for the business, the horsewoman makes sure to get adrenaline fixes at jackpots and rodeos whenever possible.
“Annie is super flashy, and I have people ride up and tell me how much they love her,” Katie said. “She is wicked fast and athletic, with a bit of an attitude and a wild side that surfaces on occasion.”
Her horses also serve as Katie’s creative muses for her work.
“I’ve had a lifelong passion for art and creating—and horses are all I’ve ever been obsessed with—so my work makes these two worlds collide perfectly,” Katie said. “I get to wake up every morning, work from home and look at my horses outside my studio; if I want to take a break to ride, I do!
“I take inspiration from their different personalities and colors, and I’ll reference them all the time in my work. Horses are what make you strong in spirit and mind, and you need strength on a daily basis to deal with life. They teach patience and dedication, which are characteristics I need for designing.”
One of Western Dove’s pieces will even be highlighted at the National Finals Rodeo. During the Tough Enough to Wear Pink round, barrel racer Christine Laughlin will compete in a one-of-a-kind Western Dove breastcollar, which will be raffled off during the competition; 100 percent of the proceeds from the breastcollar will be donated to Tough Enough to Wear Pink and breast cancer awareness.
Connect with Western Dove at westerndove.com, on Facebook or on Instagram @westerndove.
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