Yoga for Horseback Riders - Improve Your Balance, Flexibility, & Strength - Alleviate Your "Stuck" Areas Part I

I started practicing yoga in 2014 to alleviate tightness in my hips, accrued from old injuries (and not helped by sitting in the car for work travel, or sitting at the computer) and I have noticed a difference in my range of motion from a regular practice. Yoga has also helped me focus mentally before I ride, and prepares my muscles for the strain of directing a 2,000 lb animal's movements.

If you have a yoga playlist, or a video, that you love to follow before or after riding (or any other time of the day) please share in the comments section below and feel free to share this post!

I also have a yoga playlist available on my YouTube channel.

Where are you most "stuck" when you ride?


Find the area of your body you'd like to work on from the list below, then choose a video that suits the amount of time you have to practice (or, try them all!):

Created for Horseback Riders

10 min

40 min

15 min

Shoulders

10 min

20 min

20 min

Hips/Psoas

5 min

20 min

15 min

30 min

Couldn't find the area of your body you are most "stuck" in?

Check out Part II of this post, Yoga for Horseback Riders - Improve Your Balance, Flexibility, & Strength - Alleviate Your "Stuck" Areas Part II, which includes: Low Back, Core, Low Body, and BONUS Total Body videos. Coming Soon!

If you found this article helpful, or you try out any of these videos and see an improvement in your balance, flexibility, or strength, please share this post and leave a comment below!

Cavalia's Odysseo 2013 - High Energy Performance of Horses at Liberty in Water

"Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong." -Lao-Tzu

I had the privilege of seeing this show a few years ago and it was breathtaking. The stage alone is incredible, with the amazing water pool on the stage. This video shows a beautiful combination of varying gray-colored horses, with riders and at liberty, moving to romantic guitar and violin music. The performance transforms to one of excitement and high-energy when the ridden horses and free horses combine to create a whirl-wind of activity on stage. The end of the video also shows talented aerial dancers performing in the water.

Wearing this special shirt tells the world that you LOVE horses and you BELIEVE that riding is a Dance, not a push/pull sport that views the horse as a machine. YOU are a dancer at heart and wearing this shirt will INSPIRE others and remind you why you love the dance. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO + PHOTOS

Sandra Beaulieu and Rovandio - Second Level Dressage Musical Freestyle to Pop Violin Music

When you dance, your purpose is not to
get to a certain place on the floor.
It's to enjoy each step along the way.

- Wayne Dyer

After a long hiatus from the dressage competition arena, I decided it would be fun to work on my USDF Freestyle Bronze Bar with Douwe and Rovandio. To earn this award, the rider needs two freestyle scores (above 65%) at First level, two scores at Second level, and two scores at Third level from recognized shows. Douwe earned both of our First Level scores and Rovandio earned both of our Second Level scores in one weekend! I am so proud of them, they seemed to enjoy themselves and I did too! Last week I shared Douwe's First Level Musical Freestyle inspired by the TV show Outlander (click here to watch). Here is Rovandio's Second Level Freestyle with recognizable music played by a pop violin band named Escala. I found them on Spotify and loved their renditions of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir", The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony", and Karl Jenkin's "Palladio". Enjoy!

Inspired to create your own musical freestyle? Enter your email below for my FREE downloads including a Musical Freestyle Checklist to keep you on track and Blank Choreography Pages to sketch your routines. You can also learn more about my Custom Freestyle Design and Freestyle Workshops. Click here. 

Thank you Adam's Horse Supplies!

My new sponsors Adam's Horse Supplies generously outfitted me with new Ariat show boots, a Goode Rider show shirt, Toklat saddle pads, a ThinLine pad for Douwe, and a Micklem bridle for Rovandio for our freestyle debut.  

Adam's is located in Winthrop, ME but has an excellent selection online and they offer incredible sales and discounts. 

 

Inspiring Quote about Fairytales, Unicorns, and Magical Things

Like star dust glistening on fairies’ wings, little girls’ dreams are of magical things.
— Sherry Larson

I love this quote by Sherry Larson. It is the perfect compliment to this magical photo taken by Kimberly Chason (Chason Photos & Art) of Aubrey and my Friesian horse Douwe. We did a photo shoot in Tallahassee, FL at Southern Oaks Equestrian Center (owned by Marsha Sapp) this past winter and Douwe worked his modeling magic. He is available for special photo shoots, and particularly loves working with young girls that think he is the prettiest horse in the world! Learn more about fantasy photo shoots...CLICK HERE.

Sandra Beaulieu - Ambassador for Adams Horse Supplies

I am proud to announce that I have a new partnership with Adams Horse Supplies, a tack shop located in Winthrop, ME. I am officially a part of their team as a sponsored professional. They have an extensive online catalog with an amazing selection of high-quality, top name brands, and generous sales and promotions.  

They recently outfitted me for a USDF dressage show with Ariat dressage boots (Volant model), a ThinLine pad for Douwe, a Goode Rider show shirt, and Toklat Originals saddle pads. They have also provided grooming supplies and accessories for my horses from companies like Cowboy Magic, Mountain Horse, Equine Couture, and more!

The staff at Adam's Horse Supplies has been very supportive and I enjoy working with them. They are all knowledgeable horse professionals, with the experience to help their customers choose the right products for their needs. I look forward to working with them and promoting their amazing brand.

Who They Are

Adams Horse and Pet Supplies is a woman-owned business, run by a staff of local Maine riders and pet lovers who want to bring high-quality products and pet foods to their customers. They test and use everything they sell so they can educate their customers and help them choose the products that are right for them and their pets. They are a small town business with small town values and can't wait to make you part of their family!  

 

Sandra Beaulieu & Friesian Douwe - "Outlander"-Inspired First Level Musical Freestyle

We dance for laughter,
we dance for tears,
we dance for madness,
we dance for fears,
we dance for hopes,
we dance for screams,
we are the dancers,
we create the dreams.

                  -Albert Einstein

After a long hiatus from the dressage competition arena, I decided it would be fun to work on my USDF Freestyle Bronze Bar with Douwe and Rovandio. To earn this award, the rider needs two freestyle scores (above 65%) at First level, two scores at Second level, and two scores at Third level from recognized shows. Douwe earned both of our First Level scores and Rovandio earned both of our Second Level scores in one weekend! I am so proud of them, they seemed to enjoy themselves and I did too! If you watch the TV series Outlander you will recognize the music, the tempo and drama of the music really go with Douwe's stride. Enjoy!

Are you inspired to start working on your First Level musical freestyle?

My "how-to" e-book will take you through the creation process of your very own freestyle. 

  • 10 Fully Choreographed Test Patterns! Just Add Music!
  • 37 pages of choreography!  
  • 7 Online Resources to help you find freestyle music.
  • Creative freestyle questionnaire to help get your creative juices flowing!
  • Freestyle checklist to help you stay on track.
  • Blank arena diagram pages for you to take notes and draw your own choreography.
  • Rules to remember, arena & sound requirements, copyright laws and more!

I also offer CUSTOM FREESTYLE design and FREESTYLE WORKSHOPS. Click here to learn more. 

Tale as Old as Time: Sandra and Friesian Douwe Perform as Beauty and the Beast

"Tale as old as time.
True as it can be.
Barely even friends,
Then somebody bends-
Unexpectedly."

                                                        - Lyrics from Beauty & The Beast

My relationship with Douwe has certainly had its ups and its downs. It took many years before he trusted me and
started to enjoy his training. This song holds a lot of meaning for me in regards to our relationship. Douwe was angry and depressed when I first bought him, and over the years has become the goofiest horse I know with a huge personality! It just took some time to uncover what was already there, and to shed his past.  

This video was taken at the Riding to the Top Therapeutic Riding Center in Windham, ME. This routine was very emotional for me; I was fighting back tears as we performed because Douwe was so in-tune with me.

This was our first time performing this new routine and it brought laughter and tears to the audience as well. 

 Don't miss Douwe's "singing" debut at the 4 minute mark! 

Cobra, a "Three Strikes Mustang" Turned Horse of the Year, World Champion, and Breyer Model!

"Sometimes life gives you a second chance, or even two! Not always, but sometimes. It's what you do with those second chances that counts."
– Dave Wilson

Marsha Hartford-Sapp and Cobra, dressage champions.

Marsha Hartford-Sapp and Cobra, dressage champions.

For the past five years I have been involved with my friend, Marsha Hartford-Sapp, and her Mustang gelding, Cobra. Cobra was passed over three times for adoption, making him a "three strikes" mustang, but Marsha adopted him for the 2010 Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover, and in 2013 they started competing in United States Dressage Federation (USDF) shows.

Cobra is a sharply intelligent, deeply intuitive horse. Cobra is fairly big for a Mustang and quite balanced. He likes to work and once he is warmed up he is full of energy and ready to go. Marsha has trained and competed him successfully in dressage through the Prix St. Georges level and Western Dressage. He has won numerous year-end awards and world championships. Here is a video of him competing in Western Dressage, earning a great score of 78%!


Marsha has competed in many Extreme Mustang Makeovers. She won the competition in 2016 with her mare Freedom, and this year with a beautiful palomino mare named Chason's Dream.

You can watch this USA Today interview with Marsha on training Mustangs.


Cobra is particularly talented in his canter work and has learned tempi changes and canter pirouettes, as well as other upper level movements. In the following video it shows him learning two-tempi changes only 2 years out of the wild! That is incredible! I am honored to have played a part in his dressage training, introducing him to the one-tempi changes this past winter in Florida. Over the course of a few months Cobra was able to learn how to do a one-tempi and progressed to four clean one-tempis in a row! 

Click on the image to go to cobra's facebook page or click here

Click on the image to go to cobra's facebook page or click here

Meet Cobra at BreyerFest

Don't miss your chance to meet Cobra and Marsha Sapp at BreyerFest. They will be performing daily and "signing" autographs. I will also be there to help answer questions for Cobra's raving fans. And don't forget to buy your very own Cobra Breyer model to take home with you. Isn't he beautiful!

Cobra's New Logo Design

In preparation for BreyerFest I was asked to create a logo for Cobra. My good friend, and professional photographer Kimberly Chason put together the logo idea and added the text to my art design. If you are interested in a custom logo design for your horse or business visit my online gallery...click here.

Inspiring Trust Quote - Begin the Dance

There are so many layers to riding a horse, and one is certainly related to your emotional and spiritual well-being. When my mind is quiet enough to hear my true voice, not the inner critic or ego, but my inner wisdom, that is when I am able to truly connect to my horse. 

Of all of the voices, whether internal or from those around you, clamoring for your attention, saying you can't or you won't or you shouldn't, be sure to listen to the small voice saying you can. Your energy flows where your focus goes.

BreyerFest 2016's Celebration of Horses - "Moments to Remember"

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman

BreyerFest 2016's Celebration of Horses evening entertainment celebrated the tradition, athleticism, and grace of the horse with an all-star cast of performers who demonstrated daring feats of horsemanship including Roman riding, liberty, and other stunts. The event was expanded to two sold-out evenings in the Alltech Arena.  

In addition to performing five feature acts, Yvonne Barteau (of KYB Connected) produced the 2016 show, organizing the acts of some of this country’s finest horse trainers and exhibitionists, including Sylvia Zerbini, Dan James, and many others.

Watch and be amazed by the highlight reel:


Are you ready for BreyerFest 2017?

I will be attending BreyerFest this year to help my close friend Marsha Sapp. Her mustang gelding Cobra is one of the Limited Edition Breyer Models this year and she is also performing with Gitano, a gorgeous Gypsy gelding. I have helped train Cobra over the years when I stay at Marsha's barn, Southern Oaks Equestrian Center in Tallahassee, FL. It is amazing to see the transformation from his first year under saddle to becoming a Breyer model. Come see me at BreyerFest and meet Cobra! He will be performing daily and "signing" autographs.

Now in its 28th year and host to more than 10,000 guests annually, BreyerFest is the place to have fun with horses and model horses! Whether you have horse experience or not, BreyerFest has plenty of activities for you to enjoy. So, join us at BreyerFest for a family vacation that you will never forget!

Visit the BreyerFest website for more information. Click here.

Can't make it to BreyerFest during the day but don't want to miss out on the evening Celebration of Horses? Evening event tickets are only $15!

Don't miss an inside look at one of Breyer's newest inductees, Cobra, a "three strikes" mustang turned U.S. Equestrian Federation Horse of the Year, USDF Horse of the Year, and Western Dressage World Champion: Coming next week!

Captivating Performance by Sylvia Zerbini and Her Amazing Horses

 "Keep the circus going inside you, keep it going,
don't take anything too seriously,
it'll all work out in the end."

-David Niven


In the video below, Sylvia Zerbini, former star of the acclaimed Cavalia, orchestrates the movements of eight gorgeous horses, a truly memorable and mesmerizing theatrical performance. A ninth generation performer, Sylvia Zerbini has captivated audiences across the globe since the age of five. Her father, a wild animal trainer, and her mother, a famous trapeze artist, allowed Sylvia to ultimately nurture her true passion, working with her family's horses.

Prepare to be captivated by the talented Sylvia and her beautiful horses:
 

Hip Performance from Sydney CDI 2017 GP Musical Freestyle Winners- Brett Parbery and DP Weltmieser ("Rabbit")

"When it's your time, it is your time." -Bruno Mars

Brett Parbery (of Parbery Performance Horses, New South Wales) and DP Weltmieser (14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, aka "Rabbit") win the Equestrian New South Wales FEI Grand Prix Musical Freestyle at the Sydney CDI 2017- Sydney, Australia's Premier Dressage Event. The pair scored a solid 74.570%. I particularly liked the use of vocals for the entrance and the piaffe which was spot-on with the music.

Watch, as this dynamic duo dances across the arena to the hip music of Bruno Mars and Maroon 5!


Cool New App- “Spectator Judging”!

Organizers of the 2017 Sydney CDI came out with a new app allowing spectators to score competitors. While spectator scores don’t influence the official results, the focus of the app is stronger fan involvement and more engagement with the sport of dressage. Spectator judges, at the event whose scores are closest to the official results, receive a prize.

You can join in judging the World Cup Dressage Final in Omaha, Nebraska, USA which will be live streamed!

The app is available for free from the App-Store (Apple) or the Google-Play-Store: Just type “Spectator Judging” in the AppStore / Google Play and install the app.

Create Your Own Training Level Musical Freestyle! Sample Videos of Good Choreography & Music Selection

Have you always wanted to ride a musical freestyle? Getting started at Training Level is a great way to get your feet wet and learn how the entire process works. 

In this post, I have shared some examples of Training Level musical freestyles and reasons why they are good, from a judge's perspective (I am a USDF "L" Graduate and a freestyle designer). 

If you need extra help creating your freestyle, you will find pre-choreographed routines and tips for finding music in my Training Level eBook.  

Watch these videos for freestyle inspiration!
If you would like your freestyle featured in this blog post and added to my YouTube playlist, send an email to: beginthedance@gmail.com


Video #1: Music Suitable to the Type & Character of the Horse
This is a snazzy freestyle showing smart choreography and music choice.

  • Jazz music matches the smooth gaits and handsome physique of the horse.
  • Music seamlessly matches choreography and tempo of horse's gaits.
  • Balanced use of arena space.
  • Good use of short diagonals on the first and final centerline.

Well done!  

Video #2: Patterns Accomplished with Ease and Graceful Choreography and Music

This is a beautiful freestyle showing ease of accomplishing choreographic patterns.

  • Recognizable music matches the rhythm and tempo of the horse's stride- it also sounded like they edited the music to speed up and slow down the beats to match the horse.
  • Choreography flows well with the transitions. 
  • Music matches the horse's floating gaits, particularly the free walk.
  • Balanced use of patterns. 

This pair work well together!

Video #3: Obvious Trust and Synchrony Between Horse and Rider

This team showcased a positive connection throughout this sweet freestyle. PLEASE NOTE that this freestyle was ridden in 2014 before the freestyle tests were updated by USDF. 

  • Music is upbeat and punchy and reflects this young horse/rider's personality.
  • Choreography matches music and  transitions.
  • An obvious sense of unity and contentment between horse and rider.
  • Good use of the space and nicely designed patterns.

Wonderful job!

Video #4: Recognizable Music that Matches Horse's Character

This pair performed a well-designed routine to cute, recognizable music.

  • Plucky, fun music from the Shrek soundtrack that matches the horse's tempo of gaits.
  • Transitions in music are obvious and match the choreography.
  • Nicely designed patterns that are accomplished with ease.
  • Horse and rider team demonstrated trust and confidence.

Great performance!

Video #5: Have some Fun with a little Rock N' Roll!

This pair performed a freestyle with a good degree of difficulty. 

  • Energetic music that changed with the gaits.
  • Transitions in music are obvious and match the choreography.
  • Smooth serpentine lines and difficult canter transitions. 
  • Music was edited well for the beginning and final halts.

If you need help developing your freestyle take a peek at sample pages from my eBook, the link is below. The book includes 10 pre-choreographed tests that you can choose from and add your own music to! You will find everything you need to create your own Training Level musical freestyle in the eBook.

 Please leave a comment below or send any questions to beginthedance@gmail.com.

Have fun creating!

Talented Friesian Team Performs Chinese Act during the 2017 Friesian Proms

"If people are of one heart, even the yellow earth can become gold."
-Chinese Proverb

Prepare to be delighted by this entertaining performance from the Friesian horses of the Subtop Team during the Friesian Proms, 2017. There is even a troupe of Chinese dancers (Wudao) performing a skillful Dragon Dance in the center of the arena, and an accompaniment from Chinese soprano, Xiaolan Ji (along with a live orchestra). Large quadrilles are impressive and exciting, and the contrast between the gold and red costumes and accessories and the black Friesians enhances the dramatic effect! Enjoy!

Performance begins at 1:10.


Live Painting Demo to Benefit Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation Ranch

Rovandio and I performed a live painting demo at the "Have a Heart" fundraiser to benefit the Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation Ranch (Triple R) of Tallahassee, FL. All money raised from the auctioned painting went to the Triple R organization. Triple R is a 100% volunteer organization that rescues abused, neglected, troubled, and abandoned equines and rehabs, retrains, and re-homes (or retires) them "in an environment of well-being and trust".

To learn more about my journey into art on horseback with Rovandio, check out this page on my website: http://beginthedance.com/art-on-horseback/

In the zen of the moment, living, breathing art, brush stroke upon brush stroke, hoofbeat upon hoofbeat. The horse forms the artist, the artist forms the horse, flowing, living, breathing art.
— Bethanne Ragaglia

For more information about Triple R, you can visit their website at: 
http://triplerhorserescue.org/wordpress/about/

Arghh! Sandra and Rovandio Perform Together as Pirates!

"Not all treasure is silver and gold, Mate."

-Captain Jack Sparrow

The video below is of Rovandio and I debuting our latest routine, "Pirates", at Elysium Sport Ponies in Atkinson, ME. I had an idea for Rovy to perform the Spanish walk to Captain Jack Sparrow's drunken sailor music from the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the rest of the routine developed from there. I definitely wanted to include Rovy saying pirate lines, so that is where you see him perform the "Argh!". At the end of our performance, I handed out "gold doubloons" for the kids in the audience and Rovy adored the pats and attention! Enjoy!

Falcyyr TV Series - Now Available on Vimeo!

Actress Sinari Diliiza rides Douwe as Sandra cues him for the rear.

Actress Sinari Diliiza rides Douwe as Sandra cues him for the rear.

For the past two years I have been involved with a film project called Falcyyr, which is directed by Ahura Diliiza. I play Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, and Douwe is the special steed for the main actress Sinai Diliiza.

My character, Artemis, teaches the Falcyyr how to ride a horse in Episode #6, click here to watch. Both Douwe and Rovandio are used for this scene. It was fun to utilize my teaching skills and the horses behaved very well for the different actresses. 

You will also see the herd of horses from Isaac Royal Farm where the scenes were filmed. Many of the horses are Lipizzan or Andalusian crosses.

You can watch each separate episode of Falcyyr for $1 on Vimeo. You can also rent them all for $8 or download them for $12.


Check out Maine Today's article with Douwe as the featured photo:
Women rule in Maine-made fantasy ‘Falcyyr’

Fantasy Photo Shoot Contest Winner: To The Masquerade Ball & The Huntress

At the end of 2016, I offered my new Fantasy Photo Shoots eBook for Pre-Order. Those who pre-ordered the eBook were automatically entered into a drawing to win a Fantasy Photo Shoot with my Friesian gelding, Douwe!

For the Fantasy Photo Shoots, I am able to provide Douwe as the mainstay of the photographs, adding to the emotion and the depth of the photo. Douwe is also incredible at providing confidence (and the camera loves him!).

The winner of the Fantasy Photo Shoot Contest drawing was Karen Mancuso, who wanted to share the experience with her daughter, and so "To the Masquerade Ball" and "The Huntress" were born. 

Karen's 'Masquerade':

I love it when costumes magically come together! Karen walked into the dressing room with this beautiful, royal purple cape, and from there I was able to draw from my own costume closet and complete the look! 

Photo taken by Taylor Burdin

Photo taken by Taylor Burdin

I just enjoyed the entire experience, honestly; it was playful and fun.
— Karen Monusco

As an artist, it is always fun to use people as canvases! For Karen, I chose an ethereal look, with soft curls framing her face, and added a touch of smoky purple to her eyes. She is also wearing Ardell Self-Adhesive Lashes.

Behind-the-scenes tidbit: I found Karen's forehead jewel at Hobby Lobby for less than $5!


Ashley's 'Huntress':

Ashley's 'Huntress' costume was fun to create and she came onto the set looking lovely and fierce! The layers added to the texture and depth of the outfit and the drab forest colors added authenticity to the idea of her hunting in the woods.

Photo taken by Taylor Burdin.

Photo taken by Taylor Burdin.

Makeup

For Ashley's huntress makeup, we found some photos on Pinterest for inspiration and had fun finger-painting warrior markings on her face. Otherwise, we kept it fairly simple with brown tones for her eyes and a nude lip gloss.

Hair

For Ashley's hair, I used brown cord and weaved it between small braids, tying them together, and completed the look with a braided 'faux-hawk' at the top (which is created with a Dutch-style braid with the edges pulled apart to look fuller).

This fantasy photo shoot was something I never expected, but always secretly wanted.
— Ashley Mancuso
Photo taken by Taylor Burdin. 

Photo taken by Taylor Burdin. 

Tack

From performing with Douwe, I have two sets of tack, and we put them to good use! Both sets were designed and created by Lisa Oberman, of El Sueno Espanol, aka "the Tack Temptress".

Location

For the past several years, I have spent my winters in Florida at Southern Oaks Equestrian Center, owned and operated by my close friend, Marsha Hartford Sapp. Marsha's property, hidden along the farm roads of Tallahassee, is beautiful and lush. The large oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and the forested pastures provided stunning backdrops for the fantasy photo shoot.

It has been an unbelievable experience to draw out the visions inside of others and help them create their
own special experience they can look back on and say,

"Wow, dreams really do come true."

About the Photographer(s)

Taylor Burdin is a former student of mine from Isaac Royal. She currently works full time for L.L. Bean Inc., and does photography as a hobby. She uses vintage Canon and Nikon lenses on an Olympus EPL1 body. The fantasy photos were shot with an older Canon 50 mm f1.4 film camera lens, which gives the photos a softer look and a dream-like quality.

Karen is also a hobby photographer. Karen shoots with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III digital camera.


Q & A With Karen:

Q: When was the first moment that horses came into your life?

Karen: “My family had a ranch in Wyoming. We moved there full-time when I was 10. We had four horses at the time, and I would ride them every day with the cowboy that worked for us. We would fix fences, check watering holes, move the cows…I felt like I had died and gone to Heaven.”


Q: What inspired you to purchase Sandra's Fantasy Photo Shoots eBook?

Karen: I was very excited to pre-order Sandy's Fantasy Photo Shoots eBook, you see, as I needed ideas for a special shoot for my daughter. I wanted pictures of her with her beloved Retto, but I wanted them to be very special pictures; fun photos, not show photos. I wanted it to have an otherworldly feel.

Q: What made you want to involve your daughter in the photo shoot?

Karen: “I love doing things with Ashley; she always makes everything more fun!”


Q: What most excited you about the idea of the Fantasy Photo Shoot?

Karen: “Undoubtedly being able to sit on Douwe! He's magnificent!”


Q: You are a photographer yourself, what was it like to be on the other side of the camera?

Karen: “Normally I'm very uncomfortable in front of the camera, but this time I didn't even notice it; I was having too much fun with Sandra and Douwe.”

Q: What was it like to work with Sandra and Douwe?

Karen: “I felt like I was in very good hands. I felt completely entertained.”


Q: What were some of the thoughts going through your head as you were getting your hair and makeup done for the shoot?

Karen: “I have never worn make-up, except a little blush at my wedding, so having my hair and make-up done was very entertaining. The eyelashes were kind of scary. I just enjoyed the entire experience, honestly; it was playful and fun.”


Q: What is your advice for people who want to create/participate in a photo shoot, but have something standing in their way?

Karen: “Buy Sandy's book! I'm sure it's going to be full of helpful tips. Wardrobe is actually very important, so plan enough time to have that spot on. I struggled, but Sandra helped pull ‘The Huntress’ together. I'm in that position [creating a wardrobe] right now, actually, because I'm still planning my fantasy [photo] shoot with Ashley and her beloved Warmblood, Retto. Retto will always be her first love. He's super cool and I'm working on a cloak for that shoot. I have everything to put it together, I just need some sewing lessons first…”