How to Add a Treat Pouch to Your Costume {For Horseback Riders}

I have been performing with horses for many years. I use treats as positive reinforcement in my training. Over the years I have tried to come up with clever ways to use treats during my performances without the treat bag looking frumpy or drawing attention. I have decorated old fanny packs and handbags that I have found at thrift stores, and used treat pouches designed for horseback riders. Most of them worked pretty well but they would either slide around on a belt, be too wide at the top and the treats would fall out, or they just felt bulky and in my way. This is my solution to the treat dilemma!

What You Need: 

  • A Canvas Bag (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby)
  • Your Corset (or you could use a wide belt)
  • Decorative Trim/Tassels
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun & Extra Glue
  • Decorative Buttons or Pendants (optional)
  • Fabric Spray/Glitter (optional)

Watch Video for Step-by-Step Instructions:

Do you love being creative with your horse?

Download the First Chapter of my new Fantasy Photo Shoots E-Book today!
Or you can go ahead and purchase the E-Book to get started right away.

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How to Decorate Your Horse's Bridle {Ribbon Browband Tutorial}

When I am performing I get asked a lot of questions...not just about riding, but more often the questions are related to my costumes and my horse's tack. I started performing when I was a teenager in the Isaac Royal Equestrian Theater. We put on a two hour long performance jam-packed with quadrilles, single routines, plays on horseback, and dancers. My fellow riders and I were in many routines so we learned how to change costumes QUICKLY and doll up our tack on a budget. 

Purchasing a fancy new bridle for a one-time photo shoot, performance, parade, or wedding can be expensive. This DIY project will help add some color, bling, and accessories to your horse's bridle. You can use this same browband technique on the noseband for a more dramatic effect. 

What You Need: 

  • Your Bridle (You will not be gluing directly to the bridle so it won't ruin it.)
  • Satin Ribbon 
  • Decorative Trim
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun & Extra Glue
  • Decorative Buttons or Pendants (optional)
  • Wire Flowers (optional)
  • Fake Flowers (optional)

Watch Video for Step-by-Step Instructions:

Do you love being creative with your horse?

Download the First Chapter of my new Fantasy Photo Shoots E-Book today!
Or you can go ahead and purchase the E-Book to get started right away.

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Magical Quotes about Unicorns and Fairytales with Beautiful Photography

We all want to believe in magic, fairytales, and of course....unicorns! I have chosen some of my favorite quotes and images for you to save and share on social media to inspire your friends, family, and fans. If you have a beautiful unicorn quote that you would like to share please go to the Fantasy Photo Shoots Facebook Group

I hope this collection of quotes inspires you. All of the images feature my horse Douwe the Amazing Friesian, he is my real-life unicorn. If you want to turn your horse into a unicorn click here.

Unicorn Quotes Inspiring Magic Imagination Henry David Thoreau flower girl fantasy fairytale Friesian horse Sandra Beaulieu Kimberly Chason.png
Fantasy Photo Unicorn Fairy Princess Medieval Friesian Fairytale Horse Magical Quotes Sandra Beaulieu.png
Fantasy World Quote Horse Friesian Unicorn Begin the Dance.jpg
Horse Quotes Richard Scott Equine Inspiring Unicorn Friesian Sandra Beaulieu Begin the Dance Motivation Success.png
Unicorn Quotes Inspiring Magical Legend movie flower girl fantasy fairytale Friesian horse Sandra Beaulieu Kimberly Chason.png
Be Fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire quote horse Friesian medieval.png

Ready to turn your horse into a unicorn?

Unicorns and horses are both creatures that fuel our imaginations, showing us a different way of being in the world, allowing us to be maidens, princesses, knights, and faeries.

What do you envision for your unicorn photo shoot? Something light and ethereal? Or perhaps something a little dark and mysterious? This blog post shares online resources for you to find the right Unicorn Horn for your photo shoot. 

How to Transform Your Horse Into a Unicorn - Where to Buy a Unicorn Horn Online

Unicorns and horses are both creatures that fuel our imaginations, showing us a different way of being in the world, allowing us to be maidens, princesses, knights, and faeries.

What do you envision for your unicorn photo shoot? Something light and ethereal? Or perhaps something a little dark and mysterious? It is unique to create a unicorn out of different colored horses, my Friesian looked amazing as a unicorn even though unicorns are not typically thought of as black.

Creative Inspiration

A few ideas for when having a unicorn would be useful:

  • Halloween costume

  • Portraits/Fantasy photos (for yourself or a client)

  • Think grandkids, birthday party photo prop, senior pictures, or social media (Instagram or Facebook!)

  • Craft project for the kids (summer camp, birthday party, after school program)

My favorite source for inspiration is definitely Pinterest.

Pinterest: I have over 15,000 followers on my Pinterest page with a variety of boards for you to get ideas from. Start with my "Unicorn Photo Shoot", "Fairy Inspiration ", and "Tack Inspiration" boards to get started. Click here for my main Pinterest page or select the board you want to see below:

The Unicorn Horn

For the unicorn horn, you have a couple options: you can either buy one, or if you’re feeling crafty, you can make one yourself!

There all sorts of unicorn horns available. There are fabric horns, plastic horns, glass horns, etc., and they range in length. If you have a pony, you may want to consider a shorter horn than you would use for a larger horse. Some horns even come adorned with flowers, gems, or beads. Generally, you will simply tie the horn onto your bridle/halter (either onto the brow band or onto the cheek piece and headpiece) using the ties at the base of the horn. Most horns you purchase will come with instructions.

You will also have color options. You can decide based on your horse’s coat color, mane and tail, costume, or your accessories. Personally, I like to match the horse's coat color as it looks the most natural. 

Many Etsy sellers will also work with you to create a custom piece that is unique to your needs.

Below are some of my favorite Etsy shops that sell affordable unicorn horns: 


Avry Couture Creations

Beautiful unicorn horn and flower crown sets for your photo shoot or wedding. Beautiful color themes with blush, lavender, silver, and gold. Comes in two sizes 8" and 11".  Visit store...


If Wishes Were Ponies

More expensive fabric unicorn horns but they offer a wider range of colors and custom sizes. If you have a very small pony or a large draft they can customize it for you. The Natural-Look Unicorn Horn™ attaches using either non-detachable or detachable loops and the Unicorn Browband comes attached to a browband.  Visit store...


The Unicorn Corner

These horns are made out of durable, lightweight plastic which is safe for horses and their handlers. Each horn in the Unicorn Corner studio is made from their original sculptures. They have a realistic spiral and a glittery finish. Three sizes available 7, 9, and 12 inch.  Visit store...


SuperAwwwsome

Handmade horns available in multiple sizes, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10,11 inches. They attach with ribbon or elastic cording. Unicorn horns come in a wide variety of colors. Visit store...


 

Baby Birdie Boutique

Affordable fabric unicorn horns with beautiful floral accents. Her horns come in 5', 8", 10" or 12" sizes and she also offers two attachments including an elastic band and a large french clip. Visit store...


The great horn that is between his eyes signifies that he is the supreme king.
— Book of Daniel VIII

If you have any questions about choosing a unicorn horn or you sell them online and would like to be added to this post, please send me an email at beginthedance@gmail.com.

Leave a comment below and share your experience or head over to the Fantasy Photo Shoots Facebook Group and share photos with the group. It is an amazing group of talented, creative people and you will have fun sharing your photos, getting ideas from others, and asking questions. Click here to go to join the group.

Up Next: DIY Glitter Hooves, Manes, & Tails!

Click here to learn a CHEAP and FAST version of Twinkle Toes for your horse...

Whenever I perform with my horse the first thing that everyone compliments us on is our use of GLITTER! I particularly love to make Douwe's or Rovandio's hooves gold, silver, or copper, whatever matches our costume. Everyone always asks how I get the glitter to stay on the hooves and on their manes and tails. So, I wanted to share this SUPER EASY secret to getting your own "cheap" version of Twinkle Toes!

Find the RIGHT Photographer for a Fantasy Photo Shoot with your Horse - Download the Resource Guide

It can be challenging to find a photographer that understands horses and also has a creative spirit. I created this resource guide to help you find a creative photographer near you. This guide will be updated regularly, just check back periodically for a fresh download. It includes multiple pages with photographers from the USA, Europe, UK, and Australia. If you are a photographer and would like to be added to the guide please email me at beginthedance@gmail.com. 

The image below is just a screenshot of the guide, please CLICK on it to go to the actual .PDF where you can download it for your own use or click on the links to learn more about the photographers.

Are you dreaming of a Fantasy Photo Shoot?

I have had many people ask questions about the photo shoots I have done with my horses.
I decided to pull together all my experience and resources to share with my friends and fans.
I am still in the writing process but you can download the first chapter for free to get started.

Fantasy Photo Shoots Free Chapter Download.png

Join the Facebook Group!

"Red Riding Hood" Fantasy Photo Shoot - Costume Ideas & Resources

Putting together a creative photo shoot with your horse can be a lot of fun but it also takes time and imagination! This particular idea took me two years to complete from start to finish. By the time my custom cape was ready the snow was all gone so I had to wait another year. I had to keep a close eye on the weather and wait for the perfect conditions, fresh snow on the ground, light snowfall in the air, no wind and decent temps (it was about 25 degrees the day of the shoot). It was worth the wait! 

I was inspired to try this shoot while browsing through Pinterest. My favorite photos were taken in the winter and I knew the dramatic color contrast would look great on Douwe, my Friesian. I have saved over 6,000 images to my Costume Inspiration board on Pinterest. If you are looking for costume ideas definitely check out my board! Click here.


Costume

The Red Cape: The most important costume piece! I searched around on Etsy to see what was on sale but my only choice was to have one custom made. I wanted it to have extra length so that when I rode the horse it almost hit the ground. Luckily, I know an amazing seamstress who lives locally in Dover-Foxcroft, ME. Her name is Rhonda Kirkpatrick. You can contact her at: rhonda@designersfortheatre.com. She found a great pattern for a monk's hood and cape that draped nicely over the shoulders. We had a hard time finding fabric because the red wool isn't readily available certain times of the year. I eventually found EXACTLY what I needed at Marden's, they had one roll left of this beautiful red wool AND matching cotton fabric for a liner! I was so excited! Lucky for me it was a fraction of the cost...I can't remember what I paid for it but I know that it was more than 50% off. Click on an image below to open a slideshow. The wool is gorgeous but keep in mind that it is quite HEAVY. It isn't always easy to manage but stays draped over the horse very well in motion.

A Beautiful Clasp: I wanted a beautiful, gold clasp at the neck to match the accents on my corset. After searching through JoAnn Fabric, ACMoore and online I was unable to find an actual clasp that would be large enough and strong enough to hold up that amount of fabric. What I did find were these plastic accessories in the clearance section at Hobby Lobby that were only .99 cents each! I used a gold Sharpie marker to doll them up and Rhonda sewed them onto the cape to look like a clasp! Voila! 

Black Leather Gloves: On a whim I stopped at Goodwill and found the most perfect pair of gloves!!! Soft black leather, insulated, just the right size, and long!!! They were perfect!

corset sandy.jpg

Steampunk Corset: I already owned this corset and I knew that I would use it for this shoot. I originally bought this online at www.corset-story.com to wear in the indie film Essential Realism. They have an amazing selection of corsets and I currently own three from their website. This corset is steel boned, making it harder to get into, you will need someone to lace you up! The less expensive plastic boning is more flexible but may not have the look you want.

White Blouse: My mother-in-law Bethanne is always finding unique costume pieces at Goodwill and gave me this beautiful blouse. It has a ruffled neckline, perfect to wear with the corset. I am always on the lookout for tops that have a unique neckline to wear with corsets.

Black Skirt: I bought this gypsy skirt online at www.moondancebellydance.com. I have 4 of these 25 yard skirts and use them all the time. They come in one size with a drawstring so it is very adjustable. You will need a circle skirt to cover your legs and your horse. I did not wear an underskirt in this photo shoot but I should have because I ripped it while I was walking around in the snow, the fabric is pretty gauzy and light. They have a wide variety of colors on their website.

Fur Belt: This piece of fur is actually a shrug that I bought for a previous winter photo shoot. It is meant to sit over your shoulders. It fit perfectly around my hips and added a nice touch! I bought it at JCPenney in their accessory aisle.


Hair & Makeup

I experimented with rag curlers for this shoot because I didn't want to spend hours curling my hair. I cut 1 x 8" strips out of an old tee shirt and used a pencil to help roll them up (I found instructions on Pinterest). Unfortunately the curls fell out slightly because of the snow/dampness. For makeup I did a basic smokey eye and red lipstick.

Click here for a blog post on How to use Rag Curlers: 
http://offbeatbride.com/rag-curls/


Tack

Bridle: I used a custom bitless bridle made for me by Lisa Oberman of El Sueno Espanol. She originally made this for the indie film Essential Realism. I wanted something simple but the accents on the bridle look great for this style of photograph. Click here to visit her Facebook page to see some of her amazing creations!


Photographer

Because this photo shoot was so dependent on the weather I needed someone that could be ready at the last minute. My best friend Lydia Rose Spencer lives at Isaac Royal Farm where we did the photo shoot (her mother owns the facility). She used a Canon 60D camera with a 18-135mm lens.

Please take a moment to visit her website http://lydiarosefineart.com/ and her Lydia Rose Art Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LydiaRoseArt?fref=ts to see her amazing collection of equine art.

Is That a Real Raven? While we were in the process of the shoot both Lydia and I remembered a photo we saw on Pinterest with a girl on a horse and a Falcon in her hand. We tried multiple poses with me holding my hand out, pretending to look at a bird. Lydia did an AMAZING job creating these images and just about everyone thought the raven was real! 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post! Please share your photos and videos with me so that I can see what you have come up with!

Do you love being creative with your horse?

Download the First Chapter of my new Fantasy Photo Shoots E-Book today!
Or you can go ahead and Purchase the E-Book to get started.

DIY Glitter Hooves, Mane & Tail for Your Horse!

Whenever I perform with my horse the first thing that everyone compliments us on is our use of GLITTER! I particularly love to make Douwe's or Rovandio's hooves gold, silver, or copper, whatever matches our costume. Everyone always asks how I get the glitter to stay on the hooves and on their manes and tails. So, I wanted to share this SUPER EASY secret to getting your own "cheap" version of Twinkle Toes!

Douwe's silver hooves at the 2014 Baroque Horse Show where we performed. Photo taken by Karen Lendvay.

Douwe's silver hooves at the 2014 Baroque Horse Show where we performed. Photo taken by Karen Lendvay.

What You Need:

  • Hoof Polish: I prefer black because it makes the hooves really stand out, but clear will work fine as well.
  • GLITTER: You can get glitter in many colors at any craft store, JoAnn Fabric, ACMoore, Hobby Lobby, and Walmart. You can just get the regular craft glitter. The fine glitter works really well for the mane and coat but I usually just get the large containers of big glitter.
  • Hairspray: Can(s) of Super Hold hairspray- you can buy this at WalMart, Walgreens, etc...
  • Latex Gloves: If you don't want to get the hoof polish on your hands, wear gloves!
  • Block of Wood: To help keep the hoof area clear of shavings or to protect the floor.

How to Apply Glitter to the Hooves:

  1.  Clean the hoof and leg- just brushing it off will do! You don't need to wash the hoof.
  2. Place the hoof on a piece of wood if you would like to keep shavings/dirt away from the drying polish.
  3. Apply the hoof polish to one hoof at a time.
  4. Sprinkle on the glitter immediately after you apply the hoof polish.
  5. Do one hoof at a time and wait until it dries, it doesn't take too long, maybe 10 minutes before you are ready to ride.
Elisha Harvey (putting on polish) is working with Hannah French (glitter girl) to make sure the glitter is added immediately for the best "stickage"!

Elisha Harvey (putting on polish) is working with Hannah French (glitter girl) to make sure the glitter is added immediately for the best "stickage"!

Putting glitter on Douwe's hooves at a show. Not a good idea to do this in your white costume!!

Putting glitter on Douwe's hooves at a show. Not a good idea to do this in your white costume!!

How to Apply Glitter to the Mane/Tail/Coat:

  1.  Groom your horse first! Do not use Show Sheen or the glitter will not stick.
  2. You might need someone to hold your horse while you spray, some horses don't like the hairspray, be careful!
  3. With the glitter in one hand and the hairspray in the other, spray a section of the horse and then sprinkle on the glitter.
  4. I usually spray, sprinkle, and then spray again over the glitter to get it to stay.
  5. The horse may shake his head after you are done, that is why we put on a lot of glitter! We usually keep in mind that half of it will fall off once the horse shakes or the skirts rub it off.
Having way too much fun at the Equine Affaire! Elisha Harvey and Hannah French were my assistants/grooms for the event and they made a great glitter team! Here you can see how much glitter they put in Douwe's mane!

Having way too much fun at the Equine Affaire! Elisha Harvey and Hannah French were my assistants/grooms for the event and they made a great glitter team! Here you can see how much glitter they put in Douwe's mane!

Elisha Harvey is one of Douwe's glitter grooms! Here she is adding more hairspray to his tail to help hold the glitter in....you can also see that she put glitter on his feathers!

Elisha Harvey is one of Douwe's glitter grooms! Here she is adding more hairspray to his tail to help hold the glitter in....you can also see that she put glitter on his feathers!

And you are done!

I would love to see photos of your horse all glittered up, make sure to post them on my Facebook page at Begin the Dance with Sandra Beaulieu or email them to me at beginthedance@gmail.com. Have fun!

Here you can see Douwe's hooves, feathers, mane, neck and tail all glittered and he is ready to perform! We are on our way to the Youth Pavilion at Equine Affaire to demonstrate Douwe's tricks in the Friesian breed demo.

Here you can see Douwe's hooves, feathers, mane, neck and tail all glittered and he is ready to perform! We are on our way to the Youth Pavilion at Equine Affaire to demonstrate Douwe's tricks in the Friesian breed demo.

Learn More about Fantasy Photo Shoots with your Horse