Beautiful Dancer SAILS with Andalusian Horse

"When I dance, the sun sails safely through the night;
When I dance, the future is formed by my feet;
When I dance, the stars move through the heavens;
When I dance, Venus shimmers the desert;
When I dance, dust becomes silver, stones are made of gold!"
Cosi Fabian
 

This video was shot back in 2013. I am riding Rovandio (Andalusian/Lipizzan gelding) bitless with my good friend, and dancer, Lydia Rose Spencer. The footage is from Isaac Royal Farm in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, a picturesque setting. The video was created by Alan Dillingham, the director I worked with on the indie film Essential Realism, Frost Bite and a short film called Invasion. It was a COLD and WINDY day but Rovandio was excellent. I was planning to ride Douwe but he wasn't quite himself so Rovy filled in and was superb. Only one day to practice with Lydia dancing and he figured it out in a snap. Make sure you see the part where Lydia defies gravity in her split leaps at the 2 minute mark! Enjoy!

Art on Horseback - First Day Painting on Horseback!

What an exciting day! In 2012 I was inspired with an idea- a way to combine my two passions, dressage & art, into one. The first painting from horseback day I wanted to get Rovandio, a Lipizzan/Andalusian gelding owned by my mother-in-law, used to the hanging canvas, the table of paints, and the idea of going back and forth in front of the canvas. In addition to basic walk, trot, and canter I also use the piaffe and rein-back to work on the canvas. Rovandio is well-suited for this project because he is compact, smooth to ride, and sensitive. My Friesian gelding, Douwe's stride is too big and he isn't fine-tuned enough for me to do this.

I will be starting my first real painting soon and will be taking plenty of photos & video of the process to share with everyone. I am so excited to bring my vision into reality!

Practicing my brushstrokes while Rovandio does the piaffe.

Practicing my brushstrokes while Rovandio does the piaffe.

Working on my technique with Rovandio at the Spanish walk.

Working on my technique with Rovandio at the Spanish walk.

Done for our first day!!! Can't wait for my next painting session!

Done for our first day!!! Can't wait for my next painting session!

Rovandio and Douwe Perform Together at Safe Haven Farm

To dance is to be out of yourself.
Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.
~Agnes De Mille

 

I am so pleased to share this video because it was Rovandio's first time performing away from home and the first time for all three of us to perform a liberty routine! Rovy was SUCH a good boy, relaxed, focused and loved the audience. Douwe did really well but had a few moments where he decided to do his own thing! But that is the challenge with liberty training and performing, I have to follow Douwe's lead as much as create the routine myself and be ready to adjust at a moment's notice. I can't wait to try it again! Enjoy!

Sandra Beaulieu Performs at Safe Haven Farm with Douwe and Rovandio

Rovandio & Douwe. Photo taken by Kim Stone.

Rovandio & Douwe. Photo taken by Kim Stone.

What a wonderful first outing of the year! Douwe, Rovandio and I traveled to Safe Haven Farm in Durham, ME for their annual open house. There was a full schedule of great horses and riders from the area including jumping demos, sidesaddle dressage, cowboy mounted shooting, jousting, and much more. I rode Rovandio with my good friend Lydia Rose dancing in our first routine and then did a liberty ride with Douwe and Rovandio. This was Rovandio's first overnight trip away from home and he was wonderful. He was a little nervous and unsettled in his stall but when he got out in front of the audience he was 100% focused and relaxed. Last year the demos were in the large outside arena but the weather forced the riders and audience into the smaller indoor. We practice in a fairly small indoor arena at home anyway so the space wasn't an issue. The only hard part was that there was no warm-up and I only had a couple minutes to get on Rovy, do a few rounds of trot and canter and then start. I wasn't able to practice any of our harder movements so we could have done a much better job in the routine. But I was SOOO pleased at how relaxed Rovy was and how much he loved performing. There was absolutely NO tension in him at all, he knew what we were supposed to be doing and he watched Lydia dancing as well.

Good boy Douwe! Photo taken by Annette Begin Masselli.

Good boy Douwe! Photo taken by Annette Begin Masselli.

In my second routine I rode Rovandio with Douwe at liberty in the arena. This was the first time I have shown any of our liberty training in public. I have had such a fun winter working these two horses together and every day they come up with new moves and teach me how to stay in the moment. Rovy was so relaxed that I was able to use my bareback pad on him (I am also riding him in a Dr. Cook Bitless Bridle). I prefer riding him in the bareback pad because I can feel his movements and keep his back swinging. Douwe was a really good boy except that he wanted to roll so he was a bit distracted...in hindsight I should have just let him roll at the beginning and then he might have focused better! But I knew that he would be happy to lay down so I was able to put that into the routine even though I hadn't planned on it. Most of the moves I hoped to show involved Douwe going on the pedestal which he usually LOVES to do but today he wanted to roll instead. Haha so you never know what you are going to get!! I want to thank Jennifer Poulin-Novaria for having her open house each spring and giving local riders the opportunity to perform for the local community.

Douwe & Rovandio, Winter Training

To keep things fun and interesting this winter I did a lot of liberty and trick training with Douwe and Rovandio throughout the cold winter months. They are both incredibly smart but Douwe is scary smart! He loves learning new tricks and performing them on his own. When I finally brought the pedestal back to the barn this winter Douwe went and got on it all by himself, he owns that pedestal!

Douwe and Rovy sharing the pedestal while Douwe gives me a gives me a big smile.

Douwe and Rovy sharing the pedestal while Douwe gives me a gives me a big smile.

I also rode him with a bareback pad all winter so I could practice my sitting trot and really feel what was going on underneath me. Douwe seems the happiest when there is the least amount of tack involved, bitless, bridleless, bareback, and at liberty. Inspired by other performers that I enjoy like Guy McLean and Frederic Pignon I started riding Rovandio with Douwe at liberty. Mostly I wanted to ride them together so it would be more fun and I could spend more time with each of them. They live together so they are very well behaved. Douwe is the boss but Rovy has become more confident with him over time. Here is a video of them after only a few days...they did a great job!

As the months progressed we started to figure out some new moves to perform together. I swear the horses make up most of the interesting ones! Douwe is an interesting horse because he likes to be the boss and basically set the stage for the routine. I have to be clever to feel what type of movement Douwe might try next and then offer that voice command so it is "my idea". I really feel like the three of us create this spontaneous dance every time we work together. It is so much fun to just let go and be creative in the precense of these dramatic animals. They love the recognition and take pride in their work.

Douwe practicing how to lay down on a rug.

Douwe practicing how to lay down on a rug.

I have also been doing some new tricks with Douwe, he has learned how to give kisses really well and to pick up things. Douwe loves to use his mouth and he has BIG lips so it was a little touch and go at first for him to give kisses. But he is so smart, he picked it up in no time and now I just make the kiss noise and he gently gives me a kiss. Such a cutie. Rovy is getting better at the smile but hasn't started the kiss yet. We have a demo coming up in a few weeks and I am hoping to perform with the two of them for the first time! This will be Rovy's first time off the property,  my first time performing a liberty routine and their first time performing together. A lot of firsts! I will share photos and videos for sure.