Watch Sandra and Douwe perform Amazing Trick & Liberty Moves in the Friesian Breed Demo at Equine Affaire 2017

Sounds of thunder hit the ground,
feathers flying all around,
Friesian black and Friesian bold,
giant spirit, gentle soul.

                          
 -Bethanne Ragaglia

Here are some highlights of Douwe's performance in the Friesian Breed Demo at the Equine Affaire. Here are some highlights of our performance in the Friesian Breed Demos at the Equine Affaire. I decided to try something different with Douwe this year, working him in-hand rather than riding him. It was a great training opportunity for us to work on focus and relaxation in a high-energy environment. Enjoy! Thank you to our sponsors Adams Horse & Pet Supplies for my ROMFH black breeches, you can't see them but I love wearing them while I perform! Enjoy!

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Watch Sandra and Rovandio perform as Pirates in the Andalusian Demo at Equine Affaire 2017

Noble Andalusians
bred to be a partner
through centuries of care
generous hearts and brilliant minds
make a lovely dancing pair.

                          
 -Bethanne Ragaglia

Here are some highlights of our performance in the IALHA (Andalusians and Lusitanos) Breed Demo at the Equine Affaire. Rovandio was wonderful as usual, he loves to perform! Make sure you watch his dramatic ending! Thank you to our sponsors Adams Horse & Pet Supplies for my beautiful Ariat Volante Boots and to El Sueno Espanol for adding more rosettes to our custom bitless bridle. Enjoy!

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Sandra & Douwe - Friesian Breed Demos - 2016 Equine Affaire

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul.
Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal."
                          -
 Mother Theresa

I was very proud of Douwe's performance in the Coliseum. He can get excited with larger audiences but he focused well and stole the show with his kisses, smiles, and wiggles. We also rode in the Mallory South building and he did well, but was not as relaxed. There isn't a proper warmup for the Mallory South building and waiting outside on the pavement isn't ideal for the horses to stay relaxed. I would like to extend a big THANK YOU to Danielle Barrasso for organizing the breed demos and for letting me stable with her in C-Barn. Enjoy this video of Douwe in the Friesian breed demos!

Steampunk Inspired Photo Shoot with a Train!

I am having such a great time with my new Fantasy Photo Shoots Facebook group. People are sharing some amazing photos and ideas with each other. I will be featuring some of these creative equestrians on my blog to help inspire you with ideas. Featured in this blog post is Heather Hayes. Heather and I met when I lived briefly in Ashford, CT. I asked her to share the behind-the-scenes details of her recent steampunk photo shoot. The rest of the article is in Heather's words...

About the Rider

I grew up the daughter of horse-loving parents! My mom grew up around horses and my dad was a trainer for over 50 years. I was on a horse before I could walk and never looked back!  My background includes reining, hunters, jumper, eventing, dressage and driving. I hold a BS in Equine Science and am certified for equine massage and myofascial work. 

About the Horse

Cinta de Seda (Sadie for short!) is a 2003 Azteca mare that I found totally by accident in 2009. She's absolutely brilliant, has a huge personality and loves to work every single day! Sadie has top 5 national placings in a variety of disciplines and has shown through Third Level dressage and Level 3 in Working Equitation. 

Heather Hayes with her Azteca mare Sadie.

About the Photographer

Melissa Ferrucci and I met thru the horse show world and have been friends ever since. She does photography as a hobby on the side and has a fantastic eye. Click here to visit her Facebook page.

Inspiration

I am NOT a fu-fu princess girl! My background outside of horses includes work for DOD (Department of Defense) and extensive exposure to firearms. I've been wanting to do a shoot that combines two of my passions and am glad to have finally had the chance! Additionally, I absolutely love the grit and feel of the TV series, Hell on Wheels and wanted to capture some of that vibe. I think we pulled it off pretty well!

Heather Hayes riding her Azteca mare Sadie. Photo taken by Melissa Ferrucci.

Costume

The hat and accessories are homemade, antique firearms are from our collection and the corset and skirt are from Damsel in this Dress. 

Hair & Makeup

I am the first to admit that I am incapable of hair and makeup. It's a good day if I wear lipgloss.  Hair and makeup were done by Jillian Labrie, click here to visit her Jillian & Company Facebook page. I can't say enough how great she is to work with and her background in the horse world made working with her on something like this super easy. 

Heather Hayes modeling with hair and makeup done by Jillian Laurie. Photo take by Melissa Ferrucci.

Tack

The bridle is just a training bridle and the saddle was my mom's wedding gift to my dad. After helping them both through serious health issues the last two years...well...I couldn't have used another saddle for this. That simple. 

Location

We were allowed to shoot at the Antique Machinery Museum in Kent CT. This is a fantastic place and open to the public for the cost of a small donation. Wonderful people, loads of history. 

Back to Sandra

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! To learn more about Fantasy Photo Shoots with your horse, check out my E-Book series!

"Sway" Routine at the Elysium Sport Ponies Open House

"Other dancers may be on the floor
Dear, but my eyes will see only you
Only you have that magic technique
When we sway I go weak
I go weak..."

                                              - lyrics from Sway by the Pussycat Dolls

This video was taken at the Elysium Sport Ponies Open House November, 2015. I was SO happy with this routine! As some of you know, I was injured the week before and wasn't able to practice. I decided last minute to ride to the song "Sway", one of my favorite songs that I performed to with Rovandio at the Equine Affaire last year. I knew the transitions of the music inside and out, and it has a fun, playful vibe. Enjoy our dance routine and please share with anyone else that would appreciate it. Thanks!

2014 Equine Affaire in Massachusetts

I am so pleased to report that both Douwe and Rovandio did AWESOME in their demos this year! I also had my own booth and was so thankful to have the BEST helpers during the event that not only made everything go smoothly but we had a BLAST, lots of laughs and memories! So here is a daily run through of what we did at the Equine Affaire 2014!

Thursday: Demo at the Youth Pavilion
I schooled both horses in the morning and was really happy that Rovandio had settled in okay and was eating and drinking a lot. This was his first time to the Equine Affaire and only his second time being away from home overnight. Both horses were energetic when I exercised them. Later in the day, Douwe was the featured horse in the Friesian breed spotlight in the Youth Pavilion. He performed many of his tricks including smile, Spanish walk, rear, and standing on the pedestal. He was wonderful! What a ham! Both horses were in the Breed Pavilion to represent the IALHA Booth (International Andalusian Lusitano Horse Assoc.) and the IFSHA (International Friesian Show Horse Assoc.) Booth. Rovy was very tired and mostly just chilled out in the stall but Douwe was a big HAM and smiled for the passing crowds for over two hours! He loved it! Click on a photo for a slideshow and hover over the image for a description.

Friday: the Andalusian Demo
Today was the big day for Rovandio! We had a four-minute time spot in the Andalusian Breed Demo all to ourselves. Originally we were supposed to perform with my friend Lydia who usually dances with us. I thought that would give Rovy more confidence in front of the audience and be more exciting with the veils and dancer. Unfortunately Lydia found out she couldn't make it only days before we left! So I changed songs and made up a simple routine to the song "Sway" from the movie Shall We Dance. I have always loved that song and it matched the Spanish-themed costume I had for Rovy. I tried really hard to get into the Mallory building in the off-hours to let Rovy look at the arena but the schedule was tight and it didn't work out. But, he went into that unfamiliar ring with the big crowd all by himself and was excellent! I was so happy with him and we had a lot of fun performing. We had so many wonderful comments from people about how we were really dancing together and how awesome it was to see a dressage horse being ridden bitless. We were riding in the Beta Bridle by Dr. Cook Bitless Bridle, who generously helped sponsor me at the Equine Affaire. Click on a photo for a slideshow and hover over the image for a description.

Saturday: the Friesian Demo
Douwe's big day! The Friesian Demo! I decided to use our pedestal as a way to help keep him focused if the audience made him nervous. It worked really well because when we first trotted around the arena he was tense and strong. After I had him step onto the pedestal he seemed to be more focused on me and his tricks rather than on spooking at the audience. He was expressive in his Spanish walk, reared a few times, and then I hopped off so that I could ask for the lay down. I am SO happy with him and how he performed throughout the event. Thank you Elisha Harvey for taking a video clip of the demo for me! Click on a photo below for a slideshow and hover over the image for a description.

Thank you to my sponsors!
Dr. Cook Bitless Bridle
They have supported me ever since I started riding Douwe and Rovandio in their bitless bridles. I have used their Beta bridles and the Padded English Leather bridles on both horses and like them both for different reasons. The Beta is easy to clean and is soft right out of the box. The leather bridle is awesome once the high-quality leather breaks in and has a lovely shine. I sell these bridles on my website in the TRAINING section. Click here to see the bridles.

El Sueno Espanol
Lisa Oberman has made two gorgeous bridle & breastcollar sets for me that I have used in two films that my horse has been in, one called Essential Realism and the other Falcyyr. You can read about these films in the Film & TV category on my blog. She is able to make custom bridles for me so I can keep riding them bitless in films and performances. She posts some gorgeous spanish saddles and tack on her Facebook page, click here to follow her.

Aanstadt-Das Deerskin Breeches
I have worn Sonya's deerskin breeches for many years and she recently made a custom pair for the film I am acting in called Falcyyr. To see photos of those breeches click here. I also wore a black pair of full seat deerskin leather breeches in my demos at the Equine Affaire. You can't really see them in most of the photos because I have big skirts on but the breeches kept me comfortable in the saddle. Click here to check out their website.

Thank you to my friends & family at the Equine Affaire!
Without the help of my friends/grooms Elisha Harvey, Sue French and Hannah French I think I would have gone crazy! There was so much to do with a booth and two horses at the event. Elisha does an excellent job trailering my horses to special events and she is also a dressage trainer and does cowboy mounted shooting at her stable Elysium Sport Ponies. Sue French operates Lincoln Pony Pals, lesson barn in Lincoln, ME and her daughter Hannah is an excellent rider and trainer. Having experienced help is so important! I am also very lucky that my mother Peggy and my mother-in-law Bethanne were able to come for the weekend. They helped sell products in my booth and Bethanne had a great time watching her horse Rovandio be in his first big demo at the Equine Affaire! And a big THANK YOU to Danielle Barrasso for letting me stable Douwe and Rovy in her aisle in the C-Barn. She also organized the Friesian Demo and helps me a lot at the event. Thank you to Brenda Hammer for organizing the IALHA booth and I had a great time chatting with her when Rovy was in the breed pavilion. Overall the event was a huge success and I had a great time!
 

Instagram | Friesian Douwe - Stretchy Trot & Rein-Back BRIDLELESS!

I just wanted to share this short video clip I did for Instagram. I was schooling Douwe bridleless and he was relaxed and consistently performing a nice stretchy trot. I judge schooling shows and it is surprisingly difficult to find a rider who can perform a good stretchy trot. Douwe prefers to work bridleless, because he doesn't like pressure. I have been working on more dressage training with him lately and I wanted to give him a fun day. We played on the pedestal and even worked in some flying changes without the bridle.

2011 Equine Affaire - Begin the Dance with Sandra Beaulieu - Face Painting

I thought it would be a great addition to my booth to offer artistic face painting. I was really busy on Friday and Saturday; I painted a total of 165 faces over the weekend! Luckily it wasn't too busy on Sunday so I was able to take a break and visit nearby booths. I really like painting on skin because it has a texture that makes it easy to blend the paints. I started each day painting my own face using a hand held mirror. That attracted attention as people would stop and watch, commenting on how difficult it must be to paint the image backwards. I had a lot of fun and it was well worth the effort to see all the kids' smiling faces! :)

Dressage horse with polo wraps.

Dressage horse with polo wraps.

This young girl wanted the same horse I had on my face.

This young girl wanted the same horse I had on my face.

Jumpers are fun because the kids can pick out what color they want on the poles.

Jumpers are fun because the kids can pick out what color they want on the poles.

The last day I got all fancy and did a quadrille on my face.

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