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.

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’

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!

Royal Vanidor, Lipizzan/Thoroughbred Performs with Bellydancer - 2008 Isaac Royal Equestrian Theater

"Forget your troubles and dance!"
                   -Bob Marley

I have fond memories of this routine- it was the first time that I performed with a dancer! My best friend, Lydia Rose Spencer is dancing. Lydia is also an amazing dressage rider and equine artist. I am riding Royal Vanidor, a Lipizzan/Thoroughbred cross gelding that was born and raised at Isaac Royal Farm in Dover-Foxcroft, ME. I started working with him as a weanling and trained him up through the dressage levels to Pre St. Georges before he died in 2008 due to a tragic vet error. It was devastating but at least I have some wonderful memories of the times we performed together. RIP sweet Vanidor, maybe someday we will dance together again!

Who are some inspiring horses from your past? Leave a comment below!

Behind the Scenes of Falcyyr: The Ride of the Valkyries!

The costumes turned out beautifully and Ahura and his film crew handmade the amazing armor pieces for the head, arms and legs:

left to right: Myself, Kaylee Clark, Lydia Spencer, and Elisha Harvey wearing our costumes for the first time. Photo taken by Unicovia Pictures.

left to right: Myself, Kaylee Clark, Lydia Spencer, and Elisha Harvey wearing our costumes for the first time. Photo taken by Unicovia Pictures.

I love this photo of Rovandio getting tacked up for filming. His tack was made by Lisa Oberman of El Sueno Espanol. Photo taken by Unicovia Pictures.

I love this photo of Rovandio getting tacked up for filming. His tack was made by Lisa Oberman of El Sueno Espanol. Photo taken by Unicovia Pictures.

Filming a scene like this takes hours of preparation. The film crew arrived at my house around 10:30 AM and we were ready to head over to the barn around 1:00 PM. I had bathed Rovandio in the morning while Lydia Rose Spencer and Kaylee Clarke schooled their horses. Elisha Harvey trailered her horse, Thor, over to Isaac Royal Farm around 10:00 AM.

We were each playing stunt doubles for the other actresses so most of the shots would avoid close-ups of our faces. Lydia had wigs from the Isaac Royal Equestrian Theater for her and Kaylee's characters that have black hair.

I was playing Sinari Diliiza's character as Brunhilda, head of the Valkyrie. She is the main character in the movie. I chose to ride Rovandio because he is more reliable and manageable than Douwe in open fields, galloping with other horses.

Lydia Rose on Zeppelin, leading the way up the pine trail. Photo taken by Unicovia Pictures.

Lydia Rose on Zeppelin, leading the way up the pine trail. Photo taken by Unicovia Pictures.

It was damp and chilly when we took the horses out to the woods and Elisha's horse Thor was quite hyper! He is normally a very lazy horse, but today he was ready to go and not fond of the repetitive walking scenes. We started by walking down the trail past the cameras many, many times so they could film the horses from multiple angles. It was great for the other horses to start out slowly and work our way up to the galloping scene. We did some trotting shots and also cantering our favorite trail we call "the Pines". This field is on my property and is picturesque with planted pine trees all around the slightly uphill trail. The leaves were covering the ground so it was still beautiful even though the trees were a little sparse from all the rain and wind we had last week.

The director, Ahura, had us stay side by side, starting from a halt, then a few steps walk, trot and away we went! The horses were well-behaved, though Lydia's Friesian mount, Zeppelin, through in a buck.

It is hard to see us but this shot shows us galloping by Ahura as he films the close-ups. Photo credit: Unicovia Pictures.

It is hard to see us but this shot shows us galloping by Ahura as he films the close-ups. Photo credit: Unicovia Pictures.

After the horses were done with the galloping scene he needed to get close-ups of the real actresses on the horses for their lines. It was interesting to watch the horses' reactions...when Ahura would say, "Action" they would stand perfectly still and almost hold their breath! It only took a few tries to get the scene the way he wanted it.

Awesome photo of Sinari Diliiza on Rovandio. She was the actress that I played stunt rider for in the galloping scene. Photo credit: Unicovia Pictures.

Awesome photo of Sinari Diliiza on Rovandio. She was the actress that I played stunt rider for in the galloping scene. Photo credit: Unicovia Pictures.

The horses were very patient and seemed content to much on grass in between takes. It was a lot of fun and I think everyone enjoyed it!

Filming the close-ups. Left to right: Ahura Diliiza filming, Kaylee Clark on Gambit, Lydia Spencer on Zeppelin, Sinari Diliiza on Rovandio, Taus on Thor and Elisha Harvey hiding while holding the horse! Photo credit: Unicovia Pictures

Filming the close-ups. Left to right: Ahura Diliiza filming, Kaylee Clark on Gambit, Lydia Spencer on Zeppelin, Sinari Diliiza on Rovandio, Taus on Thor and Elisha Harvey hiding while holding the horse! Photo credit: Unicovia Pictures


Falcyyr Movie: Filming with Douwe & Rovandio

So for our second day of filming (with the horses) we worked on the teaching scene. The director, Ahura Z. Diliiza, brought his filming crew to Isaac Royal Farm for the day. I bathed the horses first thing in the morning and then we had makeup/hair from 10:30-1:30 and filming from 2:00-6:00. It was a cold, windy day but the horses behaved very well and everything went smoothly. In the scene my character, Artemis, is instructing the main characters how to ride a horse. Douwe and Rovandio were very well behaved as the riders mounted and dismounted many times in the paddock area and out in the field. Sinari (who plays Brunhilda in the film, the leader of the Falcyyr) was able to ride Douwe by herself in the field and get some shots of her walking and trotting. With my help she was able to do some Spanish walk and even rear! She has had the most riding experience of the group and fulfilled her dream of riding a Friesian! The hardest part was the keep her from giggling when the camera was rolling! I was a little nervous when Sinari rode Douwe by herself in the field but Douwe had his game face on and stayed focused. He did an excellent job of posing for the camera and Ahura commented that he was a camera hog! We are filming a few more times with the horses and will hopefully get all the footage needed before the fall foliage is gone. To see more photos please visit the PHOTO GALLERY. A big thank you goes out to Lisa Oberman of El Sueno Espanol for designing and creating the beautiful bridle and breastcollar that Douwe is wearing. She designed it to match my costume and I think it looks amazing! I am also wearing custom deerskin breeches made by Aanstadt-Das Breeches that were made for the film. Click here to check out their Etsy listing for these specific movie breeches.

Check out more information about Falcyyr on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/falcyyr?ref=br_tf
Visit El Sueno Espanol on Facebook to see more of her gorgeous tack!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/El-Sue%C3%B1o-Espa%C3%B1ol/148004241927777
Visit Aanstadt-Das on Facebook to see more of their custom breeches!
https://www.facebook.com/aanstadtdasbreeches

Teaching Sinari how to ask for Spanish Walk...Douwe decided that he would like to do that instead of trot!

Teaching Sinari how to ask for Spanish Walk...Douwe decided that he would like to do that instead of trot!

Sinari had fun riding Douwe's rear while I asked from the ground. Douwe doesn't go up too high so it isn't as intimidating to ride.

Sinari had fun riding Douwe's rear while I asked from the ground. Douwe doesn't go up too high so it isn't as intimidating to ride.

Getting Douwe warmed up and used to his new bridle and breastcollar made by El Sueno Espanol.

Getting Douwe warmed up and used to his new bridle and breastcollar made by El Sueno Espanol.

Checking Sinari's stirrups. Isn't Douwe so cute!

Checking Sinari's stirrups. Isn't Douwe so cute!

Rovandio teaching his actress!!!

Rovandio teaching his actress!!!

First Day Filiming with Horses for FALCYYR

We finally had our first day of filming at Isaac Royal Farm for the independent film Falcyyr. This was the first time that the director, Ahura Z. Diliiza, his wife Sinari, and the other actors have visited with the horses. The first scene that he wanted to work on was having my character, Artemis, introduce the Falcyyr to the herd of horses. The weather was up and down all day and ended up being SOOOO cold and windy when we headed out to the pasture. Our teeth were chattering and our hands were freezing but the show must go on! :) We had a hard time getting the herd to come to us at first, even though they usually gallop over to anyone that calls them. It was one of those crazy weather days and the horses were a bit spooky and hyper. And it didn't help that we suddenly appeared at the top of the hill in funny costumes! But the horses had a lot of fun galloping around us and showing off for the camera. Eventually, they came right up over the hill and approached us perfectly, lining up so that there was one horse per person. The sun came through the clouds and created a magical setting. It couldn't have been planned more perfectly! The horses obviously knew what would look the best on camera! :) We will be filming scenes with Douwe and Rovandio in the coming weeks and hopefully finish filming before it gets too cold!! My costume isn't meant for freezing temperatures!

Make sure to like Falcyyr on Facebook to see more photos & updates:
https://www.facebook.com/falcyyr

Thank you to Aanstadt-Das for donating my gorgeous breeches for this film. Please visit their website to view their amazing selection of custom deerskin breeches.
http://www.aanstadtdasbreeches.com/

My character, Artemis, introduces the Falcyyr to the herd of horses. This is Shen, a Lipizzan/TB gelding taking the role as the herd leader.

My character, Artemis, introduces the Falcyyr to the herd of horses. This is Shen, a Lipizzan/TB gelding taking the role as the herd leader.

My character calling the horses to us. We were in the beautiful fields of Isaac Royal Farm where I keep my horse Douwe. The views are spectacular!

My character calling the horses to us. We were in the beautiful fields of Isaac Royal Farm where I keep my horse Douwe. The views are spectacular!

The weather was touch and go but the sunrays that came through the clouds were gorgeous!

The weather was touch and go but the sunrays that came through the clouds were gorgeous!

Filming us at the top of the field overlooking the herd of horses below. The clouds were so beautiful!

Filming us at the top of the field overlooking the herd of horses below. The clouds were so beautiful!

In the beginning the director, Ahura Diliiza, had us run to the top of the hill before we called over the horses.

In the beginning the director, Ahura Diliiza, had us run to the top of the hill before we called over the horses.

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!

Fantasy Winter Photo Shoot with Friesian and Warmblood Horses

My friend, Lydia Rose Spencer, and I brainstormed a photo shoot in the snow for the winter of 2013. I spend my winters in Florida and was leaving the week we decided on, so I asked Jesse Schwarcz (www.jschwarczphotography.com) to come back (she had done a shoot with my Frisian gelding, Douwe, and I a few days before). Of course it was extremely WINDY and cold, but we are both tough Mainer girls, so we charged ahead into the shoot anyway! (I put hand-warmers in my gloves, fit a turtleneck under my corset, and wore my thick winter breeches under my skirt.)

Costumes:

We found awesome fur shawls/hoods at JCPenney, as well as jewelry.

I wore a "Snow Queen" inspired outfit: a blue and white corset with a white shirt, white fur, and blue skirt.

Lydia wore a "Red Riding Hood" inspired costume and rode her chestnut Warmblood gelding, Valimar, with a mixture of red/black/and brown costume pieces.

Location:

We started in the indoor riding arena, and Jesse used the doorway to silhouette our figures. I had Douwe rear in the doorway, though he is not strong enough yet to move very high. Douwe also performed Spanish walk going out the doorway (shown above).

We went into a big field and took trotting and cantering photos towards the photographer. That was the moment the wind picked up, and I mean PICKED UP! It was an instant ice cream headache when we were facing into the wind and it was hard to see because the snow was getting blown around. It was well worth braving the elements, as the lighting was fantastic and the wind made for some wonderful snow effects.


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