Sandra Beaulieu - Art on Horseback Live Painting Demo Benefits Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Program in Maine

Photo credit: Sun Journal reporter Daryn Slover

Photo credit: Sun Journal reporter Daryn Slover

Rovandio and I performed a live painting demo at the Healing Through Horses Professional's Expo held in New Gloucester, ME. 100% of the money raised from the sale of this painting went to Healing Through Horses. It is a non-profit organization that offers equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP). 

This was a memorable experience for me, since it was the first time my mother and grandmother were able to watch me paint in person. I also used my new art easel that was creatively built by my husband. We only had 40 minutes to create a painting from start to finish, with all the extra distractions that come with performing. It was a challenge to figure out all the logistics and I couldn't have done it without the help and support of my friends Elisha Harvey, Holly Baily, Taylor Burdin, and Sarah Kach.


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

Congratulations Holly Bailey for winning the online auction for this painting! 100% of the sale went to Healing Through Horses towards their program and updating their facilities. Holly is one of my close friends in Tallahassee, FL. We had a lovely presentation dinner at Backwoods Crossing for Holly and her family and friends. She is now the proud owner of an Art on Horseback painting.

Sandra Beaulieu - Art on Horseback Live Painting Demo Benefits Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation Ranch

Photo credit: Kimberly Chason of chason photos & art

Photo credit: Kimberly Chason of chason photos & art

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". Click here to read more about them.

Congratulations to Kathryn Gladwell for placing the winning bid! I got to know Kathryn over the winter months in Tallahassee, FL and I am so pleased that this painting is in her hands. 

This was a special experience for me since it was the first time Rovandio and I have painted before a live audience. We only had 45 minutes to create a painting from start to finish, with all the extra distractions that come with performing. It was a challenge to figure out all the logistics and I couldn't have done it without the help and support of my close friend Marsha Sapp. Thank you Marsha!

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

photo credit: kimberly chason of chason photos & art

photo credit: kimberly chason of chason photos & art

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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.

Rovandio's First Time off the Farm!

Rovandio (aka Rovy) is owned by my mother-in-law, Bethanne Ragaglia. She has owned him since he was young and never needed to trailer him anywhere. This year (2014) I wanted to start taking him to shows with my Friesian gelding, Douwe, and using him for exhibitions. I wanted to make sure that he wouldn't be overwhelmed by the trailer or develop anxiety over the trailering process. My good friend, Elisha Harvey, trailered Douwe and Rovy to her barn, Elysium Sport Ponies, a few miles down the road from where Douwe and Rovy live, for me to see how Rovy would react to being off the property. With grass in his hay net and Douwe by his side we made the short trek to Elysium.

Rovy was a little excited when he unloaded but settled in like he had lived there forever! I was amazed at how well-behaved he was. I wasn't planning to do much with the horses, other than to let them free in the ring and take the time to relax, but within 5 minutes they were ready to do something. We practiced our routine where I ride Rovy and Douwe is at liberty. Elisha and Bethanne took some photos for me; her indoor ring has a lot of light so we were able to get some good shots. It was such a wonderful experience!

Begin the Dance with Sandra Beaulieu - The Ulcer Saga: Products & Treatment I Used to Heal My Friesian Horse

October of 2013 my Friesian gelding, Douwe, colicked and I frantically tried to figure out the cause. He was eating fine, he looked great health-wise, but he hadn't been feeling good under saddle. We had been training for an independent film that we shot at the end of September (2013) that involved cantering up hills and through fields. Not particularly difficult training, but I learned he was dealing with pain in his kidneys so the exercise and anticipation caused an ulcer. He had been feeling slightly off in his right hind, nothing that I would consider lame but something I noticed. I thought he might need a chiropractor because his hips do tend to go out sometimes. I learned that lameness in the right hind can come from a stomach ulcer because the pain will be more towards the right side. I have learned a lot about ulcers, because Douwe did not show typical symptoms and he stoic and hard to read, like many Friesians. People have asked me what I have done to treat him and I wanted to share some products and resources that might be helpful.

Diagnosis:
I didn't want to trailer Douwe to a vet clinic to be scoped because that would require a long trailer ride, which would cause him more stress. The downside was that my equine insurance wouldn't cover the cost of treatment if he wasn't scoped. 

I was able to get confirmation with a saliva test (Computer Electrodermal Screening) and his blood test also showed signs of a stomach ulcer.

Symptoms:
Slight lameness in the right hind.

Difficulty going forward and bending. 

Poor performance and a depressed attitude.

He did not show some of the classic signs, which include: girthiness, finicky eating or not eating, poor coat or weight loss.

Medications:

I changed his diet and put him on Omeprazole. After three days of GastroGard my vet recommended trying the less expensive version of Omeprazole and using that for the rest of the month. The first day I gave him the "cheaper" version he became very bloated and I knew he was in distress. I stayed with him all afternoon and watched him closely. I did not give him any more of the Omeprazole.

I tried Ranitidine, which is another ulcer medication. It is less expensive, but you need to give the pills 2-3 times a day in the feed instead of a paste that lasts 24 hours. Douwe seemed to respond well to it and I treated him for 6 weeks, tapering him off at the end. I had him re-tested recently at the end of March and it showed that his stomach ulcer and kidneys were almost healed and that he did not need any more medication!

Natural Treatments & Supplements:
Here are a few products I used in addition to the Ranitidine.

  • Aloe Vera Juice- 1 cup a day from November to February. This was recommended by my chiropractor/vet and she said it helps to calm the stomach. I bought jugs of it at my local health food store but you can also get it at Walmart or a local pharmacy.
  • SmartGut Ultra- started in November and will stay on this supplement from SmartPak. I really like this supplement because it has everything recommended in it. You can read the list of ingredients and purchase it here...https://www.smartpakequine.com/smartgut-ultra-pellets--10990p
  • Raw Pumpkin Seeds- one handful each day from November to January. I really liked giving him these but they were a little expensive to get from the health food store.
  • Oat Flour- 1/2 cup a day from November to March. Oat flour is very good for the horse's hind gut in case they have an ulcer there instead of the stomach. I purchased this at the local health food store.
  • Alfalfa Pellets- I feed him the pellets instead of grain. I took him off the organic oats I was feeding him and replaced it with the pellets. I also gave him 2 cups of pellets before I rode him to make sure his stomach had food in it to keep the stomach acids from splashing around, which can cause an ulcer.
  • Beet Pulp- We soak beet pulp pellets overnight to feed morning and night. The beet pulp works great in the winter to give them extra water and to mix in the supplements.
  • ProBios- I had him on the extra probiotics while he was getting the medications. You can purchase ProBios at Tractor Supply or any tack store. Good for any horse to help digestion.

What experiences have you had with ulcers? How did you treat them? Please leave a comment below and feel free to share this post!