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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"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?

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"Wings of Isis" Routine Featured on LittleThings.com

I was contacted by Paul Morris, a writer for www.littlethings.com, about featuring the video of my Friesian gelding, Douwe, and I performing our "Wings of Isis" bridleless routine. I was thrilled to be included on their channel among other positive, creative, and inspiring stories! It is my hope to inspire as many people as I can, especially young girls that are just as horse crazy as I was - and still am! Please help me share my appreciation to LittleThings.com by visiting the link below and "liking" the video on their page. Thank you so much!

Here is an excerpt from the article:
"Using the most loving and caring of training techniques, Beaulieu has created a whole new school of thought in the world of dressage dancing. Ensuring that the horse's experience is as positive as the rider's, she often rides with bitless bridle, on a bareback pad, and sometimes even completely bridle-less; these horses are all treated with the love and respect they deserve to be given." -Paul Morris, LittleThings.com

To read the rest of the article, watch the video, and see other inspiring videos on LittleThings.com please click here. http://www.littlethings.com/horse-wings-dance/

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

Awesome Website for Costume Corsets

Would you like to dress up with your horse? Need a corset for your costume? I found this website last fall and have ordered at least 3 corsets from them already. Their steel boned corsets are really high quality and I love the way they look. The only downside to a steel-boned corset is they are impossible to get into by yourself! You need someone to help lace you in and it can be quite an ordeal! They also have corsets for every budget and sell different styles like steampunk (my favorite!) and burlesque. Check them out, I highly recommend this website!! Here are a few photos of the corsets I have purchased from them and incorporated into recent costumes. Elisha Harvey is also wearing a corset from their website (in the first photo).

Check out their website: http://www.corset-story.com/