I hope you enjoy this creative video put together by my talented friend Ashley Mancuso of Ash Equine Productions. Everything in my life is intertwined, the dressage, liberty training, performing, and Art on Horseback. Each avenue offers a unique way for me to connect with my horses and explore my creativity. I hope that my journey can inspire others to pursue their dreams, no matter how different they might seem. Please connect with me (email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook), I would love to hear how you are using creativity with your horses. Enjoy!Read More
A dark bay mustang branded outlaw,
came to her from western skies.
A dark bay mustang from Nevada
fear and fire in his eyes.
- Peter Prince (lyrics)
The amazing success story of Cobra the Mustang just keeps getting better! My close friend Marsha Sapp and her mustang Cobra are inspiring thousands of people all over the world. Recently, they inspired song writer Peter Prince to write a song about Cobra and his journey! This music video shares their story. Please share with anyone you know that would be inspired by Cobra, Wild to World Champion. Enjoy!
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This was the first time Douwe and Sandra performed BRIDLELESS with the wings. These particular wings are taken from the art of bellydancing, referred to as the Wings of Isis. This video was featured on the popular website Little Things and currently has over 138,000 views!Read More
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.
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.
Sounds of thunder hit the ground,
feathers flying all around,
Friesian black and Friesian bold,
giant spirit, gentle soul.
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!
bred to be a partner
through centuries of care
generous hearts and brilliant minds
make a lovely dancing pair.
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!
This classic quote will always be relevant, to any horse lover. This lovely photo was taken by Kimberly Chason (Chason Photos & Art) of my Friesian gelding Douwe. My custom dress was made by Rhonda Kirkpatrick in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. Douwe's custom medieval tack was made by Lisa Oberman (El Sueno Espanol).
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When you dance, your purpose is not to
get to a certain place on the floor.
It's to enjoy each step along the way.
- Wayne Dyer
After a long hiatus from the dressage competition arena, I decided it would be fun to work on my USDF Freestyle Bronze Bar with Douwe and Rovandio. To earn this award, the rider needs two freestyle scores (above 65%) at First level, two scores at Second level, and two scores at Third level from recognized shows. Douwe earned both of our First Level scores and Rovandio earned both of our Second Level scores in one weekend! I am so proud of them, they seemed to enjoy themselves and I did too! Last week I shared Douwe's First Level Musical Freestyle inspired by the TV show Outlander (click here to watch). Here is Rovandio's Second Level Freestyle with recognizable music played by a pop violin band named Escala. I found them on Spotify and loved their renditions of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir", The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony", and Karl Jenkin's "Palladio". Enjoy!
Inspired to create your own musical freestyle? Enter your email below for my FREE downloads including a Musical Freestyle Checklist to keep you on track and Blank Choreography Pages to sketch your routines. You can also learn more about my Custom Freestyle Design and Freestyle Workshops. Click here.
Thank you Adam's Horse Supplies!
My new sponsors Adam's Horse Supplies generously outfitted me with new Ariat show boots, a Goode Rider show shirt, Toklat saddle pads, a ThinLine pad for Douwe, and a Micklem bridle for Rovandio for our freestyle debut.
Adam's is located in Winthrop, ME but has an excellent selection online and they offer incredible sales and discounts.
We dance for laughter,
we dance for tears,
we dance for madness,
we dance for fears,
we dance for hopes,
we dance for screams,
we are the dancers,
we create the dreams.
After a long hiatus from the dressage competition arena, I decided it would be fun to work on my USDF Freestyle Bronze Bar with Douwe and Rovandio. To earn this award, the rider needs two freestyle scores (above 65%) at First level, two scores at Second level, and two scores at Third level from recognized shows. Douwe earned both of our First Level scores and Rovandio earned both of our Second Level scores in one weekend! I am so proud of them, they seemed to enjoy themselves and I did too! If you watch the TV series Outlander you will recognize the music, the tempo and drama of the music really go with Douwe's stride. Enjoy!
Are you inspired to start working on your First Level musical freestyle?
My "how-to" e-book will take you through the creation process of your very own freestyle.
- 10 Fully Choreographed Test Patterns! Just Add Music!
- 37 pages of choreography!
- 7 Online Resources to help you find freestyle music.
- Creative freestyle questionnaire to help get your creative juices flowing!
- Freestyle checklist to help you stay on track.
- Blank arena diagram pages for you to take notes and draw your own choreography.
- Rules to remember, arena & sound requirements, copyright laws and more!
"Tale as old as time.
True as it can be.
Barely even friends,
Then somebody bends-
- Lyrics from Beauty & The Beast
My relationship with Douwe has certainly had its ups and its downs. It took many years before he trusted me and
started to enjoy his training. This song holds a lot of meaning for me in regards to our relationship. Douwe was angry and depressed when I first bought him, and over the years has become the goofiest horse I know with a huge personality! It just took some time to uncover what was already there, and to shed his past.
This video was taken at the Riding to the Top Therapeutic Riding Center in Windham, ME. This routine was very emotional for me; I was fighting back tears as we performed because Douwe was so in-tune with me.
This was our first time performing this new routine and it brought laughter and tears to the audience as well.
Don't miss Douwe's "singing" debut at the 4 minute mark!
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!
"Not all treasure is silver and gold, Mate."
-Captain Jack Sparrow
The video below is of Rovandio and I debuting our latest routine, "Pirates", at Elysium Sport Ponies in Atkinson, ME. I had an idea for Rovy to perform the Spanish walk to Captain Jack Sparrow's drunken sailor music from the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the rest of the routine developed from there. I definitely wanted to include Rovy saying pirate lines, so that is where you see him perform the "Argh!". At the end of our performance, I handed out "gold doubloons" for the kids in the audience and Rovy adored the pats and attention! Enjoy!
"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!
I love this quote, it reminds me to trust my intuition and remember that life truly is magical. Our relationship with our horse, a snowflake, a sunset, all of these things are special. The feelings we keep hidden, the skills and talents we possess, it's time to share them with the world. Please share this image and leave a comment below, what are you hiding?
"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!
I love watching the Outlander TV series and adore the soundtrack. The songs are dramatic, beautiful, and have a light-hearted quality that fits Douwe's personality really well. Douwe injured his knee a month before this event and I barely had a chance to ride him the week of the show. I brought Rovandio with us as a backup and ended up performing both of them and they felt great. I tend to be more creative on a deadline so I found myself putting together a brand new routine just days before the show, editing the music and pulling together a costume from my collection. I am so happy with how the routine turned out and Douwe really enjoyed himself. We even popped in a few tempi changes even though we haven't practiced those in months! The music gives me goosebumps to ride to and I am looking forward to the next time I can perform this routine.
Douwe has taught me so much about building trust with a horse that has a difficult background. He was depressed, grumpy, and uninterested in bonding with me when I first bought him. He had many homes and I don't think he ever had a "person" for himself. It took years before he would call to me in the pasture, enjoy his grooming sessions, and look to me for leadership. Developing trust is not easy but certainly an essential ingredient for a special partnership.This special photo was taken by Karen Morang at the FHANA Keuring event that we performed at in Somers, CT. I had just taken the bridle off to begin the bridleless part of our new "Outlander" routine. Scroll down to watch the video.
Here is the video of our performance at Shallowbrook Equestrian Center in Somers, CT.
I just love this photo of me with Rovandio and I was giddy when I found this cute quote by Diane Keaton to go with it. What I love the most about liberty work is that the horse's personality actually expands and blossoms the more they are allowed to have an opinion and engage in the dance. I also feel that my horses thrive when they know that I am having fun. I can see my horse's ears perk up when I laugh or giggle so I definitely don't hold back in the enthusiasm department. Positive praise and voice cues sometimes work better than any other aid and are the most gentle of all.