Sandra Beaulieu - Ambassador for Adams Horse Supplies

I am proud to announce that I have a new partnership with Adams Horse Supplies, a tack shop located in Winthrop, ME. I am officially a part of their team as a sponsored professional. They have an extensive online catalog with an amazing selection of high-quality, top name brands, and generous sales and promotions.  

They recently outfitted me for a USDF dressage show with Ariat dressage boots (Volant model), a ThinLine pad for Douwe, a Goode Rider show shirt, and Toklat Originals saddle pads. They have also provided grooming supplies and accessories for my horses from companies like Cowboy Magic, Mountain Horse, Equine Couture, and more!

The staff at Adam's Horse Supplies has been very supportive and I enjoy working with them. They are all knowledgeable horse professionals, with the experience to help their customers choose the right products for their needs. I look forward to working with them and promoting their amazing brand.

Who They Are

Adams Horse and Pet Supplies is a woman-owned business, run by a staff of local Maine riders and pet lovers who want to bring high-quality products and pet foods to their customers. They test and use everything they sell so they can educate their customers and help them choose the products that are right for them and their pets. They are a small town business with small town values and can't wait to make you part of their family!  

 

My Top 5 Favorite Equine Artists

Lydia Rose Spencer

Not only is Lydia one of my close friends she is an amazing artist that I have watched develop her talents over the years. She works with all mediums, particularly acrylic, oil, and watercolor. She also paints beautiful people and pet portraits and has a unique ability to capture the essence of her subject. She is also an accomplished dressage rider and dancer (you can see her dance with Douwe & Rovandio in the video gallery). Here is a little blurb from Lydia's about page: "My art focuses mainly on portraiture of people and animals, I have always been drawn to faces because they are so complex in their ability to tell a story, human and animal. I love painting because it shows us the beauty in everyday life from the perspective of the artist." -Lydia Rose

Join Lydia on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LydiaRoseArt
Visit Lydia's website: http://lydiarosefineart.com/

Tony O'Connor

I am drawn to Tony's paintings because he does an excellent job at capturing the drama and emotion of each subject. He uses plain black backgrounds and also paints on linen (shown below). He has the ability to draw you into each painting and really feel the emotions of the horse. He is fun to follow on Facebook and posts quotes with his art that are nice to share. He also does an amazing job with other animals like deer/elk, dogs and people. I hope to meet him someday and see his art in person.

Follow Tony on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tony-O-Connor-Equine-Art/275031255420
Visit Tony's website: http://www.whitetreestudio.ie/

Elise Genest

I have been in love with Elise's work ever since I saw her booth at a dressage show many, many years ago. I love her style and how she can make the horse appear to leap off the canvas! She paints a lot of spanish-type horses which I love and sometimes uses poetry to add emotion. I have only seen her paint horses but she has so many paintings I can't even count them all! I am a big fan of using drips and raw edges with paint which she is able to do so perfectly. She is truly a unique artist and I know so many people that have said they wished they could paint like her!

Follow Elise on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elise-Genest-Arts-Chevaux/353785052785
Visit her website: http://www.elisegenest.com/

Morgan Cameron

I have known Morgan since she was quite young and learning to ride horses. I used to teach her lessons at Isaac Royal Farm many years ago and I love how she has blossomed as an artist. Besides horses she also paints other animals like ravens, foxes and owls. Her work is always evolving as she develops her style and finds her niche. “These subjects are so deeply routed within my past and soul. Even though each piece can be vastly different, they still relate to one another through their own roots. I want to resonate the emotion I get when I see, smell and feel these subjects in person to other viewers, as if they too had been present. I wish to create a sense of sentimental and nostalgic meaning within my work, and to one day capture the beauty in subjects that may otherwise have been passed by in person.” -Morgan Cameron

Follow Morgan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/morgancameronart
Visit her website: http://morgancameron.wix.com/morgancameronart

Jache Studio

The artist behind Jache Studio is Jennifer Brandon. She is an accomplished artist that has her own unique style. I have seen her at the Equine Affaire for many years and have always admired her loose, energetic style. Her artwork has been featured on the cover of the Equine Affaire program along with many other accomplishments. She is also fabulous at painting dogs, landscapes, and people. I love seeing her paintings in progress on her Facebook page, particularly when she works on a large canvas.

Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JacheStudio
Visit her website: http://www.jachestudio.com/

Can't Live Without My Mountain Horse Polar Riding Breeches!!!

For those of you who live in New England you will understand how AWFUL this winter has been! I feel like I live in the North Pole, right now the temperature outside is ZERO degrees but the 20 mph winds make it feel like -15! I have had to de-ice my horse's water buckets three-four times a day and on top of that the water faucet froze and I am carrying water further than my arms want to carry! Anyway.....enough complaining! While I am in the winter spirit I just thought I would share a product that I have used for many years to survive the harsh Maine winters. May I present..ta-da!... the:

Mountain Horse Polar Riding Breeches

I probably wear these pants at least 3 times a day, every time I head over to the barn and also when I go cross-country skiing, sliding, or head out on my snowshoes.

Pros:

  • Super warm!!!
  • Easy to ride in with a grippy seat.
  • Fairly easy to get your boots on with a button & zipper that starts at the bottom of the pants.
  • They look better than regular snowpants!
  • Easy to clean, just throw them in the washing machine.

Cons:

  • The seat seam is very fragile, I have re-sewn mine REPEATEDLY because they are not reinforced enough to withstand a lot of riding. I really wish Mountain Horse would address this.
  • To compensate for the weak seam in the seat I buy my pants one size larger than I think I will need. The extra room puts less pressure on the seam, is easier to put over breeches & boots, and there is no restriction while riding. The first year I bought these pants I picked the size that looked the best, was fairly fitted and would have been perfect for regular wear. But the second I got on my horse I knew they were too small because I could feel the restriction and then the seam kept coming apart. So I recommend trying a larger size and that should help them last a LOT longer.
  • Because I buy them a little large I have to wear a belt, a pain but it works.
  • I cut off the fabric & elastic that goes around your ankles, underneath the outer layer. I found it very irritating to keep adjusting and pulling it over my boots. But once I cut it off everything works great!

You can buy these snowpants anywhere that carries Mountain Horse products. They are online at Dover Saddlery, Smartpak, pretty much everywhere! If you want to take a look at the entire Mountain Horse collection you can visit their website: http://mountainhorseusa.com/

Wearing my Mountain Horse Polar Riding Breeches while teaching a clinic in Connecticut. Rider Melanie Stone on her sweet gelding Chester. Photo taken by Karen Lendvay.

Wearing my Mountain Horse Polar Riding Breeches while teaching a clinic in Connecticut. Rider Melanie Stone on her sweet gelding Chester. Photo taken by Karen Lendvay.

Bareback Dressage, Safety Tips To Get Started and My Top Bareback Pad Choices

I have many people ask me how they can start to incorporate bareback riding into their dressage work. I wanted to share some of my advice for getting started, including safety tips and also bareback pads to try.

Before You Begin:

How Is Your Balance?
Before you try riding bareback you should be able to comfortably, and confidently, ride in a saddle without reins or stirrups at the walk, trot and canter! Do you have independent balance from the reins? [To learn more, CLICK HERE]. If you ever catch your balance with the reins, it is not a good idea to try riding bareback. [To learn how to improve your riding position, CLICK HERE].

Does your horse have a good "WHOA"?
If you have a horse that is hard to stop, rushes, or is resistant or disobedient, I do not recommend riding bareback. Make sure to refresh your horse's response to your "whoa", on the lunge line or on the ground, before you ride bareback.

Has your horse been ridden bareback before?
Some horses have sensitive backs and may react the first time they are ridden bareback. Do not assume that your horse will behave the same as he does with a saddle. Have an experienced rider test out your horse if this is your first time. You may also want a person on the ground to hold your horse when you mount and to lead him.

Things You Might Need:

  • Full Seat Breeches: I recommend wearing full seat breeches to help you "stick". Horsehair can be slippery so you may feel more secure wearing full seat breeches. I love wearing deerskin breeches because the material breathes with the horse and provides stick without being too tacky. Check out Aanstadt-Das Breeches for an awesome selection of full seat deerskin breeches.
  • Mounting block: Unless you are super flexible and have the ability to leap onto the horse from the ground, then you will need a mounting block. Try a three-step for extra height. You need to have good balance and confidence to mount a horse bareback.
  • A helper. Make sure you have someone with you to hold the horse when you first get on. They could even lead you around at the walk to see how it feels and to help keep the horse relaxed and slow.
  • Enclosed riding area. PLEASE do not attempt riding bareback for the first time in an open field or arena with no walls. The best place to start is in a small indoor arena or a round pen, with all the gates closed.
  • A bareback pad. A good bareback pad helps with padding and "stick". The horse's withers can be uncomfortable unless the horse has a very round barrel. Having a bareback pad can help with horses that have pronounced withers. Usually the material on the underside has some stick to it, like a synthetic rubber. Be careful with the all fleece pads because they may slide around on a well-groomed horse. Do not use a bareback pad that has stirrups! The tree of a saddle distributes the stirrup pressure and without it you will be placing all of your weight into one spot on the horse's back.

Here are some great bareback pads:

ThinLine Bareback Pad:

I currently use the ThinLine bareback pad. It offers padding and has a rubbery material on the underside of the pad and the girth to keep it from sliding. It is simple and elegant. I have been using this pad for my Art on Horseback with Rovandio and in recent performances. There are a few places online that you can purchase this bareback pad. In my opinion, it is a great pad for people to get started with at a decent price. 

 

 

Sheepskin Bareback Pads:
You will find top-of-the-line sheepskin bareback pads online at HorseDream.co.uk. They have a variety of colors and sizes, including this beautiful Iberian style pad. They are in a much higher price range and I have not ridden in one yet but I would love to try one in the future. If anyone else tries them I would love to get your feedback. Just leave a comment below or send me an email at beginthedance@gmail.com.
 

Now What?

Now, get out there and ride! Once you have a good bareback pad and all the other suggested items, it's time to give it a try! Riding bareback will help improve your balance and reveal weaknesses in your riding that can be hidden by the saddle. I love to feel the horse's back muscles and check that I am sitting evenly on my seat bones. The horse's spine will help you feel whether you sit centered or not. Be sure to stay aware of whether your horse is enjoying the bareback experience, or not. You will feel the incredible sensitivity of the horse and the amazing connection you can have without the saddle. Even if you just practice at the walk, try lateral work and transitions. Feel how you can transition your horse from your seat and have the horse follow your weight in turns and circles. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or email me at beginthedance@gmail.com. Be safe and have fun!

Hide your helmet hair, protect yourself from the sun, AND make a statement all at the same time! Let everyone know that you love horses and believe that riding is a dance.

Aanstadt-Das Custom Breeches for Falcyyr Film

I want to thank Sonya Bergstrom of Aanstadt-Das Breeches for making these gorgeous deerskin breeches for me to wear in the film Falcyyr. These breeches really complete my costume for my part as Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt. I have worn Sonya's breeches for many years and I LOVE the feel of a deerskin full seat. All of her materials are so comfortable and stretch in all directions. The deerskin is non-restrictive unlike other fullseat materials and it lasts forever. She sells her custom breeches on Etsy and has created a special listing for these movie breeches so you can buy your own pair!

Click here to see these breeches on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/195930658/aanstadt-das-1k-falcyyrmovie-metallica?ref=listing-13

Click here to join Aanstadt-Das Breeches on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/aanstadtdasbreeches

Follow the film Falcyyr on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/falcyyr

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/

Amazing Oat Tarts made by Oats Any Time

I had to share these amazing oat tarts made by my friend Lisa Giulianelli who owns Oats Any Time (OAT). I met Lisa through the Top Gun Entrepeneur Program this winter and she is so nice, positive and fun to be around.

O.A.T. Fruit Filled Crumb Tarts contain 12g of Protein, 45g of Whole Grains and are a good source of Soluble Fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, Magnesium & Selenium. These all aid in Healthy Hearts, Lower Cholesterol, and Weight Control and Help Prevent and Control Type II Diabetes. 

"My favorite is the apple cinnamon flavor!!" -Douwe

"My favorite is the apple cinnamon flavor!!" -Douwe

My personal favorites are the strawberry and blueberry flavors! I am hungry just thinking about them! One oat tart is like having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast!

Lisa uses only the highest quality nutritional ingredients; Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats grown with “pedigreed” seed stock and tested with an R5 ELISA gluten test to ensure the absence of gluten. Whole Almonds loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Pure Macadamia Nut Oil, both delicious and healthful, is 80% monounsaturated and free from trans-fat and cholesterol. “Nothing But Fruit” filling. 

I am addicted to these oat tarts and Douwe loves them too! Lisa gave me some extra tarts for Douwe...here he is eating one for the first time!

Silver Lining Herbs Kidney Support Supplement

I wanted to share a wonderful product that I have been giving Douwe to help with his kidney issues. When I discovered that Douwe was experiencing discomfort related to his kidneys, I went searching online for supplements that might help with detox and kidney support. I was fortunate to find Silver Lining Herbs and their Kidney Support #37 supplement. This company produces high quality herbal supplements with years of experience and a long list of veterinarian recommendations. Here is the product description from the website:

Kidneys are another area where today's horses are put under extreme stress with a chemical environment. The kidneys primary function is to cleanse the blood and produce urine, which excrete wastes; due to the critical and body-encompassing nature of this job, improvement in kidney function will help restore and relieve a wide range of systems and symptoms. #37 Kidney Support helps maintain optimal kidney function, and may be beneficial in:

  • General bladder and kidney issues
  • Bone issues, such as calcium deposits, spurs, navicular etc
  • Behavior issues such as general crankiness, poor haulers, general discomfort
  • Performance issues such as avoiding hard stops and turns
  • Fluid retention, "stocking up" in lower legs
  • Looking at sides, abnormally frequent lying down, acting colicky but won't roll
  • Mineral buildup in kidneys
  • Muscle degeneration
  • Soreness in back, joints or feet, or tight muscles
  • Tendon, ligament or joint issues
  • Toe pointing
  • Won't relax, especially while being ridden

Active Ingredients: A proprietary blend of Marshmallow, Uva Ursi, Barberry, Garlic, Kelp, Parsley, Dandelion, Chamomile, Hydrangea and Juniper.

I bought the 60 day supply bag and am currently going through bag #2. Douwe's second saliva test showed that his kidneys are healing and that he is not experiencing discomfort anymore. When I contacted the company they recommended 1-2 bags but said that most horses do not need to stay on the supplement, it is meant to detox and heal the kidneys but isn't always needed once the process is complete. I have definitely noticed a big difference in Douwe's attitude and how he feels under saddle. I highly recommend this company and specifically this product.

Sandra Beaulieu Dressage - 365 Days of Tao, Daily Meditations

I received the book, 365 Days of Tao, Daily Meditations, as a gift from my mother-in-law, Bethanne Ragaglia. I thought today's meditation was appropriate for dressage riders; it talks about devotion.

"If we have devotion- total faith and commitment to our spiritual path- our determination will naturally build momentum. Fewer and fewer obstructions will come before us. Our path becomes like a crooked one made straight. No matter what tries to keep us from our purpose, we will not be deterred.

Proper devotion lies not simply in a headlong course. It also requires fortitude. Our bodies, our hearts, and our spirits must be totally concentrated upon what we want. Only by uniting all our inner elements can we have full devotion.

If we see our path clearly and our personalities are completely unified, then there is no distinction between the outer world and the inner one. Nothing is faraway anymore, nothing is not open to us. That is why it is said that the world is like a single point. So strong is devotion that there is nothing that is not part of it." ~Deng Ming-Dao

To truly master the art of dressage requires a lifetime of devotion, hard work, and time in the saddle. It also asks that we be humble, aware, and listen to the horse.
— Sandra Beaulieu

What do you think of this excerpt? Does this relate to anything in your life requiring devotion? Share with the Begin the Dance "tribe" and leave a comment below!

Sandra Beaulieu - Electrodermal Screening for Horses

I had my Friesian gelding, Douwe, tested to see if he had any deficiencies or health issues using Computerized ElectroDerman screening. I have had electrodermal screening done on myself with wonderful results, learning numerous things about my adrenal glands and that I had a magnesium deficiency. I then took prescribed homeopathic remedies and supplements to help balance my body. I had Douwe's hair sample tested by Claudia Garner and his saliva tested by Cheryl Bergstrom, the same woman I was tested by. Douwe was prescribed Bach flower remedies for his past emotional issues (Rock Water, Wild Oat, and Rescue Remedy) and some tissue salts to help with his muscle endurance. Amazingly, I noticed an immediate change in his personality; he seemed happier and more lighthearted. He tends to be introverted and can be less sweet than other horses I have worked with. When I first bought him he seemed depressed and didn't want me to pet him or give him my attention. Over time, he has come out of his shell and I continue to learn new things about who he is, daily.

I highly recommend Claudia Garner's testing to anyone wishing to gain more insight into their horse's well-being

More information about ElectroDermal Screening:

"CEDS is a technique registered with the U.S. Federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as “Galvanic Skin Response”. The computer is classified as a Class II device. CEDS balances the meridians with energy or harmonic frequencies. CEDS focuses heavily on homeopathy, Herring's Law and Homotoxicology.

Meridian Stress Assessment (MSA) is used to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the horse's energetic health and balance.  This process involves measuring electrical conductivity at responsive points (meridian points) on the skin.

According to European medical research, acupuncture points are related to the body's organs and organ systems.  Major groups of points are connected through channels, or meridians. As a result, stress associated with the corresponding organs can be surveyed using the indicated points.  If stress values are above or below equilibrium, the System's extensive computer database will allow consideration of a wide range of possibilities that might help the horse regain a healthy balance.  The MSAS allows consideration of thousands of herbal, homeopathic, and nutritional products, as well as toxins, viral intrusions, bacteria, pesticides, water contaminants, heavy metals etc. Overall, an MSAS provides a completely non-invasive method for gaining valuable information about the body's vital functions."

 

 

 

Sandra Beaulieu - Product Review - Genesis Organic Grain

I started feeding my horse Douwe an organic grain because of all the warnings I have heard about commercial horse grains and genetically modified corn. When I was at the Equine Affaire I met Liz Norfleet who was a distributor for Genesis Organic Grain made in Canada. She gave me information and samples to take home with me. I was very excited because I had not found an organic horse grain on the market. I am very happy to say that the tack store closest to me, Katahdin Trail Saddlery, is now carrying this grain at their location in Newport, ME. You can contact them at 207-368-5599 to order.

Reasons to go organic:

(taken from the Triple N Equine website)

  • WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION...       Foods in their natural form are the richest source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phyto- nutrients, 'live' enzymes, 'good' bacteria, and antioxidants.

     

  • 100% USDACERTIFIED ORGANIC...     A rigorous approach to quality... GENESIS is free of toxic chemicals that are proven to cause harm to animals.  Consistent... No hidden ingredients - critical to a horse's fragile digestive system.

     

  • HIGHLY EFFICIENT... FEED LESS GRAIN...Est. Digestible Energy is 3200 kcal/kg vs conventional at approx. 2400 kcal/kg.  So higher calorie count, less grain!

     

  • NUTRIENT DENSE... FEED LESS GRAIN...Whole food is more nutrient rich than processed food.  There is much better absorption of nutrients as there are no fillers or chemicals.   There is an increased therapeutic effect from much smaller quantities of nutrients in whole food nutrition vs. processed foods.

     

  • HUMAN GRADE INGREDIENTS...The highest-quality ingredients available...WHOLE OATS (low lignin for easier digestibility), BARLEY, PEAS, FLAX SEED & FLAX MEAL.   The perfect balance of high-quality carbs, protein & fat.
  • LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX for Healthy Blood Sugar
  • STAGED RELEASE OF ENERGY for longer duration.  Oats, Barley, Peas...high-quality carbs, different rates of digestion.  All contain resistant starch which acts very much like a fiber and helps maintain healthy blood sugar.
  • BETTER IMMUNE SYSTEM, LESS ALLERGIES, LESS DISEASE.  REDUCE THE RISK OF COLIC AND CHRONIC DISEASE.

     

  • SYNERGY...There is a synergy between the substances found in whole foods that provide a dynamic physiological response!

 

Spirit Horse Recycled Fleece Hoodie

These hoodies are made of recycled polyester and organic cotton. They are SUPER SOFT and addictive to wear to the barn, to school, to town, basically everywhere!

"Spirit Horse" Recycled Fleece Hoodie - Featured in Horse Illustrated - December 2010 Issue

Of all the products that I submit to magazines like Dressage Today and Horse Illustrated, the hoodie gets chosen consistently. The quality of the hoodie is obvious when you put one on. When you wear them and wash them and wear them again they maintain their fit and feel. I have been wearing my hoodie daily, if not at the barn and around town, I wear it around the house and to bed if it is chilly!

Spirit Horse Recycled Fleece Hoodie

These hoodies are made of recycled polyester and organic cotton. They are SUPER SOFT and addictive to wear to the barn, to school, to town, basically everywhere!