From Wild to World Champion... Be Inspired by Cobra the Mustang - Breyer Model 2017

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!

Follow Cobra's Facebook Page!

FOLLOW COBRA THE MUSTANG ON FACEBOOK. CLICK HERE.

FOLLOW COBRA THE MUSTANG ON FACEBOOK. CLICK HERE.

How to Stay Motivated and Inspired as you Create Your Dressage Musical Freestyle

Creating a musical freestyle takes time. You may begin the process all gung-ho and then find that your motivation lessens as time passes.

So far on your freestyle journey you have clarified your goals, decided on a course of actiongathered your resourcesfound your BPMs, and started the music search

Whenever I feel a lack of inspiration I spend some time doing the following:

Go to a Show

If you have the opportunity to attend a live event that will help spark your motivation. Even a local schooling show with one freestyle can motivate you. Watching a fellow rider in the ring, showing their finished freestyle is encouraging. 

Make plans to attend a big show if you live near high-profile showgrounds like Saugerties, NY or Tryon, NC. Are you making plans to attend the World Equestrian Games coming up this September (2018)? Regional and National Championship shows typically showcase the freestyles in the evening for the enjoyment of the audience. 

Watch YouTube

This is by far the quickest way to get motivated and spark some new ideas. I have saved individual Playlists for each level and would love your help to add more. If you have a video you would like me to add, please post the link in the comments below, email me at beginthedance@gmail.com, or post your video in the Create a Dressage Musical Freestyle Facebook Group.

Training Level 

Many of you will be designing your very first freestyle at Training Level. There aren't that many movements to choose from, making it a creative challenge to work with less. Click here to begin watching the Playlist. If you would like to see my personal favorites with commentary click here.


First Level

Combining leg-yields and lengthened gaits makes this level a little more complicated, but fun at the same time. Click here to watch the Playlist. If you would like to see my personal favorites with commentary click here. This is the first level that counts towards the USDF Bronze Freestyle Bar.


Second Level

The canter simple changes at Second Level can be a challenge to match to the music but the lateral work can really look like the horse and rider are dancing together. Click here to watch the Playlist. Scores at Second Level count towards their USDF Bronze Freestyle Bar.


Third Level

This level starts to get more interesting for the audience with the addition of half pass and flying changes. Scores at this level count towards the USDF Bronze Freestyle Bar. Click here to watch the Playlist.

 


Fourth Level

Riders at Fourth Level have the opportunity to earn their USDF Silver Freestyle Bar. Since there are no musical freestyles at Prix St. Georges, all of your qualifying scores are at Fourth. Click here to watch the Playlist


Intermediare

Intermediare is a challenging level to choreograph but fun to watch! Riders at this level can earn scores towards their USDF Gold Freestyle Bar. Unlike the lower levels, the Intermediare Freestyle does not include the highest test of the level (Intermediare 2). The piaffe, passage, and one-tempis are saved for the Grand Prix. Click here to watch the Playlist.


Grand Prix

Even if you are riding a lower level freestyle you can gain a lot of ideas and inspiration from the Grand Prix riders. There are a lot of videos in this Playlist...Olympics, World Cup, etc. Be inspired by the best! Riders at Grand Prix can earn scores towards their USDF Gold Freestyle Bar. Click here to watch the Playlist.


Join a Community

Being a part of a group of like-minded riders is helpful to stay inspired and get encouragement.  If you have been taking part in the Seven Day Freestyle Challenge you have been sharing your freestyle "homework" with the awesome ladies in the Create Your Dressage Musical Freestyle Facebook Group

You can also join a few other Facebook groups called Musical Freestyle (Dressage Kur) and Musical Freestyle Dressage. If you find any other fun, positive groups online please let me know in the comments below or email me at beginthedance@gmail.com.

There are two online forums that you can ask questions and interact with other members on the topics of musical freestyle. These are the two that I recommend, the Chronicle of the Horse Forum and the Definitely Dressage Observation Lounge Forum.


Join the Seven Day Freestyle Challenge!

The purpose of this challenge is to help you overcome the biggest hurdle keeping you from the show arena...getting started! The challenge will help you gain momentum with small, daily action steps, inspiration, and encouragement to continue. You don't have to do this challenge in seven days, you can take as much time as you need. However, I do recommend that you go in order to follow the natural progression of your journey.  

Action Step for Today:

Go to the Create a Musical Freestyle Facebook Group and let us know how you stay inspired. Perhaps you will share a freestyle video that inspires you, a Facebook group or Online Forum you have joined, or an upcoming show you plan to attend. Enter "Challenge Day Seven" into the Search Bar to find the post for you to share and engage with others.

Awesome job! You are close to completing the Seven Day Freestyle Challenge!

Download My Free Resources

Stay organized with my Musical Freestyle Checklist and begin sketching choreography with my Blank Arena Diagram Page.

Freestyle Free Downloads.png

Browse my Freestyle E-Book Store

Learn how to create a musical freestyle from start to finish or choose an e-Book with choreography ideas just for your level.
Click here to view all Freestyle e-Books.

Related Articles

Turn the Music Up! Begin the Search for Your Dressage Musical Freestyle Music by Picking a Theme...

Now for the fun part! This is usually the part of freestyle creation that everyone seems to enjoy. Searching for music can be exciting. However, it could be overwhelming if you don't know where to begin. That is what we will focus on today.

Before you search for your freestyle music you will want to clarify your goals, decide on a course of actiongather your resources, and figure out your horse's BPMs. By knowing your horse's BPMs you will spend less time on your music search.

You can use a smartphone app to check songs on the fly, save songs on an app like Spotify, and shorten the amount of time it takes to find songs for your walk, trot, and canter. 

You might already have a particular band, song, or soundtrack that you are particularly fond of. If you starting from a clean slate, use this list to help you brainstorm ideas. 

> Match Your Horse's Breed:

Your horse's breed might lend itself to a particular genre of music.  Think about where your horse's breed originates from, and the history that goes along with it. 

If you ride a Mustang you might choose music that sounds like the wild west or a movie soundtrack like Spirit. If you ride a Baroque horse (Andalusian, Lusitano, Lipizzan) you might like classical, flamenco, or spanish style music. 

> Favorite Movie & T.V. Soundtracks:

Riding to popular movie soundtracks will engage your audience/judge, reminding them of the emotions they felt when they watched that movie.

I chose music from the Outlander soundtrack for my Friesian horse Douwe. I love the T.V. series and I was lucky that the music matched his gaits. Click here to watch our First Level Freestyle that has over 9,000 views on Facebook! 

> Favorite Bands & Popular Songs:

Is there a particular song on the radio that you just love? Lyrics are discouraged in the show arena (unless they lend a special quality to the performance) but you can find a variety of cover songs and remakes online.

Search the song name on ITunes and Spotify and you will typically find instrumental versions. Some of my favorite groups that create instrumental songs from modern music are Vitamin String Quartet, Eklipse, and The Piano Guys. You can also find remakes of your favorite songs from the 70s, 80s, etc. 

> Favorite Genre of Music:

Are you a huge fan of the 80's? Maybe you love classical music and opera. There are so many genres to choose from. Narrowing it down to one genre may not be as specific as a particular band but it will be a great start! 

When you think of your favorite style of music keep in mind how it makes you feel. Gravitate towards music that gives you confidence and keeps you focused, some music can create a lot of excitement that might translate into tension at a horse show.

If you haven't started already, I hope this article inspires you to begin your music search. Putting together your own musical freestyle is a challenge but well worth it in the end.


Join the Seven Day Freestyle Challenge!

The purpose of this challenge is to help you overcome the biggest hurdle keeping you from the show arena...getting started! The challenge will help you gain momentum with small, daily action steps, inspiration, and encouragement to continue. You don't have to do this challenge in seven days, you can take as much time as you need. However, I do recommend that you go in order to follow the natural progression of your journey.  

Action Step for Today:

Go to the Create a Musical Freestyle Facebook Group and share the theme you have chosen for your freestyle music. Remember, this is just a starting point...you might end up with something completely different so don't worry if you tell the group one thing and end up with another. It's all part of the journey! Enter "Challenge Day Six" into the Search Bar to find the post for you to share and engage with others.

Awesome job! You are further along than most people! Keep going! I will be there to cheer you on and you will have fun connecting with other riders that are taking the challenge as well. 

Download My Free Resources

Stay organized with my Musical Freestyle Checklist and begin sketching choreography with my Blank Arena Diagram Page.

Freestyle Free Downloads.png

Browse my Freestyle E-Book Store

Learn how to create a musical freestyle from start to finish or choose an e-Book with choreography ideas just for your level.
Click here to view all Freestyle e-Books.

Related Articles

Time to Count your Steps...your Horse's Steps that is! How to Figure out your Horse's BPMs for your Musical Freestyle...

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle.  Click here.

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle.  Click here.

After you have clarified your goals, decided on a course of action, and gathered your resources, you will need to figure out your horse's BPMs. 

I get asked about BPMs (beats per minute) frequently from riders who need help finding freestyle music. They know that they need to figure out their horse's bpms but aren't quite sure what that means or how to go about it. It is actually quite simple once you give it a try. I have included a few different methods, hopefully one of them will work for you!

Why You Need To Figure Out Your Horse's BPM:

Every piece of music has it's own beats per minute. When you match your horse's bpm to the music's bpm you can feel confident that the music will match. Of course, there is more to it than just matching the bpm (picking a theme, matching personality, and whether your horse enjoys it as well) but is a good place to start. 

Items You Will Need

  • A Timer or Cell Phone (with one of apps listed below)
  • Leg Wraps - use one easy-to-see color
  • Video Camera (optional)
  • A Helper/Assistant

Start by wrapping one of your horse's front legs with a colored polo wrap. You only need this one wrap but the leg will show up better in a video if all the legs are wrapped with just one that is brightly colored.

Learn how to find your horse's BPMs for your musical freestyle.

Learn how to find your horse's BPMs for your musical freestyle.

I suggest that you warm up first so that you can be sure to have the best representation of your horse's working gait.

Every time that front leg touches the ground at the walk or trot, you will count it as one “beat”. At the canter, you count the leading foreleg as one “beat” when it strikes the ground.

Use a Timer

Using a stopwatch or the timer on your cell phone, have your assistant set the timer for one minute. Have them count the number of footfalls (of that one foreleg) while you ride your horse in a consistent working walk, trot or canter. As long as the horse stays steady and your helper is a good counter (haha) you will have your bpm. You may want to take an average after multiple tries.

Use an App

Have your ground person use a metronome app on your phone, adjusting it up or down until the “beep” sound of the metronome matches the footfall of the wrapped leg. Some good apps to try are EquiTempo and Metronome.

OR

Have your ground person use a BPM app, tapping the screen every time your horse's front leg touches the ground. It will give you the average bpm within a few strides, try it a few times to double check consistency. I have been using the BPM by Cheebow  for many years.

Take A Video

Take this opportunity to have your assistant video your horse at a consistent walk, trot and canter. Make sure to include your working gaits and lengthened/extended movements. Stay in each working gait for at least one full minute. You can count the footfalls from the comfort of your own home on your computer. The video will also be helpful for you to test out different pieces of music.

Here are some basic BPM guidelines:
Walk- between 50-65 BPM
Trot- between 75-90 BPM
Canter- between 95-110 BPM
Passage/Piaffe- between 60-65 BPM

*Generally the canter is twice the beats of the walk and the trot lies somewhere in between.


Join the Seven Day Freestyle Challenge!

The purpose of this challenge is to help you overcome the biggest hurdle keeping you from the show arena...getting started! The challenge will help you gain momentum with small, daily action steps, inspiration, and encouragement to continue. You don't have to do this challenge in seven days, you can take as much time as you need. However, I do recommend that you go in order to follow the natural progression of your journey.  

Action Step for Today:

Go to the Create a Musical Freestyle Facebook Group and share your horse's BPMs for his/her walk, trot, and canter. Enter "Challenge Day Five" into the Search Bar to find the post for you to share and engage with others.

Awesome job! You are further along than most people! Keep going! I will be there to cheer you on and you will have fun connecting with other riders that are taking the challenge as well. 

Download My Free Resources

Stay organized with my Musical Freestyle Checklist and begin sketching choreography with my Blank Arena Diagram Page.

Freestyle Free Downloads.png

Browse my Freestyle E-Book Store

Learn how to create a musical freestyle from start to finish or choose an e-Book with choreography ideas just for your level.
Click here to view all Freestyle e-Books.

Related Articles

What Software Should You Use to Edit Your Freestyle Music? Gather Your Resources...Part Two

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle.  Click here.

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle.  Click here.

After you have clarified your goals and decided on a course of action, you will need tools and resources to begin your freestyle journey. The internet has made the freestyle creation process a lot easier, with more programs and tools being added all the time.

In Gather Resources - Part One we went through online resources related to Free Downloads, Books & eBooks, and Smartphone Apps. Today we will focus on Music Editing Software, YouTube Video Tutorials, and local resources. Even if you are on a tight budget there are resources, mostly free!,  to help you edit your freestyle music. 

I hope that these online resources help you take action towards your freestyle goals. This blog post is Day Four of my Seven Day Freestyle Challenge. Scroll to the bottom of the post for information on how to join.


Music Editing Software

Find online resources to edit your dressage freestyle music. Click image.

Here are some popular programs that are used by amateurs and professional freestyle designers. Send me an email (beginthedance@gmail.com) if you have found another useful program that you think I should be added to this list.

> Garageband My current software of choice. It is easy to use and works seamlessly with ITunes. Only available on Mac.

> Audacity Probably the most popular FREE software that will work on all computers.

> Logic Pro X The next step up from Garageband. Only available for Mac.

> Adobe Audition Creativity in the cloud, there is a monthly fee but you also have access to other Adobe programs.

> Music Maker  Previously known as Sound Forge, was bought out by Magix. They have a free trial to use the software.
 


Dressage Musical Freestyle Video Tutorials YouTube online resources Begin the Dance Kur Design.png

YouTube Video Tutorials

I regularly save freestyle videos and tutorials on my YouTube channel. If you find a video that I have not saved to a playlist please send me an email (beginthedance@gmail.com) so I can add it.
 
> How to Edit Music using Audacity YouTube playlist with Video Tutorials

> How to Edit Music using Garageband YouTube playlist with Video Tutorials

 


Local Resources

Dressage Musical Freestyle Resources Music Editing Software Kur Routine DIY how to day four.png

In addition to online resources, I encourage you to look into options that might be available to you locally. 

> Family & Friends: Perhaps your son is really good on the computer? Check with your horse friends and see if any of them are tech savvy. Maybe you could barter some riding lessons for their editing skills! Be creative!  

Local High School: Meet with your local music teacher to see if they have the ability to edit music. Your school may have a computer class that could include your freestyle as a class project.  

Nearby University: Pay a college student to edit your music. Try posting a want ad on a local community board or coffee shop where the tech-savvy folks hang out. Some college student would probably appreciate the opportunity to earn a little extra money.  

Professional Musician: If you know someone who records their own music they will certainly have the skills to edit music. Check out some local bands in your area. Don't worry about the genre of their music, it is the editing skills you need. 

Freestyle Designer: You can reach out to a few professional freestyle designers and see if they would be willing to edit your music separate from the choreography. Most designers want to be involved in the entire process or they may have suggestions for your music choices and choreography.


 

Join the Seven Day Freestyle Challenge!

The purpose of this challenge is to help you overcome the biggest hurdle keeping you from the show arena...getting started! The challenge will help you gain momentum with small, daily action steps, inspiration, and encouragement to continue. You don't have to do this challenge in seven days, you can take as much time as you need. However, I do recommend that you go in order to follow the natural progression of your journey.  

Action Step for Today:

Go to the Create a Musical Freestyle Facebook Group and share a resource that you have decided to use. Take action (download a software program or talk to a local resource) and let the group know which resource you chose and why.  Enter "Challenge Day Four" into the Search Bar to find the post for you to share your path and engage with others.

Taking action on smaller decisions will help gain momentum towards the larger goal of finishing your freestyle. I will be there to cheer you on and you will have fun connecting with other riders that are taking the challenge as well. 

Download My Free Resources

Stay organized with my Musical Freestyle Checklist and begin sketching choreography with my Blank Arena Diagram Page.

Freestyle Free Downloads.png

Browse my Freestyle E-Book Store

Learn how to create a musical freestyle from start to finish or choose an e-Book with choreography ideas just for your level.
Click here to view all Freestyle e-Books.

Related Articles

Ready to Take Action Towards Your Dressage Musical Freestyle? Time to Gather Resources...Part One

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle.  Click here.

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle.  Click here.

After you have clarified your goals and decided on a course of action, you will need tools and resources to begin your freestyle journey. The internet has made the freestyle creation process a lot easier, with more apps and tools being added all the time.

I have broken down my favorite resources into five categories: free downloads, books, apps, and video tutorials, and local resources. There are a good variety of free and paid resources, even if you are on a tight budget you will find what you need to work on your freestyle. 


Free Downloads

I would love to add more free resources to this list. If you are a freestyle designer or if you have found some helpful free downloads online, please send me an email (beginthedance@gmail.com) so I can add them here. 

> Stay Organized with a Complete Musical Freestyle Checklist - Free Download - Scroll to the Bottom of this Page

> Begin Sketching Choreography with my Blank Arena Diagram page for sketching Choreography - Free Download - Scroll to the Bottom of this Page

> Looking for a freestyle designer? Check out my blog post with a complete list of Freestyle Designers in the USA.


Freestyle Books & e-Books

I would love to add more books and eBooks to this list. If you have read a helpful freestyle book or you have written one, please send me an email (beginthedance@gmail.com) so I can add it here. 

Dressage Musical Freestyle - From A to Z, an eBook to guide you through the Seven Phases of creating a Musical Freestyle. Written by Sandra Beaulieu (me!).

> Choreography eBook for Training Level with 26 pages of choreography ideas and 10 pre-choreographed routines to choose from. 

> Choreography eBook for First Level with 37 pages of choreography ideas and 10 pre-choreographed routines to choose from.

> Choreography eBook for Second Level with 35 pages of choreography ideas and 10 pre-choreographed routines to choose from. 

> Dancing With Your Horse written by Libby Anderson and Leigh Ann Hazel-Groux. Hardcover written in 2003.

> Dressage to Music: Build a Freestyle From Choreography to Competition written by Claire Lilley. Hardcover written in 2008.


Dressage Musical Freestyle Smartphone Apps online resources Begin the Dance Kur Design.png

Smartphone Apps

Here are some popular apps to help with the freestyle process. Most of these apps are available on both iPhone and Android but I have only included links to the iTunes store. Send me an email (beginthedance@gmail.com) if you have found another useful app that you think I should be added to this list.

> USDF EquiTests 1 - Have the USDF Freestyle Tests available for quick reference.

> BPM by Cheebow - Use this app to find your horse's BPM (beats per minute) and to check the BPM of individual songs.

> EquiTempo - Use this app to practice riding to a consistent beat, acts as a metronome. 

> Spotify - Use this app to search for freestyle music and save playlists.

> EquiSketch Dressage - Use this app to draw and save freestyle choreography on your phone. 


Join the Seven Day Freestyle Challenge!

The purpose of this challenge is to help you overcome the biggest hurdle keeping you from the show arena...getting started! The challenge will help you gain momentum with small, daily action steps, inspiration, and encouragement to continue. You don't have to do this challenge in seven days, you can take as much time as you need. However, I do recommend that you go in order to follow the natural progression of your journey.  

Action Step for Today:

Go to the Create a Musical Freestyle Facebook Group and share a resource that you have decided to use. Take action (download free resource or download an app) and let the group know which resource you chose and why.  Enter "Challenge Day Three" into the Search Bar to find the post for you to share your path and engage with others.

Taking action on smaller decisions will help gain momentum towards the larger goal of finishing your freestyle. I will be there to cheer you on and you will have fun connecting with other riders that are taking the challenge as well. 

Download My Free Resources

Stay organized with my Musical Freestyle Checklist and begin sketching choreography with my Blank Arena Diagram Page.

Freestyle Free Downloads.png

Browse my Freestyle E-Book Store

Learn how to create a musical freestyle from start to finish or choose an e-Book with choreography ideas just for your level.
Click here to view all Freestyle e-Books.

Related Articles

What Path Should you Choose for your Musical Freestyle? DIY? Custom? A little bit of both? Learn the Pros and Cons...

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle.  Click here.

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle.  Click here.

After you have clarified your goals and defined a timeline for your freestyle you will need to decide which path to choose. Do you have the time and energy for DIY freestyle or would you rather pass along the task to a professional?

There are a variety of ways to complete a musical freestyle but for the sake of simplicity I have broken it down into three paths to help you narrow your focus.

Here are the pros and cons of the three Freestyle Paths you might choose from:

Do-It-Yourself - Slow & On a Tight Budget

Creating a musical freestyle can be a very rewarding experience. On the flip side it takes a lot of time and energy, especially if you are new to freestyle design. That is why I have taken the time to write Dressage Musical Freestyle - From A to Z, an eBook designed to guide you through the process. Interested? Click here. 

Pros:
* Cheapest Option
* Learn the Process
* Edit as Often as you Like (especially after each show based on judge's commentary)
* Express your Creativity
* Feel a Sense of Accomplishment

Cons:
* It can be Frustrating
* It will probably take a lot Longer
* You will probably run into Tech Issues
* You will face Setbacks
* You may not reach your Show Deadline

Learn how to design your very own Dressage Musical Freestyle. Click here

Learn how to design your very own Dressage Musical Freestyle. Click here

With Some Help - Fast on a Moderate Budget

This is the route I see many adult amateurs take. They want to stay on a budget but are not quite capable, or confident, to put in the extra time to learn the tech side of freestyle design. Typically, riders will outsource the music editing because they are not familiar with editing software. It is a smart decision considering the learning curve can be quite frustrating! I have ideas and resources to help you during this process and choreography eBooks that take the guesswork out of choreography design. Click here to learn more.

Pros:
* Learn the Process
* Outsource the Parts you Don't want to Do
* Outsource the Part you Don't have the Skills to Do
* Express your Creativity
* Feel a Sense of Accomplishment

Cons:
* Costs more to purchase Pre-Made music or Hire Help
* You may run into Tech Issues
* You may not reach your Show Deadline
* You may have Trouble finding good Help

Save Time and Energy - Go with a Custom Freestyle

If you are a professional rider that is too busy with training clients and competitions, this is your best option. Adult amateur riders that are competitive and going to a lot of recognized shows will also benefit from a professional's touch. Every designer has a unique creation process and style to their freestyles. I personally am drawn to soundtracks that evoke strong emotions for the rider, the audience, and the judge. My Outlander inspired freestyle has over 9,000 views on Facebook. Click here to watch.

Pros:
* Works with a Busy Schedule
* Great Option if you Lack Creativity
* Takes the Worry out of the Process
* Can be a lot of Fun to test out the Music and Choreography
* Additional Support and Encouragement

Cons:
* Most Expensive
* Can be Frustrating waiting on the Designer
* You may end up on a Waiting List during busy Seasons
* You may have to pay for additional Edits and Changes

I hope that diving deeper into the Pros and Cons of each Freestyle Path has helped you decide on the best course of action for you. This blog post is Day Two of my Seven Day Freestyle Challenge (description below). Click here to begin with Day One.

Join the Seven Day Freestyle Challenge!

The purpose of this challenge is to help you overcome the biggest hurdle keeping you from the show arena...getting started! The challenge will help you gain momentum with small, daily action steps, inspiration, and encouragement to continue. You don't have to do this challenge in seven days, you can take as much time as you need. However, I do recommend that you go in order to follow the natural progression of your journey.  

Action Step for Today:

Go to the Create a Musical Freestyle Facebook Group and share your chosen freestyle path. Enter "Challenge Day Two" into the Search Bar to find the post for you to share your path and engage with others.

Announcing your path helps you focus on your goal without being overwhelmed by too many options. I will be there to cheer you on and you will have fun connecting with other riders that are taking the challenge as well. 

Download My Free Resources

Stay organized with my Musical Freestyle Checklist and begin sketching choreography with my Blank Arena Diagram Page.

Freestyle Free Downloads.png

Browse my Freestyle E-Book Store

Learn how to create a musical freestyle from start to finish or choose an e-Book with choreography ideas just for your level.
Click here to view all Freestyle e-Books.

Related Articles

Ready to Create a Dressage Musical Freestyle? Clarify Your Goals to Help You Focus...

Share your freestyle goals with the Facebook Group. Click here.

Share your freestyle goals with the Facebook Group. Click here.

Do you have a feeling that this is the year it will finally happen? You and your horse will make it down the centerline in your new musical freestyle? Like most riders, you have been dreaming of a freestyle for a long time, then show season rolls around and you find yourself still sitting on the sidelines...vowing that next year you will finally make it happen.

The purpose of this seven day blog series is to help you overcome the biggest hurdle keeping you from the show arena...getting started! The challenge will help you gain momentum with small, daily action steps, inspiration, and encouragement to continue. You don't have to do this challenge in seven days, you can take as much time as you need. However, I do recommend that you go in order to follow the natural progression of your journey.  

The fact that you are reading this blog post lets me know that you are ready! 

Creating a musical freestyle from start to finish is no easy task. Depending on your budget, your skill level with technology, and available time to devote to edits, it can take months to finish. It is important to gain clarity to avoid overwhelm. 

Clarify your Goals

Take some time to fully contemplate your freestyle goals. Your competition goals could range from a simple schooling show at the end of your show season to qualifying for Regionals, Nationals, or a USDF Year-End Award. Be as detailed and specific as you can. 

Here is a list of possible goals you might choose from:

> Finish a Freestyle for Next Year's Show Season
Perhaps the idea of competing a freestyle this year is too daunting. Setting a goal to design your freestyle this year and compete next year is a wonderful goal!

> Compete at Dressage Schooling Show
Competing at a schooling show does not require any qualifying scores and it is a great place to test out your new freestyle before you take it to a recognized show. Take a look at your local competition calendar and pick a show that you would like to aim for. 

> Earn scores towards Local Year-End Awards
If you are a member of a local GMO you may have a chance to qualify for a year-end award. Check with your local GMO on the rules, requirements, and the number of shows you would need to qualify.

> Compete at a USDF Recognized Dressage Show
This goal requires qualifying scores at the highest test of your level before you are allowed to show a freestyle. Not sure what those are? Click here.
Do you already have your qualifying score?  Yes?   No?
If you answered No - when would be the earliest you could potentially earn that score? 

Learn how to design your very own Dressage Musical Freestyle. Click here

Learn how to design your very own Dressage Musical Freestyle. Click here

> Earn scores towards a USDF Freestyle Bar
If you are showing at First Level and above your score would qualify towards a USDF Freestyle Bar. They are divided into Bronze, Silver, and Gold, the same way its Rider Medals are organized. You must earn the equivalent Rider Medal BEFORE you can receive your Freestyle Bar but that doesn't mean your scores wouldn't count towards the future. Click here to learn more about this freestyle award.

> Earn scores towards USDF Year-End Awards
Earning a year-end award with USDF is a lot more challenging than your local GMO. They require more scores at recognized shows so you will need to plan ahead and make sure you can get to enough shows with some extra wiggle room. Click here to read the requirements for year-end awards.


> Qualify for Regional Championships (with a chance to qualify for Nationals)
Make sure your memberships are up-to-date even if you are not planning to go to the Regionals in your area. If you get a qualifying score with your freestyle that might change your mind! Click here to read the requirements. 


> Qualify for a Breed Specific Regional, National, or World Championship Show
If you compete at breed specific shows (ex; Arabian, Friesian, or Quarter Horse to name a few)  they may offer dressage and freestyle classes that would qualify you for a year-end award or championship show. 

Define your Timeline

If everything went according to plan, when would you like to compete your new freestyle? How many months do you have before your first show? Working with this timeframe will be the focus of Day Two - Choose Your Path. 

Action Step for Today:

Go to the Create a Musical Freestyle Facebook Group and share your goal. Enter "Challenge Day One" into the Search Bar to find the post for you to share your goal and engage with others.

Announcing your goal lets your subconscious mind know that you are serious and ready to begin! I will be there to cheer you on and you will have fun connecting with other riders that are taking the challenge as well. 

Download My Free Resources

Stay organized with my Musical Freestyle Checklist and begin sketching choreography with my Blank Arena Diagram Page.

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Browse my Freestyle E-Book Store

Learn how to create a musical freestyle from start to finish or choose an e-Book with choreography ideas just for your level.
Click here to view all Freestyle e-Books.

Related Articles

Watch Sandra Beaulieu ride her Friesian Horse BRIDLELESS with WINGS! Video has over 131,000 views!

“Until you spread your wings you will have no idea how far you can fly.”
                                                      - Anonymous

This is one of my favorite videos of Douwe and I performing together. This was the first time we performed BRIDLELESS with the wings. These particular wings are taken from the art of bellydancing, referred to as the Wings of Isis. This particular video was featured on the popular website LittleThings.com and currently has over 131,000 views! I am honored that they featured my video and that I can help inspire others to perform with their horses. Enjoy!

Related Blog Posts:

27 Success Quotes for Equestrians - Inspiring Horse Quotes to Ring in the New Year for 2018

When I was younger, I used to stay up all night writing in my journal, pondering my goals for the new year. My lists were very long! Then I would wake up the next day and try to have the "perfect day", ride all my horses, eat healthy, write in my journal, etc... Over the years I have realized that consistency is more important than striving for "perfect days". There will be many ups and downs, many goals that will be reached and some that need to be stored on the shelf for another day. I am very lucky to earn a living with horses and work with amazing students and professionals. It is my purpose to teach and inspire others to be creative with their horses and benefit from my experiences. 

I hope this collection of quotes inspires you to take action towards your goals. Most of the images feature my horse Douwe the Amazing Friesian and my Art on Horseback partner Rovandio

This year take action and  learn trick training, dressage, bitless, bridleless, and more! click here

This year take action and  learn trick training, dressage, bitless, bridleless, and more! click here

Tired of sitting on the sidelines? Create your dream freestyle this year! click here

Tired of sitting on the sidelines? Create your dream freestyle this year! click here

This year take action and  learn trick training, dressage, bitless, bridleless, and more! click here

This year take action and  learn trick training, dressage, bitless, bridleless, and more! click here

Dreaming of a fantasy photo shoot with your horse? click here

Dreaming of a fantasy photo shoot with your horse? click here

Learn how to plan a fantasy photo shoot with your horse. click here.

Learn how to plan a fantasy photo shoot with your horse. click here.

Learn how to design your very own musical freestyle. click here

Learn how to design your very own musical freestyle. click here

Follow Douwe the Amazing Friesian on Facebook. click here

Follow Douwe the Amazing Friesian on Facebook. click here

Follow Douwe the Amazing Friesian on Facebook. click here

Follow Douwe the Amazing Friesian on Facebook. click here

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle. Click here.

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle. Click here.

Learn how to ride bitless and teach your horse amazing tricks this year! click here

Learn how to ride bitless and teach your horse amazing tricks this year! click here

Learn how to turn your horse into a unicorn. click here

Learn how to turn your horse into a unicorn. click here

Learn how to plan a fantasy photo shoot with your horse. click here

Learn how to plan a fantasy photo shoot with your horse. click here

Learn how to plan a fantasy photo shoot with your horse. click here

Learn how to plan a fantasy photo shoot with your horse. click here

Learn how to train your horse to do tricks for your photo shoot. click here

Learn how to train your horse to do tricks for your photo shoot. click here

Learn how to incorporate liberty training with your horse. click here

Learn how to incorporate liberty training with your horse. click here

Learn how to ride your horse bridleless. click here

Learn how to ride your horse bridleless. click here

Connect with your horse on a deeper level. click here

Connect with your horse on a deeper level. click here

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle. Click here.

Learn how to create a dressage musical freestyle. Click here.

Follow Douwe the amazing friesian on facebook. click here

Follow Douwe the amazing friesian on facebook. click here

Learn how to ride your horse bridleless. click here

Learn how to ride your horse bridleless. click here

Learn how sandra trains and performs with her horses. click here

Learn how sandra trains and performs with her horses. click here

Learn how to connect with your horse at a deeper level. click here

Learn how to connect with your horse at a deeper level. click here

Learn how to ride your horse bridleless. click here

Learn how to ride your horse bridleless. click here

Learn dressage online from sandra beaulieu - a usdf bronze and silver medalist. click here

Learn dressage online from sandra beaulieu - a usdf bronze and silver medalist. click here

Learn how to have fun with your horse with trick training. click here

Learn how to have fun with your horse with trick training. click here

Learn how to train your horse tricks. click here

Learn how to train your horse tricks. click here

Is this your year to shine? take your relationship with your horse to the next level. click here

Is this your year to shine? take your relationship with your horse to the next level. click here

Follow Sandra on Pinterest

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

This painting is being sold through an ONLINE ART AUCTION TODAY! 
Click here to see current bids and share the Facebook post for a chance to win a Limited Edition Art Print!

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. I also performed a bridleless and liberty routine with Douwe later in the day. All money raised from sale of this auctioned painting will go 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 put together 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

Related Articles:

How to Add a Treat Pouch to Your Costume {For Horseback Riders}

I have been performing with horses for many years. I use treats as positive reinforcement in my training. Over the years I have tried to come up with clever ways to use treats during my performances without the treat bag looking frumpy or drawing attention. I have decorated old fanny packs and handbags that I have found at thrift stores, and used treat pouches designed for horseback riders. Most of them worked pretty well but they would either slide around on a belt, be too wide at the top and the treats would fall out, or they just felt bulky and in my way. This is my solution to the treat dilemma!

What You Need: 

  • A Canvas Bag (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby)
  • Your Corset (or you could use a wide belt)
  • Decorative Trim/Tassels
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun & Extra Glue
  • Decorative Buttons or Pendants (optional)
  • Fabric Spray/Glitter (optional)

Watch Video for Step-by-Step Instructions:

Do you love being creative with your horse?

Download the First Chapter of my new Fantasy Photo Shoots E-Book today!
Or you can go ahead and purchase the E-Book to get started right away.

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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!

Join Sandra's New Online Coaching Group!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

How to Decorate Your Horse's Bridle {Ribbon Browband Tutorial}

When I am performing I get asked a lot of questions...not just about riding, but more often the questions are related to my costumes and my horse's tack. I started performing when I was a teenager in the Isaac Royal Equestrian Theater. We put on a two hour long performance jam-packed with quadrilles, single routines, plays on horseback, and dancers. My fellow riders and I were in many routines so we learned how to change costumes QUICKLY and doll up our tack on a budget. 

Purchasing a fancy new bridle for a one-time photo shoot, performance, parade, or wedding can be expensive. This DIY project will help add some color, bling, and accessories to your horse's bridle. You can use this same browband technique on the noseband for a more dramatic effect. 

What You Need: 

  • Your Bridle (You will not be gluing directly to the bridle so it won't ruin it.)
  • Satin Ribbon 
  • Decorative Trim
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun & Extra Glue
  • Decorative Buttons or Pendants (optional)
  • Wire Flowers (optional)
  • Fake Flowers (optional)

Watch Video for Step-by-Step Instructions:

Do you love being creative with your horse?

Download the First Chapter of my new Fantasy Photo Shoots E-Book today!
Or you can go ahead and purchase the E-Book to get started right away.

Fantasy Photo Shoots Free Chapter Download.png

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!

Join Sandra's New Online Coaching Group!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP

Sylvia Zerbini and her Quatro Amigos inspire the crowds at Equine Affaire

“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.” 

                                      -William W. Purkey

I was fortunate to have a little time at Equine Affaire to watch one of Sylvia's educational demos. She discussed how she works with horses at liberty and explained the body language to interact with multiple horses. I saw her perform in Cavalia years ago and was very impressed by her work. She is a wonderful performer and does a lot of work with rescue horses. I am looking forward to seeing her again in the near future. Enjoy!

Click the image to go to her Facebook page.

Click the image to go to her Facebook page.

Sandra Beaulieu - Art on Horseback Featured in the Sun Journal Newspaper

Lovely article about our (Sandra Beaulieu & Rovandio) live art performance at the Healing Through Horses professional expo in New Gloucester, ME. The beautiful photos were taken by reporter Daryn Slover for the Sun Journal. This was our first outing with the new easel my husband built for me. I was very pleased! It is almost 9 feet tall but much easier to transport than my other easel, which I had to leave behind in Florida. 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE

Photo Credit: Daryn Slover of the Sun Journal Newspaper Art on Horseback with Sandra Beaulieu and Rovandio

Photo Credit: Daryn Slover of the Sun Journal Newspaper
Art on Horseback with Sandra Beaulieu and Rovandio

Rovandio was a rockstar as usual. He is the most reliable performance horse I have ever ridden. He knows when he has an audience and completely tunes into me. I don't have to worry about him getting nervous like I do with Douwe

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE

Photo Credit: Daryn Slover of the Sun Journal Newspaper Sarah Kaech, Taylor Burdin, and artist Sandra Beaulieu

Photo Credit: Daryn Slover of the Sun Journal Newspaper
Sarah Kaech, Taylor Burdin, and artist Sandra Beaulieu

The finished painting is available to purchase, with 100% of the purchase price going to Healing Through Horses. Healing Through Horses is a 501c3, oranization offering counseling services that involve Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) in New Gloucester, Maine. Their mission is to help individuals, families and groups overcome life’s challenges by safely partnering with the gentle disposition and compassionate power of horses. Email me at beginthedance@gmail.com if you are interested in this painting. 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE

Sandra beaulieu and taylor burdin hold the finished painting before it is signed.

Sandra beaulieu and taylor burdin hold the finished painting before it is signed.

Apassionata "Cinema of Dreams" 2017

“Waking dreams are as important, as unpredictable, and as powerful as those we have when we’re asleep.” Luis Buñuel

Apassionata's “Cinema of Dreams“ takes you on a colorful and exciting journey through the film history. The show captures the audience’s imagination right from the beginning: “Fascinating”, “unique”, “absolutely amazing” or “a must for everybody” are just a few comments describing the show.

From the beginning act of "The Cinema Opens", with the entrance of resplendent, feathered ladies in dresses trailing along the arena footing accompanied by lovely white baroque horses performing dressage movements amidst colorful and interesting light patterns, to the awe-inspiring stunt-riding pirates, snow scenes, even mini horses performing tricks and at liberty, through synchronized rearing in pas de duets, all the way to beautiful liberty and bareback routines, enjoy and be amazed and inspired by these clips from the 2017 Apassionata, "Cinema of Dreams":

Follow Apassionata on YouTube

Watch beautiful video clips of past and upcoming performances. 
Click here to Watch Videos.

Centro Equestre Minorchino Italiano - "Black Horses with Islands" 2011 in Verona, Italy

"He dances well to whom Fortune pipes." -Italian proverb.

This performance showcases Spanish dancers, each on their own "island" platforms, and black, Spanish horses performing between them. The dancers boast fluorescent fans and tasseled scarves and perform intricate dance moves, their heals clicking against the wooden platforms, with precision and rhythm, reflecting the precision and rhythm used in horse riding.
At 5 minutes in, the horses begin performing more advanced movements- rearing, and half-passing in a "thread the needle" formation. At 7 minutes, one impressively athletic horse performs an incredible rear as the dancers spin dramatically. Enjoy!

Follow CEMI on Facebook:

A Quote That Always Rings True: "A canter is a cure for every evil."

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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