It takes a special horse to be able to paint from horseback. The horse must be confident, well balanced, light in the hand, smooth in his stride, and have the ability to collect from the seat and leg to allow the rider to paint simultaneously.
Rovandio is Sandra's painting partner. He is owned by her mother-in-law Bethanne Regaglia who has always been supportive of her creative endeavors.
Rovandio was born at Isaac Royal Farm in 2001. His sire was Conversano Julianna II, a Lipizzan stallion that sired many dressage horses. His dam was Andivar, an Andalusian/Thoroughbred cross. Even though Rovandio is only 1/4 Andalusian he has the stride, heart, and sensitivity of an Andalusian.
Rovandio has had classical dressage training his entire life. Sandra started him under saddle when he was young and rode him periodically for her mother-in-law. Bethanne rode him in the Isaac Royal Equestrian Theater in Maine for many years. It was during that time that he learned to love the audience.
He became Sandra's full time performance horse in 2013 and began to travel for exhibitions in the spring of 2014. Since then he has traveled south in the winter with Sandra and her other horse Douwe, a Friesian gelding.
Sandra uses dressage movements like piaffe, collected canter, rein-back, walk pirouettes, and shoulder-in to help her land the right brush strokes. All of these maneuvers must be ridden one-handed. Sandra prefers to ride him bitless and with a bareback pad. Less is more, particularly when it comes to the artwork. It is easier to feel the movements of the horse and have the flexibility to paint without the saddle.