"A horse is like a mirror, and it's reflecting what and who you are."

This is just a little diary of my horse life. I teach natural horsemanship and dressage. I am currently working on getting back to L4 Parelli after a car accident and surgery.

I suffered from a fear of failure, as things had not gone according to planned after my time off from my injuries. It had been an paralyzing disability (fear) but my healing is coming along nicely, and I hope to pass my level 4 before the end of 2011.

I don't know where I am going, but I am NOT lost!

I am now reviewing dvd's and books, and blogging my reviews. The link on the left in the categories (DVD Clinician Reviews)will take you straight to it. You will find links to the websites of all dvd clinicians I review and they are located on the left hand side bottom of page of the page. None of the clinicians or trainers I am reviewing, sponsor, endorse or authorize this site. For more info about them please click on thier link.

I hope you enjoy!

Savvy On,

I will be giving Savvy Star Ratings based soley on my opinion of it's value to a parelli student as such

***** Must own

**** Must watch

*** Worth watching, but you won't die without it

** Eh' take it with a grain of salt, you will have to filter alot

* OK, but there is better stuff out there to spend your time and money on

0 stars....skip it, it just isn't worth your time.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

DVD Review: 0 stars ~ Dominique Barbier ~ Mastering the Basics

ZERO Stars ~ Skip it!
Mastering the Basics

God I really hate to do this, but to be fair to worthy media, I just cannot recommend this dvd. Before I get slammed with a slander suit, let me remind you, this is ONLY......MY.......OPINION and I am sure there are people, somewhere, who found this dvd helpful. Regarding 'what' I could even begin to speculate. I was highly disappointed on so many levels, I just can't even give it one star rating. I thought long and hard about my ratings definition prior to my decision. 1 star means I think it is "OK" but better stuff out there". Honestly, I didn't think it was OK on any level, and there are 1000's of things out there better to chose from. IMHO

The whole catalyst for my reviews in the first place, was because I am a Parelli Level 4 graduate I was waiting around for them (PNH) to get around to making some upper level stuff, particularly DRESSAGE, and also to see and learn other methods of NH in order to expand my NH knowlege base. I knew I wasn't the only Parelli student searching for compatible information, so I figured as I came across stuff I would share MY opinion of what I found. Period. So while I am far from a Master in either NH or Dressage, I am also far above the average novice horseman and capable of making the determination if something is worthy of me investing my time and money into learning, or something I would not waste my time on.

I am going to grade and review 3 aspects here.

1: How well it will coincide with not only Parelli Natural Horsemanship, but the General world of Natural Horsemanship as a whole.

2: How well it coincides with what "I" understand to be BASIC Classical Dressage Principles, be it French OR German

3: How well it is presented as a media outlet for home study learning, based on presentation and information presented (or not presented) concepts discussed ~vs~ results shown.

1: As far as PNH/NH goes, I felt it was sub par on every level, even compared to watching novice NH students. The horses in the video appeared to be agitated, nervous, and generally not to happy. As an NH student, you will likely feel as I do, that we spent alot of time, energy and heart to produce a happy well adjusted horse and don't want to chance doing things that will upset this mental/emotional balance. Despite this dvd being labeled "basic"...it was not clear to me what was 'basic' about it. He was kinda all over the place....and thus the horse seemed to follow suit. I honestly do not see how an advanced student would be able to understand it....much less a novice. On the one hand he was using very advanced horses and what appeared (at first) to be novice riders. More on this in the dressagy review. I just didn't see much that could be considered 'better' than basic NH. There are far better recomendations I could give to PNH students as a dressage extension beyond the confines of parelli, AND within the confines of parelli. PNH is already, in and of itself, better at doing this stuff, be it French (Pats kind of style) or German (Linda's kind of style)

2: Classical Dressage principles....OY~VAY....I squired one of his books many many years ago. At the time I just didn't 'get' what he was saying and alot seemed "mystical" and I was looking for cold hard technical facts. I was just at the beginning of my german classical study. I put the book down, found many others that were what i was looking for, realized he was 'french' and never picked it back up again. BUT...in all these years, I still believed, albeit in my limited 'french' understanding, that he was indeed a MASTER of the FRENCH classical school. After watching Phillip Karls dvd's.....I was nearly horrified at what my dressage eyes were seeing. MASTER?? If what he showed was indicative of french 'mastery' (which i know it is not) I don't want any part of it. Not only were the students in the dvd's painful to watch ride, so was he. The stirrups were soooo long, and the feet so far in front that they were horribly balanced in the rising trot work and I have beginner students look better than that in a matter of weeks, so to see a supposed master ride that unbalance i was shocked. He suggested that the rider keep her hands ON the saddle, if I recall right, at all times. Not for balance as an un-confident rider, but to 'keep the horse on the bit'... what? WHAT?? Now, as we move on, this is supposed to be a BASICS dvd, yet all the horses are being ridden in a DOUBLE bridle. There was no mention as to why, but I have never seen ANY one use a double bridle on green horses with green riders, which is exactly what i presume at least one student/horse pair to be. And lastly some core classical principles.....The poll 'should' be the highest point at all times, not here my friends, not even close. At times it appeared to be 'deep' if not downright close to 'rolkur' even if momentary....that is unacceptable in any classical school of thought. The horses hind quarters could not directly follow the forehand due to stiffness and lack of control from the leg, on turns the haunches would just spin out like they were on a carnival ride. I can't even get started on the lunging. I will say that when HE rode his upper level horse, things appeared to be a bit better, it was hardly done with principles, style or grace that I would want to emulate. in ANY fashion.

3: Media attributes. The trifecta of shame. PNH has a reputation for producing in depth, top quality, provocative, well organized and formatted media that we parelli students have become accustomed to. Top notch in every aspect. I am not suggesting i am some princess here that cannot see the good in other peoples work. Not in the least. If you read any of my other reviews, you will see that I am hardly parelli biased. I give credit where credit is due. But I won't sit here and give it where it is not due. I usually try to find SOMEthing positive about even the worst dvd's. So I will say that he does state some good concepts in there, but in my opinion what he is saying is not the results shown on the dvd. You know, the words don't match the view. Then there is no congruent format. It is not well organized despite having 'categories' and the intention of material was not clear. It was very confusing as to what the heck I was watching and why. My only saving grace is that I not only am better educated and can just reject his notions and move on. But also that I didn't pay any money for this dvd. I would then have been a disgruntled consumer as well and felt a little on the jilted side wonder how I could in good conscious sell this dvd to someone else. The only thing I can tell anyone at this point in my French Classical Journey (the beginning btw, after 20ys german) is to seek out Phillipe Karls dvd's, I highly recommend them and will be reviewing others soon.

Clearly I am not affiliated with the author of the dvd. So....By all means contact him directly and ask for clarification/explanation of what he was doing, to give him a chance to refute/rebut my review. It is my personal opinion it is what will be needed to understand what was going on in that video anyways. So that is the best place for more info. Click here to go to his website. Maybe things are different now, or maybe they were having alot of problems while filming. He has nice pics on his site. But this dvd is what it is and I stand by my review of it.

On a personal note. Honestly my heart sunk when I saw him in the rising trot. Just goes to show, now matter how many 'fancy' things someone can do, they can still be lacking severely in even the very basic of basics, and that words can be cheap.....but the picture can be worth a thousand words and a million dollars and a lifetime of chasing the wrong rainbow.

Savvy On

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