"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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

DVD Review: 0 stars ~ Michael Bevilacqua ~ Unlocking Learning....

Unlocking Learning and Creating the Relationship
 ~ by Michael Bevilacqua
0 Stars.....SKIP IT !!!

He lost me at "Hello"

I hate having to give bad reviews, but this could quite possibly be the worst horse educational dvd since the inception of the vcr.  So as always, I remind you....This is MY opinion ONLY and by all means, please review it yourself...but when you get done with.....don't come crying to me, because All I will say is “I told you so”.

I am sitting here trying to remember what not only made me want to rent this dvd, but also why I placed it so quickly to the top of my rental que, because I can’t recall ever having heard of this guy before. So, I did a google search. And it quickly became apparent why. He is supposedly one of Alexander Nevzorov’s top students, if not THE top student. So I guess I figured there would be lots of insight into the NHE School (Nevzorov Haute Ecole). While he seems to have some good thoughts on this dvd….those I could stand to listen to and not fast forward thru…..let me just say…..this is a home made dvd with the lowest production quality I have ever seen, and despite how intelligently some people may be able to write, this does NOT necessarily translate into speaking skills. It was torturous to watch, mainly because I felt for the guy, as I am not a very good public speaker myself….though I’d like to think I am better than that. He was constantly just stopping and staring………. looking for his next thought.

Mostly he talked about getting in touch with nature etc…..so when I couldn’t take any more, I thought I would just fast forward to some horsemanship and see what this guy could do with horses…..there was only one or two VERY short video clips. The rest was just snapshots. Now mind you, I have seen all of Alexander’s dvd’s, and while I think he is a bit out there and extremist (so much so that now he no longer advocates riding horses at ALL)….his dvd’s were top quality and his work with horses speaks for itself. He absolutely does do the Haute Ecole at liberty and ridden and does it beautifully so. He may be a pompous ass, arrogant and rude….but he is a horse master and produces a beautiful relationship that cannot be denied. I have also read and studied his website, so I am familiar with his views on horsemanship as a whole…….so…..I would think that his TOP student would be recognizable as that…..not once while watching Michael’s dvd, did I think he was more than just some dude, who decided one day, he would make a dvd about his ‘thoughts’ on horses. I don’t recall him stating he was affiliated with NHE….but then again….I fast forwarded thru quite a bit. I do not know if he is still affiliated with them or not.

So anyways, nearest I can tell, based on what HE chose to ‘showcase’ on his dvd….the only thing he repeatedly showed was a horse doing the Jambet and a few steps of Spanish walk. Other than that, the video clips just showed him ‘attempting’ to do something…such as LEAD a horse at liberty with a Cordeo, and his horse NOT wanting to do it, and him letting the horse just walk away when he wanted. Apparently the horses don’t HAVE to do ANYthing. And I am OK with that philosophy….but when you are attempting to glean MONEY for an EDUCATIONAL dvd……showing next to nothing….????

To what reasons do you give ME….that I should give YOU…..MY………..MONEY???? I would expect to see some thing you can do. At some point, you have to be able to catch it on camera….if not….don’t make a dvd…..stick to books and articles. The whole point of dvd’s are to WATCH something….

To start off, I was feeling really bad that I was needing to write a negative review, but, before I started I did the google seach and when I learned that NHE has quite a niche following….and they are dedicated to the principles so much so, that MY piddly little review is not going to cause a ripple in the pond….so I just want to say….by all means….please see for your self….don’t let MY opnion sway you in the slightest…..just don’t come cryin to me when your done.  And don't expect me to watch volume 2 either....I have NO interest what so ever to slow down and rubber neck to get a better look at the accident.  I have seen what I need to see.

I guess I should feel bad....but seriously.....just like you should have someone 'proof read' you should have someone 'proof view'....and if some one DID do that.....shame on them for not saying something!

Click here for more info on Michael Bevilacqua

Savvy On


  1. Thanks for taking your time to write this honest review. You say the same thing that someone I know and respect says. Thanks you guys for saving me the money and time, because now I will not be buying Michael's DVD's. I do enjoy the articles on his website and I will continue to read those, for free.

  2. I agree that Michael's DVD was not professional quality and it would not have taken much to improve it. He should have had notes to help him deliver his thoughts more smoothly. He should have had many more video clips, in place of his office chats.

    In fairness to him, he does warn on his website that it is not professionally done and is a home-made project. Further, he never promised, anywhere, that he would be providing insights into NHE or that his work reflected NHE. Michael has been asked by Alexander Nevzorov to be his North American representative for NHE, but Michael was a trainer in his own right in the past, and today he is his own man, ie, he doesn't spend all his time promoting NHE and he certainly did not advertise this DVD set that way.

    I was disappointed in the DVDs also but I sure do not feel as strongly negative as you do. I knew from reading his book and his articles that his approach is not a fully formed and organized system or method. He wrote of his mental and emotional and intellectual journey in horsemanship in his book, and that had great meaning for me. He isn't trying to act like the professionals, and he does not present himself as one. He no longer trains other people's horses, which I believe he could do very well, nor does he teach students. He is just advocating as best he can for the horse, in his own way, and his attitude is deep with compassion and humane-ness.

    Like so may of you out there, I have looked at the words and the work of many many "horse" trainers over the years and I have come a very, very long way from the rough dominating methods of the past. Michael has made his own journey, which he describes in his book, and I found him just when I was looking for people who think the way he does, who work their horses at liberty, and who are changing from treating the horse as a possession whose JOB it is to do what I want, even if I use oh-so-humane and modern methods of soft coercion, to exploring the idea that, perhaps, the horse is intelligent, observant, willing, and therefore deserving of respect right from the start.

    This would mean liberty from the very start, and as you saw, "letting the horse just walk away when he wanted. Apparently the horses don’t HAVE to do ANYthing." Yes...and there is a whole new world behind that concept. Carolyn Resnick, Robin Gates, Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, Frederick Pignon (of Cavalia), Alexander Nevzorov, Chuck Mintzlaff, Farah Dejohnette, Elsa Sinclair and Michael Bevilacqua are a few of the people who are turning from even the Buck Brannamans and Pat Parellis of this world, to see what can truly be done with horses when they are treated as moral equals, and thus the opinions of the horses MATTER.

    Michael's second DVD is better than the first. There is more instruction , although probably not to your standards, but I was able to glean some ideas to apply to my horsemanship, and already I have had positive feedback from my horses. I truly understand your disappointment, and I am not recommending this DVD set to anyone. I am saying that based on what I already knew about Michael and his own journey from his book, and based on my own journey into the mind of the horse, I gained a lot from this. Truly it is not for everyone, but I am glad I bought it.
    Thanks for letting me post here.


I know I am not perfect.....so be nice!