Horse Handler, The: Wild Horses of the Tinderry Ranges (2002)

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Released 13-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Live at 'Equitana' 2002
Featurette-Training Video Part 1
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 46:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Garrett Smith
Darren Powell
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Greg Powell
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Darren Powell
Greg Powell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Snowy - The Wild Horse Of The Tinderry Ranges is a documentary about the wild bush horses of the Tinderry Ranges in New South Wales. These horses, among the last remaining wild brumbies in the Dividing Range, are slowly being wiped out as farmers want them culled and developers push further into their natural surroundings.

    Renowned Aussie horseman Greg Powell (he's the Horse Handler of the title) decided to do something about the wild horses being wiped out by mass culling, and with some mates he went up into the ranges in an attempt to track and capture the wild brumbies. One mare in particular took his fancy, though my wife, somewhat of an expert on horses herself, proclaimed it to be one of the ugliest horses she had ever seen. Snowy was the name he gave this large white mare and his aim was to capture her and her pack and then attempt to break her in for riding. The documentary chronicles the capture of the pack, the construction of suitable yards to hold them, and Greg's efforts at taming this wild animal. There's also a couple of offshoot history lessons with some locals in the ranges and a couple of dodgy re-enactments of historical events. I felt this was the point the documentary lost its focus a little and it would have retained more integrity and purpose if it had stayed with the capture and training of the brumbies.

    This documentary also has a bit of a 'home-made' quality to it. A look at the credits sees many of the roles in production filled by either Greg Powell or his brother Darren, so it was obviously made on a tight budget. They still did a remarkable job regardless and are obviously passionate about the preservation of our heritage.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1, this is also 16x9 enhanced.

    The first ten to fifteen minutes of this transfer is quite disappointing with excessive aliasing on many of the moving objects, especially noticeable on the riders and horses, which funnily enough dominate the story. It's not the mild shimmer you usually associate with fine lines either. This affects virtually the entire outline of the both rider and horse and is quite distracting. The initial problems appear to affect the footage taken when the riders are riding in the bush looking for the wild horses and clears up noticeably when they return to the base camp. This would possibly indicate the use of a different camera (maybe mini-DV versus BetaSP which appears to be the equipment clearly visible in the extras footage). Shadow detail is fine and there is no low level noise. Grain is minimal which is pleasing. Colours are well rendered, but are sometimes inconsistent, leading again to the assumption that different types of video camera have been used.

    There are no apparent MPEG artefacts, but as mentioned above, there is plenty of aliasing on the lower quality shots.

    There are English subtitles present. They are quite accurate.

    This is a single layered disc only so there is no layer change to navigate.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There's only one audio option available here, this being a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack.

    The dialogue is extremely prominent and well placed in the soundtrack, with quality wireless microphones obviously used so even when Greg is running around chasing after the horses everything is clear and concise.

    There's a little music present. Composed and played by Darren Powell (Greg's brother) and Greg himself, it has the bush and country theme running through it.

    There is no surround or subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

Featurette - Live at 'Equitana' 2002

    Like the main feature there is no time code information on any of the extras, so the running times are approximate. This featurette was filmed at the Equitana horse show held in Brisbane in 2002. Greg Powell performs a show in a round yard with his Arab horse Sam (incorrectly labelled as Snowy on the back cover), and his Kelpie, called Bruce. He also plays guitar and sings a song. Total running time is 12:20 minutes.

Featurette - Training Video Part 1

    This is a fairly meaty extra, clocking in at just under 35 minutes. It forms the first part of a three-part training video series and Greg Powell goes into quite a bit of detail on his methods for 'breaking' a young Arab gelding.. The term 'breaking' is a bit of a misnomer these days, as it conjures up images of a wild west cowboy going head-to-head with a wild stallion in a battle of wills. Most horses are broken-in these days in quite a sedate manner.

    This is a worthwhile extra that is obviously included here as an inducement to get you to purchase parts two and three when they become available.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    I cannot find any reference to this disc in Region 1.

Summary

    A mostly interesting documentary, that wanders off a couple of times without any clear direction or purpose. It has a slightly 'home-made' feel to it as a result.

    The video is average, with some early flaws the most disappointing aspect.

    The audio is workmanlike with excellent dialogue levels the highlight.

    The extras run for almost as long as the feature and are quite good value.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Sunday, July 06, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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