Leg aids are like any other cue we give the horse. To train a horse we must REMOVE pressure the second the horse responds to the pressure. If you maintain pressure after even a small response, you will teach the horse that the aid means nothing.
Squeezing the leg constantly is on par with constantly pulling the reins. Either way, you're going to deaden the reactions until you get a horse like the one you are riding OP - one that has become so deadened to the leg that the rider feels it necessary to apply a constant aid. Eventually the horse wony move at all unless you stick a high powered cattle prod up his backside.
This is where the thinking riders are separated from the average riders. A thinking rider will take this horse, feel that it is dead to the leg, and take it right back to basics until it learns to respond to a touch if the leg.
You are right in your theory that in Dressage the horse is ridden up to the bridle, it's just your method that is the problem. When you start flooding with a constant driving aid - how do you get half pass? Pirouettes? Even just a basic leg yield or shoulder in will be a struggle. Dressage should be light, light sharp responses toting aids, then leave the horse alone until you want to change something. A well trained horse will remain in the same tempo or movement until the rider asks it to change. No need for nagging, the rider simply sits there and guides the direction.
Until you can ride a horse lightly, without nagging, you will forever struggle to allow the leg to simple hang. My gelding is now at the point if being able to carry on in a basic gait with no reminders from me. My leg can hang, and the only time it gets used is a very quick 'tap tap' of the lower leg if he starts the come against it. The leg should hang like a damp towel draped over a rolling pin.
You are working way too hard!
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