In most cases, it doesn't matter. Most people never move up. Something like 92% of the dressage tests ridden in the US are at Intro and Training level, and at those levels, if you call the desire to go forward, 'impulsion', who cares. What difference does it make? None.
Just one other thing that really ticked me off: So 92% of tests are the lowest levels, so what? That doesn't mean that you don't teach the correct principles. Will a horse/rider combination display more advanced principles such as impulsion? No. But they should be aware of them and they should be willingly taught.
Not everyone aspires to GP, some of us learn basic dressage as a well schooled horse is simply a joy to ride, whether they can piaffe or not. Correct gaits are correct gaits.
All my horses have been really good at one thing when I first got them: Going really really fast in one direction around a big track, brakes optional. Yep, thoroughbred
, probably a dirty word to dressage purists. So for me, getting to Training level is actually a huge accomplishment. My knowledge would probably only extend to third level at best
and that would require coaching.
Even if I was capable, my horses ability would prohibit us from the higher levels.
However, understanding more complicated levels and principles only strengthens the building blocks of your initial training IMO.
One of the 92% that rode Introductory tests last year.
P.S. Thanks for clarification Spyder, back to my quantum physics now