Guilherme: I understand what you mean about dressage being a road and not a destination. I see dressage as being an ingregral part of training not just trying to turn out a fancy looking or fancy moving horse like you often see but a horse (regarless of breed or dicipline) moving with fluidness, effortless, the rider being intune with the horse, the horse moving from the rear into the bit, being able to collect and extend, speed up and slow down, turn direction, stop and pivot with simple changes in the riders weight, seat, hands, legs and etc. I feel that it is important to be a centered rider and be able to stay as close to the horse's center to keep equalibrium between rider and horse. If the rider is all over the place then more than likely the horse is also. You don't have to be a "pretty" rider to achieve this, just an effective rider. I am not a pretty rider but I feel that I am an effective rider.
A horse (and rider) cutting a cow for an example should still be working with an "arc" or a rounded form for maximum power from the rear.....when I see a good horse and rider you can clearly see this even though they are cutting a cow and not performing a passage or priouette (sp?). Dressage is progressive training using various movements to achive a higher goal. If the goal is to create a more well rounded diciplined animal then its all good regardless on how high you want to do with it. When I am using "dressage" to work a gaited animal my goal is not to perform a Passage or prioette my goal is to create a balanced (square moving) animal with a balanced rider moving from the hind end into the bit to the best if the animals ability. To create flexability, responsiveness, lightness, balance, cadence, rythym, strength, and etc (both horse and rider) should be the goal (a continuous goal) not a desination. You train a horse every time you ride and I don't care how advanced you are or how advanced the horse is every time you sit your butt in the saddle you are the trainer....training.
My late mare (A TWH......my avatar picture) did not perform the running walk or the rack but a pace. Her paced was "solid" (she paced even at liberty and I never saw her trot. In other words core pacer) She also suffered from hip down (probably from an old injury). She was limited on her abilities and in the beinning rather short strided and carried bit of a hitch in her hind gait esp at a fkat walk. I use dressage techniques to strengthen her hind muscles, back muscles and etc. My goal was to help her flex, strengthen, round her, get her off that stupid bit (she leaned on it a little) and travel more square (I use Square as rather a misnomer because the pace is a lateral gait but I think you get the message) At first her pace was a gut wrenching movement but using dressage techniques I was able to collect her, slow her down, gain rythym and cadence. Eventually she was was moving like a fine tuned WP horse at the jog (but not with her head to the ground and a little more natural leg animation). Very nice to sit but this was something I kept working on not just a destination. She was old (late 20s early 30s) had very little problems with arthritis (some stiffness but no major joint changes or abnormalities) IF I didnt keep her "limber" through continuous training using such movments then all is lost. Her form fell in on its own and I do not crank or force a horse into a frame. I used to in my formative years because I was drilled that a horse must be in a frame to perform correctly I have since learned that this is not true. If the animal is being trained right and slowly progressed the "form" or frame will fall into place on its own. The "frame" for a reigning horse is not the same for a High School dressage horse. I mention this because frame is often associated with a Dressage animal. The animals "frame" should be personalized in accordance to the animal's conformation and muscle development within that conformational make up. If you want a WP horse with a low head set then you better buy a WP horse with a conformationaly lower set/carried neck. A horse uses its neck for balance. Conformation plays big time with balance and movement. Using dressage techniques can develope (if use properly) the maximum use of the musculature system of the horse's conformation.
Dressage is often compaired to dancing or ballett. One doesnt have to be a ballet dancer to be a good dancer. Does ballet techniques help dancers? Yes. Ballet techniques can even help a Square Dancer.
The above post is rather simplified so don't read to much into it.
If one wants to achieve High School, Upper level Dressage then one needs a horse with the confomation to do so and yes this can be done with a well conformed QH, TB, Standarbred (saw a beautifully moving Standardbred performing a passage....it was great) Welsh Cob and so forth and so on. No you do not have to have a Warm Blood to do that with.........but one must have a well conformed animal to do the task. Form vs Function.
I understand that Dressage (an exclusive goal or destiny) is not the same as dressage.....training techniques to produce, flexibility, fluidness, balance, roundness, lightness and so forth and so on regardless of dicipline.
I hope I havent made anyone's brain ache with my post. LOL
"The question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?" Jeremy Bentham