Originally Posted by Kayty
Haha mate I think you've got the wrong idea of what contact is ;) If you don't ever touch their mouth you're letting the energy you create behind just escape through the 'front door'. A dressage horse should be accepting of a contact on the rein, though a contact is NOT a pulling back or tight action of the rein by any means, it is basically just so the rider 'feels' the horse's mouth without slack in the rein. I'm not sure how else to describe that it is not a pulling back and hanging off of the rein.
Not sure what kind of dressage horses you've ridden, but evidently not overly well ridden/trained ones as I like any horse I ride to be ultra responsive and supple in my hand. On one horse I am working at the moment, I can merely twitch a finger and shift my weight and he'll turn on a dime, it doesn't take much at all. Unfortunately people have ruined the real essence of dressage by moving into the heavy handed, hanging off the curb and creating a hard mouth by pulling back and essentially riding front to back rather than back to front. It is these unfortunate riders that make people like yourself see dressage as something of a forceful sport, when it is so far from that.
Yeah, the dressage horses I've ridden...USDF champs. They don't pull, just heavy. But OK. Ill take a light mouth. If you knew my ss horse, then you would know, NOTHING escapes her. She is light and goes perfect in a snaffle. Rear end? Up under her, not all drawn out. No need to use constant contact to toughen the mouth.
I didnt train the dressage horses, but have been asked to work them. No thanks, they are nice, but too much leg and too much contact. I've been trained to use any and all aids lightly and I pefer to keep myself that way.