Originally Posted by COWCHICK77
deserthorsewoman touched on what I was going to ask... Photos
I am curious as to what dressage people see when they see photos like the ones in the link above.
These are not WD photos but like DHW said, bridle horses.
I see overbitted horses, broken at the third and trained not to touch their tie downs in fear of pain. Classic "framed" horses that are ridden front to back - ie bit first, seat later (or not at all).
A truly collected horse ridden back to front and there is no fear of the bit or fear of a rawhide tie down. The neck is never forced, there is suppling but never is the horse "broken at the poll" or "tied around" or "softened in the face". As soon as the horse drops behind the bit (ie breaks at the poll or "softens" the face) the horse can no longer be collected as he has been ridden front to back.
A great example of a truly collected horse ridden back to front is Uta Graf's Le Noir and their bitless riding. It is so evident that the rider does not rely on excessive tack to force the horse to submit and curl his neck, as is seen in the above link.
I fail to see how something that we ALL agree starts with the hindlegs, their increased activity and carrying power, can be thought to begin with a piece of metal 6' from the hindlegs. A bit will never, ever, ever collect a horse. It is physically impossible that something in the mouth will affect the hindlegs in a positive way that they will become more active and carry more, so I do not know where this belief comes from unless you've scared the horse off the bit so much that he behaves like a turtle, sucking his neck in to avoid the pressure and giving the rider the feeling of lightness. Which is not correct, or collection. A truly collected horse feels like riding a controlled explosion. There is so much energy and control that in any moment you can be in an extended canter or a halt without moving the hands, simply by giving a signal with the seat. It has nothing to do with lightness of the face, which is what IMO many people focus on and where the confusion comes from.
I would also agree that working cattle horses are far closer to collected in a true sense than anything else posted here.