My 9-year old daughter takes lessons on our Arab mare with a wonderful instructor and it has been going great. We primarily ride in the arena and just starting to show in 4-H, with no plans to go further. My daughter is enjoying it all and not too concerned yet with how she places in the shows she just loves the experience and riding her horse.
Recently a relative with extensive showing experience (albeit 20+ years ago) came and gave her a lesson. The relative was trying to teach my daughter how to get her horse collected/rounded-out/in the bridle at least those were the terms she used. She had my daughter holding the horses head back and pushing her forward to round her out and collect her. We were told this is how to get her hind underneath her - impulsion, impulsion, impulsion! The relative encouraged quiet hands with tight reins. She said a horse needs to be taught headset as some (not all) will never lower their head without being trained to do so. She told us that we should lunge prior to our rides with the bridle secured to the saddle to help the horse learn to give to the bit. Now she wants to come back and have my daughter ride with a martingale.
My daughter is not comfortable riding like this because she has recently figured out that she can ride with minimal contact and she is just starting to get the feel of riding with light hands. She loves the feel of her horse lowering her head and stretching her back when they trot. It is not a continual thing, but it happens more and more when they ride. I think that the fact she can feel the difference is pretty cool!
I told our instructor about this lesson and she rolled her eyes and shook her head. She doesn't agree that a horses head needs to be forced into the bridle and furthermore she strongly feels that neither horse nor rider is ready to focus on collection and rounding-out. We totally trust our instructor, agree with her and will continue to take her advice but I just wanted to get opinions on this type of training. Is it something that you need to train your horse to do? Again, we are not going to start riding like this - I am just curious because my relative feels so strongly about it and she has more experience than I do.