Originally Posted by thesilverspear View Post
But what if you practice all the movements, can collect your horse to some degree of competency, do passable half-passes, shoulder-ins, mediums, etc., but don't compete. At anything. Ever.
Funny.. I did this as a matter of course in training any young horse to go on and do whatever the new owner was up for. It is "Dressage" or "Training" and it is laying that all important foundation.
How would you classify that? Is it as simple as competing versus not competing?
No. Training is training. Now you can be at level 2 for instance.. but it is still dressage or training. The levels and other names are what they call the exhibitions and trials and so forth.
Dressage is flatwork, but not all flatwork is dressage. :)
You are over complicating this. Dressage = training = Flat work = hackamore Reinsman = training = Dressage. Dressage and training are interchangeable terms. To say you are dressage training is like saying you are training training..... (tho we all say "training dressage" or "dressage training" here in the US).
It is more of a relative term in the context of whatever else you are doing. In my experience, having spent a lot of time around a lot of hunter/jumpers, "flatwork" referred to the time they spent schooling the horse "on the flat," or rather, NOT over fences. If they were any good, it would be "dressagey," getting the horse working on the aids, nice and soft, in an outline (but this was not necessarily the case with everyone). It was all "flatwork," rather than "dressage."
If you're not a serious hunter/jumper or eventer, then almost *everything* you do is "on the flat." So the term essentially becomes meaningless.
Just to make it a little bit more ambiguous, I've met riders in other (jumping, mainly) disciplines who will say, "I'd like to learn a little bit of dressage." For them, "flatwork" means schooling the horse without fences, but the horse might be totally inverted and on the forehand, whereas "a little bit of dressage" signifies -- quite specifically -- training the horse to come into an outline and actually use its hind end.
It all gets pretty silly in the end. What we want is that horse that is balanced and able to work off his hindquarters. You get that thru training and that training is pretty much the same as the start and training you give a horse that is going to be a hunter, jumper, Eventer, Cutting horse, Reining horse, Barrel horse or ranch horse.
Like I said.. you are getting all bolixed up in the vocabulary. No need. Just train the horse and lay on a foundation. Call it Fiddlestix if you want to.. it is all the same stuff with the same goal... a balanced horse that is light on the forequarters and able to collect and extend, move with suppleness and lightness.