"So, 430 – 354 BC is when Xenophon was developing his techniques. What you quoted was true dressage. THIS is why I posted this to show that "dressage" was older than the hundred, or so years you claimed it to be. Xenophon was NOT in the 1600's, which was your example of time. You just proved my point. Thanks."
No, I did not. Between 400 BC and 1600 AD, who taught dressage? Who used horses for showy displays, and were they a significant percentage of riders? During that 2,000 year period, who were the dressage masters, or even the dressage practitioners?
Xenophon was used in retrospect, but the passage I quoted was a small part of the use of horses even in his time.
"But possibly you are not content with a horse serviceable for war...a splendid and showy animal, the joy of all beholders...Listen to the epithets with which spectators will describe the type of horse: the noble animal! And what willingness to work, what paces, what a spirit and what mettle; how proudly he bears himself...
Very few riders, even in Xenophon's day, rode for showing off. Princes did. It was useful for public gatherings in parades. But it was NOT why the vast majority rode horses then, during the next 2,000 years, or now!
People rode horses for the last 2400 years because it was faster than walking. You could move men and supplies faster with horses than without them. You could take a message faster with a horse than without. In farming, the horses pulled plows faster and farther and in heavier ground than any man could.
None of this involved collection. None of this involved the dressage training scale. When someone rides a horse to cover distances faster and easier than they can without a horse, they do not want significant collection.
"Yet Xenophon believed; Quote: A horse in combat, or any other kind of equestrian activity, has to be trained on cue to reorient the motion of his entire body to perform maneuvers vital to the success of military operations."
Yes, but what does that have to do with dressage, or collection? A horse also needs to be trained, on cue, to turn, stop, go, go faster, go slower, tolerate other horses nearby - all of which can be done on a loose rein and in natural carriage.
"If you really believe that dressage is not what basic training is all about, and that basic training could not be called dressage, then we will just have to agree to disagree."
True, in the sense that I am not likely to convince you. However,the English word dressage does not mean all training. In French, dressage can mean training to fly jets. In English, it does not.
If you decide to use the word "tomato" to mean "riding", then we would all seek skill at tomatoes. But communication is simpler if we use riding to mean riding, and tomato to mean tomato. Using dressage to mean training is completely fair, if the rest of the sentence is in French.
"What I liked about the diagrams is they show a horse as a green horse learning through time how to better carry himself. In the #4 diagram he is raising the root of his neck and the diagram shows it. Take the English tack off and change the break at the poll and the horse is going in a western frame but in a balanced manner."
Thank you for that second sentence. A horse can be balanced and controlled without a break at the poll, although the break at the poll & being 'on the bit' are appropriate for some styles of riding. All riders want a balanced horse. Not all riders seek the same balance, because not all riders do the same sort of riding. When the US Cavalry looked at dressage, it rejected it for military purposes because the balance sought was not helpful for the type of riding the Cavalry did. It was also too hard to train the average cavalry trooper to ride that way and the average horse to move that way.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to train a horse to move with greater collection. Most do that to some minor extent. I have, with Mia & Trooper, and I'm a beginning rider who doesn't compete in anything. But the degree to which I need it is minimal, to the point that it doesn't require a training scale or significant effort.
"A well trained horse that has learned how to carry not only himself but a human as well is less prone to injury IMO."
We agree. Roughly speaking, there are two approaches to balance - forward, and centered. Lots of people will shift back and forth between those two on a ride without thinking about it. Within the normal range of motion, either one or both interchangeably keep a horse healthy.
A horse can be ridden a lifetime and be perfectly healthy with only minimal, instinctive collection. Horses respond to the rider's weight in ways subtle enough that we have only recently discovered it - small changes in their balance, in how long they leave each foot in contact with the ground, changes in stride length for varying terrain, going slightly slower (IIRC, the study results showed a change from 7.4 mph to 7 mph average speed) - and we cannot train them to do this. They do it on their own.
When we ask a horse to do something physically harder - jump fences, significant collection, repeated tight turns in barrel racing or cutting cattle - then we risk injuring them by forcing them to do what their body isn't capable of doing. I'm a lifelong jogger. Jogging on my own, trying to maintain a decent speed, I get no injuries. I have sometimes tried to push myself to go faster by increasing my stride, etc - but those were the times I ended up hurting my knees. Being a human, I could think, "I'd better stop before I damage my knees!" Horses can't tell us that, so they may obediently continue until lameness pops up.
If a human wants to push their horse outside the boundaries of normal equine adaptations, then the human must be careful to train the horse properly in advance. That is why the dressage training scale is important. If you follow it, you can set the horse up for success in collection without injuring it - assuming you are sensitive to the horse as it tries to progress up the scale.
It would be really interesting for someone to develop a training scale for barrel racing or jumping or racing on the flats.
As for the usefulness of a levade in medieval combat - that answer may need someone better at historical research than I am. This tapestry from the 1400s could lead a person to either conclusion
Wikipedia actually has a good article on the horse in war, but it is silent on the levade... Horses in warfare - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia