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.
And the day when you decide to put in significant effort and you get on that horse and your do a maneuver and it feels like all you did was think about it and you and the horse did it.. you will know why people who train horses put in that significant effort. I hope you get that chance because at that moment you will become more than Xenophen.. more than anything.. you will be a centaur.
Not to disparage your work or your thoughts but this explains a LOT about your posts. Learned from reading (which I do applaud) and observing (which is also admirable) but not from doing.
I made a bit of living on horse back and training young horses (starting them and then letting them go on to someone else to be finished). This is not to say I "know it all" (that would be boring) but I know a good bit.
Going back to the beginning. That nice working cow horse. He does not have the same "classical frame" as a dressage horse but if he is efficient and balanced, he will have learned a good bit of "dressage" but it will be less obvious.
Look at these two videos. If you cannot see both horses have learned the same lessons watch them again.. and again... and again... The western horses have learned to collect, and to balance and to work off their hind quarters and raise the root of their neck as have the dressage horses. Interesting when the riders change horses in the one video...
"And the day when you decide to put in significant effort and you get on that horse and your do a maneuver and it feels like all you did was think about it and you and the horse did it.. you will know why people who train horses put in that significant effort."
Sorry, but I HAVE put significant effort into training a horse (5 years), and been happy with the results, without using a training scale designed for dressage. I do not train for collection because the terrain I ride in doesn't reward collection. Nor do my goals require collection.
Not all training does or should include training for collection. That is the point of the debate.
" Learned from reading (which I do applaud) and observing (which is also admirable) but not from doing."
On the contrary. Most of what I know has been learned by doing it with my horses, and seeing how they respond. Frankly, what I see in many experienced riders is that they accept what they were told when learning without questioning - particularly among dressage fans.
Riding a horse with contact on the bit is not required. A natural headset, as used by the Cavalry, is a "proper" and "balanced" way of riding. Neck reining is a "proper" way of riding, although not 'on the bit'.
"The western horses have learned to collect, and to balance and to work off their hind quarters and raise the root of their neck as have the dressage horses."
And if someone wants to teach them that, it is OK. It is not required for a horse to move balanced, or be responsive, or strong. It will not increase their lifespan.
Science trumps tradition. So does logic. A horse moving with suspension is working harder to move than a horse without. If the goal is to look pretty, that is fine. Ballet is fine, but it isn't how I move around in my life. Too much work, too little reward. I don't want my horse to work hard covering a little ground. I don't want them to carry themselves in a way that works best in an arena. I want them to move fluidly, and efficiently.
What puzzles me is why some dressage fans think a horse moving inefficiently is more desirable, OUTSIDE OF SOME SPORTS, than one moving efficiently and fluidly.
BTW - I also don't train my horse to do sliding stops. Nor do I train them to do 360 degree spins. Reining is fun to watch, but doesn't apply to the world my horses and I live in.
In our world, anything that makes the foot land harder is bad. A horse that doesn't think where it is about to put each foot is bad. In this environment, the horses LIKE pavement. Pavement is easier on their feet. Pavement is level. Trails are not. Pavement doesn't have gullies. Trails do. Pavement doesn't come with cactus inches from your legs. Trails do. It is hot, and there will be no water for the horses until we get back. Efficiency is critical. Looking impressive for the spectators...not so much!
This is not the world of jumpers. It is not the world of dressage. It is a world that requires strength, balance, control, responsiveness - but not collection.
Forgive me if I'm getting this wrong but Elana began the thread so those of us interested in using the basic concepts that are the foundation of the dressage sport horse can discuss how useful they can be in other riding disciplines and also how they are already used and often without people realizing it
If people aren't interested or see no point in it - then they can say so and move on - no problem with that but I'm struggling to see the point in someone repeatedly making their own case for why its a waste of time when they have likely never even ridden a horse that knows how to work in a collected frame so can't make a comparison.
I bought a horse a recently that had no clue about collection or using her back end and she was dreadful out on the trails, her 'jog' would shake your teeth out and rattle your bones, a year later with some basic dressage schooling she's as smooth as can be and a pleasure to ride - also 100% safer. bsms - we get it - you don't see any point in!!!!
From my perspective, the debate would be on the question:
"Does 'training a horse to have the balance and muscles to collect will improve that horse for ANY discipline.. from trails to reining to barrel racing to jumping'?"
It could be rephrased:
"Does a "diagram [that] shows the stages of training to go from a green horse with rhythm to a horse that understands how to raise the root of his neck and get his hind quarters under him" apply to all horses? Should all horses train to carry more weight on the rear with a rider than they do without a rider?
Or it could be rephrased as "Does training in ballet help you when jogging?"
...maybe not jogging, but I remember when ballet was supposed to improve basketball playing.
I think the attitude bsms has is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is fine if all you want to do is be carried around on horseback. Let the horse be himself, let him figure it out.
Same as, high school being unnecessary for someone who lays bricks for a living.
But formal schooling, like following a training scale, is more than just the tasks at hand. There's discipline involved, a heightened ability for communication, and other intangibles, aside from enjoyment.
I don't think that you can answer the question
Will some basic dressage training improve my horse in other aspects of riding - including trail riding
Unless you actually see the difference for yourself by giving it a try
To totally simplify things - Its not that much different to asking someone if they prefer apples to oranges when they've never eaten an orange or someone saying they hate apples but have never actually tasted one