Now I'm no expert, probably more on the novice side of things.. but to me Dressage is used to increase the athleticism of a horse via suppling, lateral movements, and riding the hind into the hands so the horse can learn to better carry himself.
These aren't basics to a lot of horse riders, trainers, or horses.
Dressage isn't just to "look pretty" or "piaffe around the arena." Even in the sport, there are multiple levels to which your horse starts out accepting contact and eventually can learn to yield from pressure, spring from its hocks (I believe they call that loading the hocks,) softly lead with its shoulder to move laterally, transition cleanly without falling into the canter or jumping into it. The higher the level, the more the horse increases its athleticism.
But aside from the sport, these supplying techniques help the horse to do its job better.
I have been to quite a few barns within my limetime and I just don't see happy horses. I see rushing horses, hollow horses, stiff horses, etc.
Now when a trainer takes the time to use techniques that Dressage utilizes, which I believe reining may also utilize (I'm not a reiner) the horse becomes a well rounded athlete.
I used to not do any sort of dressage supplying with my horse and he was literally a giraffe. We are nowhere NEAR the upper levels of dressage but in the time I've spent with him, and the time his current person has spent with him.. he is better on trails, he is much more eager to work, he has built a hell of a topline and muscle in other places, and he's in great health.
That is why it's so helpful to cross train because your horse gains skills and becomes more of an athlete insetad of a stiff, stressed out, horse.
So in a nutshell: If people took the time to follow the scale and utilize the concepts taught in Dressage, they'd have happier horses. They wouldn't have to have all those contraptions or have a strung out horse.
And I'm not saying "It's BETTER" or whatever.
"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
Last edited by Skyseternalangel; 06-23-2013 at 05:56 PM.