Well, still not understanding your resentment against dressage here.
Dressage is certainly not the only way to enjoy one's horse. Of course "technically" the word "dressage" means "training" and most consider that a positive aspiration - to train one's horse, but still, there are many, many people who have no desire to train their horse, just to ride it. It think that's perfectly fine as long as their horse has been adequately trained by others to the point of safety at least, and has a cooperative disposition as well.
So I agree with you, that there is no reason to push dressage on everyone.
For those who enjoy the "training" aspect of horsemanship, to them I would only seek to explain what dressage should be and can be, that is, a way to improve one's horse, no matter what other discipline you enjoy participating in.
For example, I used to own a barrel racer. He had been encouraged and trained to lean in on the corners. He had also been encouraged to go fast and stop only upon insistence. This put some limits on the ways in which I could enjoy him. I could not, for example, ride him in a western pleasure class. He had no idea how to stop without a discussion about it, and contact with the reins was required at all times to keep him from accelerating. I know now, that with the principles I've learned from dressage, how I could have taught/trained him to become a better all around mount, while enhancing his barrel racing abilities, not destroying them. Of course, I very much enjoyed him just as he was, so I'm not on a campaign to insist that all horses learn "dressage".
And BTW, I'm puzzled at your apparent belief that dressage horses are forced to collect via use of a "long-shanked" bit. I ride my dressage horse in a double link O-ring snaffle. I ask him to collect with virtually no help from the reins. The "double bridle" seen on top level dressage horses is not even allowed in the ring on lower level dressage horses and most dressage horses are not trained in anything but a snaffle until the most advanced levels where a soft touch on the curb is used to indicate certain specific movements like the piaffe.
Last edited by Myya; 07-06-2013 at 08:18 PM.