High level dressage vs “everyday” dressage
First of all, I like dressage. I am very bad at it but it’s my favorite discipline.
One thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t like the way it looks at the top. To me, those horses look too bouncy and tense, most of the riders look very tense and like they have a very hard time sitting that huge trot and I don’t understand the point of that high knee action. Also, they look like they are holding those reins with all their might, not soft at all.
So, my question is: what exactly are we aiming for in dressage? I sort of gathered that the purpose of dressage is to make the horse light, comfortable and responsive (maybe I am misunderstanding something). The top horses look responsive, but not light and comfortable at all. Even their responsiveness is questionable with that much pressure on the mouth. What am I missing here?
Basically, is top dressage different to your everyday, all purpose riding dressage? Are they two different things?