Well this has been a few days of reflection. Semantics!! Does it matter then if we call an aid and aid or a cue or whatever? In a quandry I reached for my old mate Seunig. Now I don't always agree with him but he always gives me food for thought.
Seunig doesn't refer to *aids* but *controls*, which in today's world of lightness and consideration seems a little harsh. However, the great man speaks the truth! What we do is control the horse, yes we make that as considered and thoughtful as we can and we always try to work with the horse on his level but it does come down to domination. We ask for submission (and actually reward it in a dressage test) and if one half of the partnership dominates then the other submits....game of two halves, equal and opposite blah, blah.
So the semantics don't bother me, call it what we will but we come into our horses lives and dominate them and expect them to submit. Our aids/controls, call them what you like, change our horses will, mould them in the image we desire. Pretty serious stuff and no wonder it so often goes wrong.
So lets end on a more positive note from Podhajsky....
Equestrian language has coined the words ''aids'' to give it a deeper meaning than orders. The rider should aid his horse to understand him; this means that the horse should never be afraid of the aids and that the rider has sufficient patience to be sure his horse understands what is demanded of him. The rider must have an exact understanding of his aids and their effect, and must make use of them intelligently; he must not allow himself to be influenced by his feelings. To follow this policy must be the constant aim of every good and successful rider.
Ah, so it's control with sensitivity... a lightness and intellignce that we humans must bring to the equation. Dominance without agression, educated demands of a sensitive creature, knowing when to stop and knowing when to ask more but more importantly LISTENING to the horse's response and being immediate with our feedback.