Right, I've GOT to finish this section on the aids. Somehow I think it is only the beginning but that is for another day.
I don't think it's hard to agree that aids should be for and with the horse, as small and light as possible...imperceptible to the onlooker. It's easy to agree too that we must work with the physiology of the horse, creating individual recipes for each horse. Of course my preference is for a lighter, brighter type but that (as I'm daily reminded) comes at a price. I loved what Carl Hester described as *discrete* aids being needed for the hotter horse and that is exactly how one feels riding these types; eat sand if you want to be anything less than discrete.
I touched before on the idea that the horse and rider could communicate without words, a kind of ESP. Paul Belasik is a real *thinking* trainer/writer and I'll finish for now with where I hope the whole system of aids can end up.
From Paul Belasik, Dressage for the 21st Century....
After years of training and repetition, the horse and rider are sensitive to each other's muscular pulses. For the rider, there is no need for thrusting gestures of the pelvis. The physical training of the dressage rider is athletic but suggestive, not forced. Although the practice of dressage is beautiful to watch, in a real sense, it is not for watching. If it is proceeding correctly it is too subtle for the observer to see anything change on a given day. Usually it is just practice. The rider seems to be in the same position day after day but the horse is magically being sculpted.
In fact there is a physical melding; rider and horse do gradually become one. There is also a psychological melding, which is all to often glossed over. Riders become fitted with a 'twin' that gives them literally superhuman strength and speed......When they undertake the study of dressage and position, I don't think many riders realise what is about to unfold-or what they are going to have to face.
Aids are therefore our 'way in' to this incredible world where horse and rider become one, unable to see where one starts and the other finishes. Our aids will become so subtle as to be imperceptible, perhaps they become just thought exchanges or perhaps just that we become adept at knowing when it's going to go wrong and acting rather than reacting.