Whether you are riding as a hobby or a profession, one thing is the same, you are riding a living, thinking, animal that needs your help. In other words, you are either helping the horses physiology or hindering. When I am teaching Riding Lessons, the Student has to learn to have an Independent seat and not interfering with the horses mouth or back for lack of strength or balance.
Second- The horse needs to respond to a quiet dialogue from the rider. Horses will either seek comfort or protect themselves from pain. Sensitive horses will understand pain as something as simple as a crooked rider. Imagine carrying a heavy backpack that is over weighted on one side, you will begin to lean as a compensation for that imbalance.
Using strong direct or indirect rein pressure, without a true understanding of the biomechanics of the horse, will continue to create crookedness and muscle imbalance. This leads to resentment, pain, lameness, etc.
The Definition of Dressage is: The art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility, and balance. No matter what Discipline you ride, if you are seeking Dressage Training or Lessons from a trainer that is adamant you learn to correctly bend, supple and balance the horse, you are on the right path towards creating an ideal partnership.
Third- The horse needs to prepare the body for the task that is being asked of them. If you just flow through your regular riding regime with no awareness of correct biomechanics, you are risking any chance of developing relaxation in the horse mentally and physically.
I have been re educating and problem solving for almost 30 Years. I have seen and studied the effects of " working " a dysfunctional moving horse compared to a horse that is becoming better and better due to the knowledge of the rider. I am so grateful to have been part of a Scientific approach to riding by studying all aspects of Biomechanics of the horse. The horse needs you to help them achieve absolute harmony when being ridden.
"To evaluate the usefulness of an exercise and to understand its mode of action, including its advantages and disadvantages, it is essential to have a basic understanding of musculotendinous functional anatomy. " Quote by -Jean-Marie Denoix, DVM, Ph.D., Ass. LA-ECVDI, DECVSMR (Equine), DACVSMR (Equine)