The training scale is " interrelated "
Although contact is on the third block of the training scale, it is an important step necessary for all ages and types of horses. The horse should accept a light contact in order to help guide them through rhythm and suppleness. Problems with any of the movements that start as early as first level is usually the horse and rider's misunderstanding of the term contact.
If a horse is ridden " front to back " meaning there is more pulling and holding rather than guiding, this will develop problems when trying to teach your horse more demanding movements. Eventually these problems effect bending, correct use of back muscles, and collection.
You want to make sure the horse is coming from behind, to the bridle. A great way to test if you falsely hold your horse together is to ride with your reins in one hand. Does the horse lean, pull, or become suddenly nervous at the feeling of freedom from being held with the bit?
Be honest with yourself and your horse, the training scale is not only interrelated, it provides steps that need to be re addressed in every schooling session.. ,