Miriam and Danee, I think you are both right, and make good points. I do believe that the end result will be different, depending on which method you choose though. Not to make judgement on which result is better.. just to say different.
Danee, in your method you get a happy horse, a good friend who trusts and understands you, who is a good worker, knows what her job is and performs it well, in a relaxed and energetic manner.
She will probably not offer more than what you ask, and won't show much spontenaeity, or teach YOU moves from her horsenatural repertoire, but she will be very dependable, and will only say no if she has some physical reason for doing so.
Using Miriam's method, you get an entrepeneur mentality, rather than a worker mentality. The horse may not be as dependable, or perform as reliably, but they will be motivated to spontaneously offer up new moves, new energy, new pride in their performance. They will probably not be show winners! They will surprise and delight with the independent thought that they contribute to your training. They will not see themselves as lower status. ( And the ways in which you maintain your high status with them will be more subtle.)
But, what is the point of AND?
One of the main things we are aiming at here is encouraging the horse to choose to be in a state of natural collection, and this by definition precludes the use of any restrictions. We have talked lots in the past about what defines natural collection, and one of the most important considerations appears to be the spirit, the feeling
of the horse, rather than just a particular body position.
There is an energy projected when the horse is pumped up, proud, excited, showing off.. others have described it much better, sorry. This is not present when we just teach the horse to hold it's neck and head in a certain way, although of course, this training does help to strengthen and teach. It all comes together when the horse FEELS it from the inside, and spontaneously offers this from it's own energy and desire.. and THAT is natural collection.
When we look at why we want to achieve relationships of equality and freedom (entrepeneurial horse), rather than obedience and dependability (worker horse), there is more to it than just the altruistic reasons of achieving the "perfect" relationship with a horse. The pay off is, that through encouraging the horse to be free, express itself, and not feel subservient to us, we are setting things up for the horse to be motivated to offer natural collection.
Think about this.. Which horses in the natural herd play in collection and when, and with who? The ones who do it most are the highest status horses, showing off their strength, power and magnificence. Low status horse may occasionally be motivated to prance a little, but with their own friends who they don't feel submissive to.
It's very easy for me to get our lead mare to go into natural collection during liberty work, but not so easy to achieve with the others. I think these horses first need to be assured that they can raise their status, and when they are together with me, be more and more sure that they are not submissive to me. I know.. this is a very different way of looking at things to traditional, but if you examine it closely, there are solid reasons, not just based on airy fairy peace and love visions.
It's interesting for me to see that the pony foal in our herd, although the lowest of all the horses, is quite confident to prance and pose with me in play, because neither I, nor any other human, have done anything to her to show her that she must submit.. therefore she doesn't see herself as lower status.
Danee, I do know what you mean about overcoming slight resistance in the horse, and the horse then finds it's energy and gets involved in the work. I have recently reverted a little in my training with Sunrise. She's too fat, becoming lazier and less motivated for exercise. The effects are beginning to show in her body to the point where I am worried. AT this stage of our training, she was just beginning to offer me spontaneous play when I suggested, and a couple of times put on magnificent displays of NATURAL haute ecole! But not often or long enough to affect her general fitness. So I have begun insisting on daily exercise again.. just long walking, trotting journeys with me as I run or cycle. During the last couple of months I was trying to let her decide.. and we ended up just eating grass and doing very little exercise.
Just as you have observed with your horse, she resisted a little, I insisted a little, she agreed, and then her energy would come up, and she'd become quite happy about it. Over the last two weeks, her fitness and energy levels have improved again markedly..
BUT>>>>>> I have lost the play again. She's no longer prancing and offering head tossing as she runs with me. She has more energy and stamina for exercise, but she's no longer motivated to show of in exuberance and free spirit.
I still haven't yet found the right balance.