I always want my horses to have some where to go when they work, in other words, there has to be a release, be it in a dressage horse or a cow horse. I never want to hang on a horse in any way shape or form. To me, that shows that the rider in uncomfortable with what they are doing with the horse.
I have seen this practice in the western industry as well, primarily in the Arabian horse industry. At the Scottsdale Arabian show a few years ago, I saw several trainers riding with their horses trussed up like a Christmas turkey. The horses chins were being pulled to the horses chests and they were being forced forward, and when the trainers stopped their horses, they continued to bump their horses faces to keep their horses heads in that Gawd awful position. If the horse moved a step after he was bumped, they were bumped harder. And this was being done by the BNT's that were there. A lot of it was being caused by the over use and abuse of martingales, side reins and draw reins.
But, it was not just the western horses where I saw this, it was also in the hunter arenas as well.
The difference between a soft horse vs. Rolkur, is that with a soft horse, I can bring his chin to his chest when I need to, not because I have to or I am forcing the issue.
Now, lets talk about the horses attitude. This practice does have a lot of adverse effects on the horses attitude. Remember, you can only hang on a horse for so long before that horse decides that he has had enough. And when the horse has had enough and decides to react to what is going on, there may be no warning what so ever. The horse will do whatever it takes to make himself comfortable in what he is doing and there will be nothing you can do to stop it, and there is no telling what the horse reaction will be.
For those of you that believe in the practice of Rolkur, I recommend that you put a bit in your own mouth, have someone pull your chin to your chest while you try to move forward on your hands and knees. Not only will it be tough for you to move, but it will also be harder for you to breathe and your mouth will be incredibly sore.
You all know that I like my horses quiet and soft as I have mentioned that on many occasions, if a horses chin is being forced to his chest, you will get neither!
And just a note, I am not an Arabian horse trainer, and I do not want any Arab owners thinking that I am picking on them. But other than in the Dressage discipline, I have only seen this practice in the Arabian industry, so that is the example I am using.