LadyD, I do like traditional ss/saddlebred training (ie Helen Crabtree) and my mom even rode a top horse back in the day (Sweetheart's on Parade!). And it is where I started (as did many of my generation...ie Bill Steinkraus/Wofford/etc).
That said, I have rarely seen anything but 'trussing them up' in the last years, often with overchecks, draw reins (esp at arab shows) and marionette straps. That makes me sick. Look at the video, imho that is horrid muscling and full of tensions.
A higher open outline comes over time from riding iFv/actively with good half halts. The carriage of the horse has some to do with where the neck is set in, but it has a lot to do with training/engagement/etc. I have never met a horse which cannot piaffe, and for that it is necessary for the horse to function as they do in nature (like the foal pix).
Certainly ALL horses can seek the hand forward/down/out as they do in dressage tests. It simply takes more time/tact with horses with thin throatlatches (ie arabs/saddlebreds/friesans/some tbs) as they offer precipitous flexion (close their throat latches) too easily.
Interestingly enough there is little difference in the alignment of the different seats (if the rider is riding according to the rules). And there was even a rider in the 60s who won 2 of the 4 medal classes, and was second in one of the others.
Last edited by equitate; 03-09-2013 at 05:43 PM.