Yes! I was wondering about that too! So it is actually a fault to sit in the accepted dressage position, with your legs well underneath you? Sitting in a chair seat drops your horse's back, I know that...but that's what you want on a gaited horse, right?
So how do you get them to stop? Drop the reins? How do you ask for different gaits?
I've often wondered about that too...I thought it was just a pose for looks in the show ring (I've also heard it helps hide conformation faults). Isn't that kind of hard on the horse's back? He doesn't have his legs underneath him to balance himself when the rider's weight is all on the left side for mounting.
They are not Dressage horses so, no, you do not sit in that position. I am first & formost a Dressage rider, and understand the difference!
When they are going really fast it is much easier to sit back! It you use your leg, they will really go!! Can be a little explosive at times, because they are just so willing & have a lot of endurance. I had one that was 22 years old & we still usually led everyone on trail rides. It was only after about 5 hours that he would start to fall back...
Amazingly, yes, to stop the reins are dropped & the rider can sit up straight or even forward a bit. You just stop allowing the motion in your seat. Most of the horses I know around here have very sensitive mouths & work off of extremely light pressure. It is a case of just closing your fist or opening your hand to slow or speed. Very similar to driving if you have ever done that.
As far as the parking out, I really don't like to do that, but some horses will do it on their own, just because they are trained that way. In a show, yes, you must park out the horse, it is required.
Now to the biggie, the padded shoes...I personally do not pad any of my horses, but I have ridden some padded up horses & I have some friends that have padded & flat-shod horses. I choose to not debate that issue, so please do not ask me about it, ok?