I definitely think its an 'acquired taste' in the riding world. My cousin rode saddleseat and I was doing hunter/jumper as I've always done. Her mom didn't like hunter so sometimes I'd hear her say something about it being stupid and redundant because its so popular so everyone does it. Well I think Saddle Seat is definitely out of the ordinary when it comes to riding styles and its foreign to me and my english family. But I don't rudely voice my opinion to my neice like she did. If it weren't for her I might have a better outlook on it but I see what you mean when it comes to saddleseat being a meaner way of riding. My experiences were that while I was at the saddlebred breed show at the Fair Grounds, everyone there was riding saddleseat and I saw alot of people that would strong arm and whip their horses. Alot of horses, saddlebreds and arabians would jump and rear and fall back on the riders. This also happened to my cousin when she got her saddlebred. She has a way of whipping the horse when it doesn't need it but she still is a horse lover. Anyhow maybe its just my experiences but I don't think I can really trust a saddlebred after the ones I've seen, even the top dollar ones. They all seem extremely hyper and hard to control.
Horses change lives. They give our young people confidence and self esteem. They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls- they give us hope!