There are different levels of ss - country pleasure, english pleasure, and park. Country has the front knees just below level, english is right at or slightly above level, and park is the highest and always above level. The horse pictured above is likely english pleasure.
They're always shown in a double bridle with a cutback saddle. It's a discipline meant to mimic how the elite rode back in the early 1900s - hence the show attire with show coats, day coats, vests, jods, long pants, and different hats (can't think of the name to save my life). There's more of a chair seat, and you do sit farther back than probably any other discipline. It's all about energy and being showy.
They're awesome classes to watch. The crowd is high energy, and cheering, clapping, whistling is encouraged. This is closely associated with a lot of the "crazy/hot" horses because of the energy. There are some crazies, but that's true of any discipline. In fact, my best friend has HA english pleasure national reserve champion both adult and youth - he went regional top 5 a couple of years as a 20 year old, and he's been my daughter's leadline horse since she was 2 showing saddleseat. She leads him around and did pee wee showmanship with him last year. Try to push every rumor or misconception you've ever heard about saddleseat out of your mind and go into this with a completely open mind. Most of them aren't abused or hurt in any way and their gaits are really natural to them despite appearances, just refined - there are always bad apples in any training circles. I love saddleseat and they're always my favorite classes to a watch. My best advice us to google country pleasure, english pleasure, or park national classes either for arabian, saddleseat, or morgan nationals - im more familiar with arabian/half-arabian than the other two - to get the best idea of what it's all about.
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