Yeah, I'm really excited! I'm doing my first dressage test on the 20th at the same place with the xc course, so I may pop over a few of the xc jumps. I'm trying to start doing more than just hunters/jumpers. I really want to get into eventing. And theres a horse trial thing in August that one of the trainers (not my personal one) at my barn wants me to go to. I just need to really practice.
Drop fences! The pictures you posted are both drops - BIG drops, looking like the kind which only the best riders in the world tackle. Drops require you to 'slip' the reins as the horse descends, following the head's movement and for jumps this big, allowing the reins to slide through your hands in order to keep a consistant contact. Maybe that's what you're seeing.
They aren't lifting their horses, they are letting the horses use their necks for balance and basically staying out of their way so they can interfere with their horse's balance as little as possible after the drop