Painted Horse, those are some beautiful pictures! I don't think i'd have the nerve to do that lol!
But yeah, I agree. It's all about 'competition this' and 'arena training' that, but it really doesn't matter what you do, as long as you and your horse enjoy it. So what if I don't want to teach Hippy to pirouette or whatever? I don't think he'd like it anyway hahaha! Whatever makes you and your horse happy!
Just because 'this horse can do this movement', doesn't make it any better than any other horse. Both activities strengthen the bond between horse and rider and that's the most important thing. I think in one way, hacking/trail riding needs more of a bond, because it's absolutely essential
that your horse trusts you! Of course trust is important in dressage and such but...
...in showing, trust only = high marks. In hacking, trust = safety. Safety is definitely more important lol!