(Rant: Around here there is an obvious difference in style between city folk and country folk. City folk have all had lessons in English while country folk have their own particular style,
I think that everybody can benefit from learning what generations of horsemen and women have discovered and distilled into a "style" or "best practices". From there, your own personal style will invariably develop, just as it would with driving a car or painting oil paintings.
Why limit yourself to the "family style", no matter how old it is, when you can learn a theory that has been assembled from the work of people who have thought about biomechanics, physics, human and equine physiology, etc.? True, Uncle Tom and Grandma Josephine may have hit upon the perfect recipe, but they may also have solidified some unproductive habits in their riding - because they could get by with it, and the horse didn't complain.
In any case, on OP's subject of "tack and style", I personally use a close-contact saddle because I like how it allows me to "plug into the horse". Stability is provided by my hip adductor muscles. Still, when the horse is relaxed and we are at the walk in easy terrain, she can do with her head whatever she wants, as the reins will be slack. "Rein contact" to us means: "Stay focused now!"
Also, while cantering on twists and turns, I push with my legs, and the hands stay in "a small box" over the withers. It is no use if the head looks left and the shoulders go straight.
My thighs are solid on the knee pads of the saddle, but my calves better stay relaxed, or I'll have a very fast horse very quickly. My stirrups are shorter than for dressage, but longer than for jumping. I need to have long legs for stability, but bent knees for two-point and posting.
I once went on a western-tack trail ride, and I didn't feel like I was on the horse. I felt like I was on a chair on a horse.