de la Guérinière
M. de la Broue, and after him the Duke of Newcastle, say that in order to have a good hand, it must be light, gentle and firm. This state does not proceed solely from the action of the hand, but principally from the seat of the rider; for when the body is unbalanced or askew, the hand cannot be in its proper position, and the rider concerns himself primarily with keeping his seat. Furthermore, the legs must act in consonance with the hand, otherwise the effect thereof will never be correct; such consonance is called, in the terminology of the art, accord of hand and heel, which is the perfection of all aids
Reins and legs can never compensate for an incorrect placement of the rider’s weight!
The skill of the hand can justifiably be considered a measure of the rider’s total skill. It is completely erroneous to believe that good hands could be an isolated favourable characteristic of some riders. Rather, they are the result of a perfect seat and fine feeling.
If the rider artificially applies more weight, the stirrup aid results which has become indispensable for all driving aids. It becomes a major fault if it is used to hold onto the stirrups in order to prevent their loss, or if it becomes a support for the seat. Riders who make such an error are still lacking in the fundamentals of their art, and they must first perfect their seat, and particularly their balance.
de la Guérinière
Elegance on horseback consists of a straight and free position as a result of a well balanced body: as a result the rider maintains, during all the movements the horse makes, without losing his seat, as much as he is able to, in an appropriate balance, an air of comfort and freedom, which makes him an elegant rider.
You must relax your waist and your back to go with the back of the horse and keep your bottom in the saddle.
Now a good Seat is of such Consequence, as you shall see hereafter, that it is One of the chief Things maketh a Horse go perfectly; the very Manner of sitting being almost beyond all other Helps
Diane Followell Classical Dressage Trainer