Hi Sarah. In my opinion you CAN keep a somewhat neutral spine even while gazing straight ahead at the horizon. I think that this also helps with your balance as your you don’t distort your center of gravity or at least perception of it by looking straight ahead. i cue my clients to look OUT, not up or down.
I hope this helps.
Just like Larue & Christine already said above its best to keep a neutral spine position when preforming a squat and with exercises like squats you can also monitor your technique by watching yourself preform the exercise on a mirror when ever available just as Christine pointed out.
wishing you all the best of health and wealth
Hi Sarah. I would also like to add that if a client is performing the squat you mention with a barbell, by looking down, in my opinion, I feel they run the risk of having the barbell rolling up onto their cervical spine (definitely not good). Whereas by looking forward/straight ahead, in my opinion this reduces that risk by keeping the bar and weight on their upper back musculature.