So what about the horses that folks have misused whips and sticks? Is it ok to terrorize them by carrying a stick with you into general population? Or to put the others horses/humans at risk because a horse starts running from the whip/stick?
ONE horse needs to have manners trained into it. Not fair to penalize the rest of the herd. (and their owners)
From the picture you're painting, I'm visualising a tiny pen packed with horses and someone whirling a whip about, willy-nilly. Of course, this would be dangerous and unfair.
I'm talking about wagging your crop like a big naughty finger (being prepared to pop it on someone who presents real danger) or twirling the end of your lead rope like a fan. Try chasing a 'terrorised horse' in a 10 acre pasture. You'll tire out LONG before that horse becomes afraid of you.
Our pasture has an acre per horse. That's plenty of room for everyone to stay clear of anything they don't like. An animal that has been abused by any equipment entering its environment is most likely to avoid it at the first opportunity. It's the horses that approach you and/or your horse without respect that we're concerned about. If an owner has a horse at the bottom of the pecking order, they should still be able to walk through the entire herd without them or their horse being targeted. That is something you need to expect and demand, for your own safety when leading a horse. The horse you're leading needs to defer to your leadership at all times while in-hand. How unfair is it to remove it's defenses and then refuse to protect it? If that animal cannot trust you then, how does it know it can trust you any other time?
I used to work in a tight corral with over 20 cranky trail horses. We had to stand up for ourselves and every horse there knew that when people entered that space, all bickering stopped. When that structure was not maintained, people got hurt.
I would never keep my horse in tight quarters as a way of life. Camping, yes we use small corrals, but we group horses according to relationships and we're WORKING all day so that they are tired when they go into the pens. A horse's mental health is impacted HUGELY by its environement. How well would you do inside 4 tiny 'walls'? Horses kept like this are made dangerous by a lack of outlet and stimulation. You can't hop a kid up on sugar and expect him to listen, any more than you can cage a dog all day and expect him to be mellow when you let him out.