Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Alberta, Canada
I agree with both sides of this, to an extent.
Horses have personal space, just like people, and those personal space issues shouldn't be crossed when horses are being handled/rode.
Trail rides/arena's offered for public use often have courtesy rules - red ribbons for kickers, horse length between each horse for space - because when some horses get crowed, like people, they can get very cranky and things can escalate into a nasty situation very quickly.
Everyone should be mindful of personal space bubbles. They are very important.
However, if I were riding with someone and in a moment of lasped attention (as it happens) and noses were touched and the other rider smacked my horse, I'd blow a freaking gasket. It would be a brave soul whoever raised a hand to my horses. I'd probably take the reins and smack her (HER, not her horse, mind you) right back. Politically correct? No. But neither is smacking someone else's horse when the owner is right there to take care of it.
The owner also has to be on the ball about these things, too, though.