The trainer put her spers (?) on my boots which made a huge difference right away. Now I had to be more careful not to give too much pressure. Oh and I hate the whip. There has be other way to get the horse to do things without relying on so much pressure? No? I know horses are much bigger and different from dogs. People keep telling me “Don’t let them walk over you (mentally). They need to respect you”. Sure…but I’d like to get that without using fear and physical compulsions? It seems like there is more positive punishment and negative reinforcement in horse world. Do I really need to get used to that? OK, I’m ready for your feedback but please take it easy on me. It’s coming from heart.
Using a spur, or a whip isn't using fear or negative reinforcement; unless you're digging the spurs into the horse's side causing cuts, or whipping the horse in a way that doesn't allow him to figure out where the release is. It's giving him a barrier, or a stronger cue that is easier to understand, until you don't need it anymore. Yes, I do agree with you, in that if it's not necessary, don't use it; but a horse will figure out if someone is inconfident, so it's up to you to find that confidence; and if you have to use a spur for a while, do it, and when you don't need it anymore, take it off.
Now, you want to not use either, which is fine, but be aware that you may encounter horses that don't have 'soft sides'; you might need to use more leg pressure than you 'think' is necessary. Think about it this way, a horse can handle a kick from another horse with no effects, so if you have to add more pressure from your leg, what do you think you will do to him? Even if you use a spur, the chances of you injuring him are slim, unless you are relentless with them (which I doubt you would be).
I use both whip and blunt ended spurs when necessary to get a horse obeying a softer cue; it sounds like a contradiction, but I apply, even with whip or spur, a light cue, and as soon as the horse responds, I release; when he is responding to that light pressure, I take the whip, or spur away, and work him with out it.