I agree with you and your further info helped clarify your stance. Yes, the lunge line is the better alternative, but unfortunately people don't always want to do what would be best for both kid and horse, and if you ever heard the moan of a child when you whip out the lunge line again, you might see some of the dilemma. I didn't know the horse was so young, and your right, it is probably the pepiest it will be, so that might indicate weak rider aids relying on a crop, but yet again, there are lazy seven year old horses too. Perhaps it could also just be the childs temprament that creates a mellow horse? Even at that age, you can kind of determine how you are going to affect your horse, either lighting up or quieting down, and some people just do that to every horse they ride. Also, having a kicker isn't always a bad thing, but I do understand the downside of a horse that is constantly ridden behind the leg. That can be dangerous and lead to a horse that ignores you when you actually need them to listen to you, like over a fence, crossing a stream, etc.
I do agree it's an interesting topic, but to answer your original question in general I would have to say, yes, it is appropriate to hand a child a fat ended bat in the event of a lesson horse/dull horse situation, while being supervised, but never without an educated adult teaching the child how to create a horse that can be ridden without a crop for most situations (some situations may always demand a crop with some horses), but advancement through lunging lessons, and learning to use all aids in a balanced manner should take precidence.
Now, if you could maybe give me advice on my situation! What do you do when advising someone to use a crop on a half dead lesson horse and they merely lift it, which enticies the horse to trot a step or two and resume walking. They never follow through with the one good whack that would get the horse taking them seriously and it ends up being a monotony of walk, threaten, trot two steps, walk! Unfortunately, or maybe not, I am faced with people who don't ever assert themselves, and therefore the horse talks them into mostly walking. Which is more desensitizing in your opinion? Someone who goes overboard or underboard? Obviously extremely overboard is abusive, but still how can you desensitize a horse to a whallop? I am not trying to say whalloping a horse over and over again is suitable to make a horse trot, canter, jump, but I am finding that the lack of follow through with the crop is causing desensitization, not the hitting itself. So I suppose I am pondering what the concern might be, is it that the child will hit the horse to much or to little? This is again a fat ended bat, half dead horse, with a rider who just wants the horse to agree to the lessons agenda, not the horses, but wont ever insist. Even when I ride him with my strong leg and tiny (I mean nubbins, the smallest you can probably get) spur, I find it much more effective to tap two or three times in quick succession and then ask for the response I want, essentially getting the horse in front of my leg. After that I have little to no need for the crop to make him w/t/c and transition nicely and cleanly. I am sorry to try and ask a question in the middle of your post, but I think that is why I was drawn to it in the first place and you really made me ponder my situation. I guess there is always the human dilemma of to hit or not, and obviously I can't say never, but I try to follow a rule of once so I don't have to again, and I have never had an issue with the multitude of horses I ride/rode/work with showing signs of trauma or fear of me later.
Troubled TB ~"A thorn by any other name will prick just as deep." @-'--,---