we don't have rattlesnakes here so its a non issue.
I can't imagine wanting my horse to stop. Especially if I was showing. Pretty much anything I can think of that would spook her she could navigate. Yes, she might hesitate, but she shouldnt stop.
I guess its probably the difference between a trail rider and a show rider. We require different things out of our horses. Although I have no different requirements on the trail.
I don't think you are grasping the entire concept that bsms is getting at. What he's saying is that the horse's first response on their own
should be to stop and wait for instructions before reacting to a stimuli, whatever it may be. The thing is, there is such a learning curve about what the response should be to an individual stimuli. Plus, a good rider can give direction in almost the same instant as the horse begins to react. On an older, more trained horse, I can see what they are spooking at as soon as I feel them tense...and react just as quickly. So, I can either choose to stop, turn, or urge the horse on before they get the chance to fully stop or, often, even change gait.
There is a partnership going on there and if you have a good horse, you should be able to trust their judgment too. So, when my horses are old enough and trained enough that I have started to trust them to think for themselves a bit, then I start accepting their advice
in the direction we're going.
For example, just a few years ago, I wanted to cross a creek. My horse, Dobe, was very hesitant and was basically saying in big neon letters "There's something wrong, I don't want to go that way", where before, he never hesitated at any water crossing. I ignored him because I was in a hurry and pushed him to go ahead. He went, but I soon wished I hadn't asked because he ended up bogged completely down and it took about a half hour and another saddle horse with a rope to get him out.
So you see, there is a bit of give and take. Where I ride, a horse that spooks and moves can get themselves or you seriously hurt or killed, depending on the situation. Therefore, for our own safety and for theirs, it is safer if a horse's first instinct is to stop and ask you want to do instead of deciding on their own which way to go.