So when I am riding, he is looking for my body language and I don't need to use a whip if he is not listening to my leg?
I want them to respect the tool too, but what does that really mean? I don't beat my horse, so he isn't shaking when I bring out a whip, but a whip certainly stings so isn't respect similar to fear? A horse should move off the leg aid so they don't feel the whip - is this respect or they don't want to feel the sting, ie. fear of the sting?
I think we get too caught up in the buzz words of the moment, when it is not accurate. Horses don't want to hurt, and a whip when used does somewhat. It is not about respect for a tool it is about not wanting to be hurt. I use a whip, but I am not confused about its purpose.
Hmmm...not really sure how to answer this one, since I rarely ever have to use a whip, or spur when I ride. I've only ever had to use either on a few occasions to 'wake' a dull horse up, so they would soften to my cues, and then they were dropped. The horse is given soft cues to respond to, long before I ever have to consider going to a crop; and "most" respond to those, and you rarely ever have to resort to other aids.
Yes, a horse should move off the leg, but is this your first cue, second cue, or your only cue? My horses get a shift in my body, and a click or kiss before they ever feel my leg...and my current mare rarely ever has to feel my leg, and I've never had to use a crop on her. A horse will respond to your body undersaddle too, so yes, he should be looking for your body shift in position, long before he has to feel the crop. I look at crops, the same as I do spurs...they should be used as a temporary aid, and dropped when the horse responds to more subtle cues.
I understand what you are saying about the whip, but really, how much pain can it inflict on a horse (when used in responsible hands), when they can whollop one another in the pasture without so much as a grimace? I am not confused on what a whip does (enhances cues), but I do not think it is a tool that inflicts alot of pain on a horse. Maybe a slight discomfort, but unless your talking about someone really laying into the horse, definitely not much.