So I took my very first paso fino riding lesson today (I may post more about that later, maybe on the gaited horses forum) and there was a woman there that owned 3 horses. I was talking to her after my lesson as she had one of her horses out on cross ties, and she was grooming him. I was admiring his color, stroking his neck and then I patted him. On his neck, kind of "pat pat pat." Not hard, but yeah, you could hear my hand make contact. I have done this all my life, especially from the saddle at the end of the ride, kind of a like a "good job" pat.
Anyway, her facial expression changed and she said, "No, no...you never pet a horse like that. That is the equivalent of me walking up to you and slappng you. That doesn't feel good to a horse." It kind of took me aback...I kind of stammered and said, "Oh, I have always patted horses like that...and my dog, too. They seem to like it, my trainers have done it..." etc etc. She said, "How can that feel good? Would you like it if someone came up and slapped you as a greeting?"
Of course, I now wish I would have said a few things such as, "Well, no, but I also would not like you to put a saddle on me and ride me!" Also, I wish I would have said, "Look, if you don't want me to pet *your* horse that way, that is fine. But don't tell me this is an abnormal way to pet a horse." But of course I did not say those things. I just kind of said, "Oh, hmm, I have never heard that." I told her to have a nice day and left.
Sooooo, anyone out there agree with her? Is this a regional thing...maybe breed specific? Was she a nutjob?