I get the 'hitting a horse isn't a big deal' FROM watching horses and study.
Training horses is a bit like parenting. There isn't *one* perfect way.
Both very good points. My DH always likes to say, "it take's a village" when referring to horse training, lol. He means that it takes a lot of knowledge of many types/methods of training, as the same method may not work on the same horse the next day, lol. It also depends on who it's coming from.
Example: My DH's horse is an Anglo Arabian, either untrained or poorly trained before we got him at 5 yrs old. We started him like he was a baby, starting with just basic leading and ground manners. We used a trainer for some help, but did most of the work ourselves. I have worked with and studied many types of trainers. My DH is more of a "learn from the horse" kind of guy, but he does watch/study others (amateurs and professionals) to see what to do and not to do.
My DH is a BIG and LOUD guy, he just can't help it, lol. He's very compassionate to animals, but he doesn't have a "medium" volume, he's either quiet or LOUD, calm or ANGRY. So, doling out punishment is not something he likes to do, or is comfortable with. If he tried to "punish" his horse Mark, Mark would get very scared and then pissed and try to challenge him. So, my DH had to take the "chess game" approach with him and wear him down, much like an NH method, but he had to do it mentally rather than physically. Mark (the horse) has INCREDIBLE endurance and will NOT be worn down. We tied once; it took 3 hours of round pen work (we took turns) and then after a 5 minute rest, he was back and redy to go again, lol.
Mark also does not respond well to being "run off" or "backed up" out of your space. He sees that as "punishment" by Raymond, so again, he had to find an alternative method.
I, however, can work with Mark more "traditionally." I just don't have the patience for the mental chess game...
Mark responds well when I scold him, either punishing him for a very bad behavior, or just a mild-moderate scolding for a "wrong reaction." I think becase I'm a "female", he feels less threatended or challended by my authority. He was still a "tough nut to crack" though, responding to a lot of my negative feedback with an almost incredulous air, lol.
Mark is now a very well behaved, relatively submissive horse. He is half Arabian, so he will never be "completely" submissive to humans, lol. He knows his place though and has accepted it, however begrudgingly...
I had a friend of mine out to visit once (early in Mark's training) who was a BIG NH follower/trainer, up to Parelli level 3 I believe. She couldn't believe that Mark wouldn't respond to NH type training. I told her to "have at it" and see what she could do. She ended up leaving after 3 or 4 hours, calling Mark every bad name under the sun. It took her a while to talk to me again... lol She ended up getting a couple of other Arabian clients and finally called me a few months later. She said she had a similar experience with one of those horses, and the two others finally worked out, but it took a lot longer than her normal stock-horse clients. (I'm not saying that all Arabians won't respond to NH, just giving my experience and what she told me.
) So, my gelding Mark wasn't as much the "freak" as she thought, lol.
So, my conclusion, learn EVERYTHING! And use whatever WORKS for YOU and