I agree with everyone. My best friend smacked her horse on the lower neck because she was rearing in a practice arena. The judges approached her a few minutes later and told her she was no longer a competitor for abusing her horse. I'm still mad about that.
I don't see anything wrong with give a horse a firm smack if you feel they need it. A smack from a human isn't going to hurt them; as long as you're not beating them repeatedly. In the wild horses bite and kick to show dominance, the stronger horse wins so it's not like were abusing them by giving them a quick little reminder who's boss.
My new horse is lowest on the totem pole at the farm, so I have to make sure I have my lead, or dressage whip, or handystick ready for the lead mare, and her cohort. The lead mare happens to be a Belgian, so there's no way I'm going to take any unnecessary guff from her. As soon as she starts charging my boy while I am walking him out of the pasture, I turn into her, wave my arms, and smack her in the chest with whatever I brought to protect myself and my horse with. She is learning to steer clear...the first trip out of the pasture was a nightmare, because she didn't care that I was there, she just wanted to get at poor Danni! As a general rule, I like to use as little pressure on a horse as possible, but if that means having to smack or swat him, I will.
I feel your pain mom2prode! The first few times I got my boy out from his new pasture, I had to have my dad get lead ropes and protect us! Now he's the top boy, but I still don't take snot from the others. I have no problem smacking a horse that's biting/shoving the horse I'm leading
My 2 year old got smacked often when he was a yearling =/ he KNEW better yet continued to try to plow me over. He's better now but I had to use my crop on him a few times for him to understand what "mom's bubble" was.
He never did it out of spite, he just wanted to be AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to me, like everyone said they don't understand that they can hurt you so easily.
"natural" is using their communication tools to work with them and establish an understading. Like what Cesar Millan does.... he uses force when needed but does it in the same way a pack leader would out in the wild. They understand their ways because horses are horses, THEY AREN'T HUMANS, they don't understand our ways, so don't treat them like they are "one of us".
I have no problem with smacking a horse if they are being an idiot, I will never be able to hurt the horse as bad as it will be able to hurt me. I will also elbow a horse in the shoulder or neck if I am leading them and they are trying to get in my space or are trying to run through a gait etc. Like I said I will never be as strong as a horse or be able to hurt me and I would rather smack them then end up hurt. I expect respect out of a horse that I am handling, even it's only for five minutes to help move horses around during chores.