Hi, haven't read any responses, so I'm sure to repeat what others have said...
My question is: is it wrong or frowned upon to give your horse pats?
Depends what you're doing it for & what the horse thinks of it IMO. Eg. many people slap(pat) their horse as a reward for something, but how many horses actually like it?? I'm sure some probably do, but most at best tend to just tolerate it IME. An actual positive reinforcement needs to be something the horse actually desires, which is usually not a pat/slap IME.
BUT if the pat is associated/paired with an actual reinforcer, it can come to have meaning to the horse. Just like our words, it is essentially meaningless to the horse... assuming it's not actually unpleasant... but they learn to associate signs with actions, so learn our intent.
....Which brings me to another reason you may want to pat your horse. Because people do & it's a good idea to desensitise your horse to that sort of thing.... not least because if someone comes & pats him, you don't want him jumping through the roof!
I have not hired her as a trainer, she just seems to hover while others are working with their horses, also does it to a new boarder and we just cannot stand it anymore. New boarder has no problem telling her to mind her business, but I don't have guts, especially the guts to tell an /elder/(in essence) how I feel. I try not to be rude.
Hmm, those types have me feeling like they need a good poke in the eye!
Regardless of how good & valid her information might be, it is she who is being rude in pushing it down your throat. It may be that your responses have encouraged her, but I would be letting her know that you appreciate here helpfulness & her knowledge, but you'd really like to do your own thing... with your own horse. Or perhaps you could take the other tack of thanking her for showing you her approach on your horse & telling her you'd like to return the favour & show her how you do things on her horse
Or if you can't bring yourself to, perhaps you could ask the BO or the other person to remind her to... be as respectful of others as she attempts to be with horses??