...As far as I am concerned, his treatment of his horse is unethical, abusive, and shows deplorable horsemanship. His counduct is punishable by rules in any recognized USEF or FEI (including reining) event.
Anyone who makes any kind of excuse or rationalization about the way that horse was treated is not someone I wish to associate with, much less let anywhere near a horse that is in my care...
To put it bluntly, I've never seen a horse trained where the level of "unethical, abusive, and...deplorable horsemanship" hasn't sometimes reached this level.
When I walk into the corral & feed my horses, they wait at their buckets. They don't do that naturally. When I first got them, they would try to push and get the feed from me immediately - and I would use a feed bucket or poop scoop or anything else at hand to MAKE them get out of my way.
When I've walked Mia on a lead, and she started panicking because...well, because...I've either turned her or backed her up with a lot more aggression than this guy was showing. I don't know what my neighbors thought about me, but I can't allow 900 lbs of muscle to take control.
Sometimes you have to go where you don't want to go with a horse so the horse won't want to go there, either.
I believe in natural horsemanship. I watch my lead mare maintain discipline. Then I tone it down about 20-fold. When I started daily training sessions with Mia last Nov, one of the first things the trainer asked me was, "If another horse treated Mia that way, would SHE accept it?"
No one could ever accuse me of getting too harsh with a bit. I didn't use bits for a long time, and I started using them only when I realized that a well handled bit allows the rider to be SOFTER with a horse, not harsher. But I do not subscribe to the Black Stallion School of Training. I can't get Mia to relax and obey by feeding her seaweed & generating some mysterious bond. Sometimes she needs me to be harsh with her, although I've never been as harsh as she is with other horses.
Oddly enough, the other horses run to Mia when they are nervous. Apparently they don't mind her autocratic rule. And when Mia gets nervous, she comes to me. She puts her head next to me and waits for me to make the bad things go away. Odd, given my "unethical, abusive, and...deplorable horsemanship"...
When I see most English riders riding, my gut reaction is, "Let go of your horse's head!" I think a lot of English riding looks 'abusive' - but I'm also smart enough to see that those 'abused' horses do just fine, and even adore their 'abusive' riders. The standard for 'abuse' can't be what YOU
think, or what I
think. It needs to be what the HORSE