JDI and Drafty - My area definitely is known for doing the let down thing. The way someone trains is merely a personal decision. The trainer I am working under specializes in OTTB's. She usually trains and resells them though, I am training Kai for myself. She is usually on them the first day they arrive at her place. Waiting 4 days was a long time for her, but I just wasn't ready that first day.
Her theory is that riding them right away gives them a new mindset, a new job to focus on. Instead of letting them settle in and figure things out on their own, she makes sure that they are more reliant on her to show them things and help them fit in. She has done this project (helping a boarder retrain an OTTB) with four other boarders before me and every single one has failed. They all waited a month or more before getting on their horse and all of their horses turned out to be too hard for them to handle. Kai has been a complete dream. I feel that it is at least partially because I showed him from day one that I was his new leader and what I said goes.
I am never harsh with him. Never punishing, merely guiding. He doesn't get punished roughly, I just let him know he is doing something wrong and work with him until we get it right. Training him has been great. He is so quiet and calm. Working with him is easier than working with my 24 year old OTTB, who will throw you given the chance.
I guess to each their own. So far what we are doing is working great. My trainer must be doing something right lol. She has her OTTB's beginner safe within a matter of weeks. She just sold her 5 year old OTTB that she had trained straight from the track to a 13 year old girl and they are doing amazing. She also has a 4 year old OTTB gelding that was a stud when she got him less than a year ago and is the calmest horse on the property. It is really amazing what she is able to do with these really misunderstood horses.
My Boy Puck - Glad to hear I am not alone in experiencing a super calm, young horse off the track lol. Everyone I talk to is just amazing and in awe at how well he is doing.