Generally speaking, I think most differences of opinion in training come down to 'each to their own', and it's obvious you & I have very different approaches & understandings about attitudes & behaviours. I got the feeling a lot of what you've said was directed at my response, rather than generally to OP, so am responding to that...
Biting = Smack
Nipping (NOT lipping, but NIP) = Smack
Crowding (aggressively) = Smack
Kicking = Smack
Bumping with nose = Smack
....Considering the sheer force behind a horses hoof, and how they blatantly kick each other, you with your little stick is nothing. The point is to make yourself BIG and MEAN and WORTHY OF RESPECT.
Firstly, as I tried to explain, I'm by no means against punishment and it often works, but I think it's important to understand & consider it's 'cons' as well as it's 'pros', that it's not the only and I don't believe necessarily the best option. Considering a 'dominant' type personality horse, and as you have said, considering how horses kick eachother, a little 'rudeness' can become major & dangerous aggression if you just try to meet it head on, as the horse rises to your perceived challenge. In that situation I'd rather pit my brains against the horses.
'Respect' is also one of those ambiguous terms that means vastly different things to different people & in my definition of the term doesn't include meanness or fear. I don't want my horse to be frightened of me and earning their trust is so important IMO.
I do not sugar coat aggressive behavior with treats or pretend like it can be solved with gentleness. I absolutely do not tolerate it.
I've gone through a broken back,.... I cannot allow aggressive behavior because it could put me into a wheel chair, kill me, or permanently cripple me. I take aggression and I napalm it before it can bloom into a difficult to kill weed.
I agree fully with every single thing you say above(except the broken back
). Horses are big, potentially dangerous animals and we need to effectively teach them to be safe(r). Only difference is while I don't 'pretend like it can be solved with gentleness', it's because I know
it often can & don't believe(pretend?) confrontation is always appropriate or best. I find approaching it from a different angle & focussing on reinforcing the horse for what you *want* rather than having to 'correct' what you don't want means that 'gentleness' is generally all that's required - it's not necessary to get into a confrontation in the first place generally. *Not that I won't do whatever it takes to be safe & effective when necessary, just see it more as a backup/emergency measure.