...I, and I'll betcha a lot of others as well, view that as very derogatory attitude toward people who attempt R+ only...
Has anyone ever even TRIED using R+ ONLY with a horse? If so, what results have they documented, and is there a reasonable chance an average person could duplicate those results?
And apart from a science experiment, why would someone take that approach UNLESS they thought using R- methods was either ineffective or morally objectionable? And since, in many cases, R- methods do
result in a confident, willing and even eager horse, would not their objection NEED to be moral? [Note - excepting genuinely abused horses]
And if they find using R- methods morally objectionable, is it not reasonable for those of us who disagree to want to know their basis for objecting, when it seems entirely possible to train happy horses while including R- techniques?
As often and as strongly as @Smilie
and I have disagreed, I understand her frustration. I'd bet money she has horses who are trained, willing and even enthusiastic much of the time using techniques that folks are treating as cave-man tactics. At least, my impression in reading this thread is that using R+ techniques = good person who cares about horses, and using R- techniques = bad person who has not experienced what a good relationship with a horse means. It is like I've wandered into a competition to see who loves their horse the most!
It might not be intentional, but I kind of get the feeling that admitting I've popped Bandit in the gut with my heels - did it yesterday, in the wash, when he was about to get booger-brained about some dead branches he needed to go past - that behavior like that means I'm abusive, that I'm too stupid or uncaring to belong on a horse, that I ought to sell my 3 and go back to dirt bikes...
FWIW, after I popped him with my heels, he snorted - and then walked on by without a glance at the dead branches piled on one side. But based on 17months of riding him, if I had not, he would have turned those branches into fire-breathing dragons. He's done it before.
And what is kinder to the horse - pop him in the gut and go on without a worry, or let him build a head full of fear over something he knows, deep down, doesn't merit fear?