Hi Harold, All!
In defense of Smilie, though I doubt she needs it. If I were a professional horse trainer, training horses for others or horses that would likely be sold, I doubt I would even consider giving or using hand fed treats.
Well, I agree. A trainer isn't there to develop a relationship (per se) with the animal, just to "rough in" a framework so the client or prospective buyer has a solid foundation to build on.
And a trainer has a set of tools that they use, just like a carpenter, or a mechanic. They use them because they work. For them. Most of the time. This does not imply that they are the only tools available, and certainly not that they are the optimum tools for the specific task at hand.
As a horse owner, it remains Your job to put the final polish on Your relationship with Your equine partner; no matter how good of a job the trainer has done, the final goal has to be effective communication between You and Your Horse. Not your trainer and your horse. And I say "relationship" but call it what you will.
And in the long run, it doesn't matter how you go about developing it, or what form it takes, only that it exists.
Furthermore, I doubt that the majority of forum members fall into the professional trainer category; a pro already has his/her tool set pretty well defined, and probably will not be online looking for generalized answers. It's the average horse owner, I think, who probably makes up the majority of a forums readers. Not contributors, mind you, readers.
Just as a rough common denominator, these good people probably want a happy relationship with their equine, and a relaxing ride or other interaction with them once in awhile. And they deserve to be able to find references to all sorts of "tools" when they come looking. It is then up to them to sort the wheat from the chaff, to apply Critical Thinking if you will.
So I would argue that the purpose of this forum, of the Internet in general for that matter, is exactly the opposite of what Smilie proposes. If someone wants a "stock" answer, they can get it from Linda, Pat, or Clint. Or from Smilie should she choose to contribute. But let's not discourage the alternate points of view.
My exalted opinion, and worth every penny you paid for it :-) Steve
Aah: 73 DE KG0MB