Equine are cognitive, intelligent creatures that experience emotions such as fear, anxiety, and joy.
All animals are subject to the same laws of applied behavior analysis (ABA.)
While tactile cues and safety equipment are a realistic necessity of caring for and training animals, any stimulus not paired with a positive stimulus is, at best, neutral and, at worst, frightening and/or painful to the animal.
Animals who learn to exhibit behaviors to escape or avoid fear or pain have by definition been subjected to an aversive stimulus.
Avoidance learning is very real, and the threat of pain is just as capable of inducing stress, fear and emotional damage as the pain itself.
If you know better – please do better!