Moynz, thanks for realising I was n't trying to have a go at you personally. I think Dr.Deb does explain her science well.
I am lucky to be old enough to have had my early lessons with my great uncle, a real traditionalist who brought on nice young Thoroughbreds for racing, he rode polo, racing, hunting etc, but in India mostly between 1898 and 1920, so he was quite an old man when he patiently took me out on a pony, walking for miles through open spaces and deep forest in Sussex. Never did he raise his voice to horse or child, patient, quiet, consistent. He would never ride a youngster before 4 years old, but they had lots of walks out, games finding out what their tack was, longreining etc. His Jersey housecow was a quiet and companionable lady, always helpful at milking into her bucket, because she knew she was given understanding, consideration and no punishment.
I firmly believe that whilst traditionalists may have used bits and shoes, many of the full time professional grooms and heavy horse ploughmen, cared deeply for their charges, and worked as hard as the horses, yet cleaned the sweat, made a deep bed and fed those horses before ever seeking warmth and food for themselves.
So this part of the Ranger pdf has resonance for me, it is what I was brought up with:-
Bottom line: if you are one of those who equates "starting" with "riding", then I guess you better not start your horse until he's four.
That would be the old, traditional, worldwide view: introduce the horse to equipment (all kinds of equipment and situations, with the handler on the ground) when he is two,
add crawling on and off him at three,
saddle him to begin riding him and teaching him to guide at four,
start teaching him manouvers or the basics of whatever job he's going to do - cavalletti or stops or racing or something beyond trailing cattle - at five, and he's on the payroll at six.
The old Spanish way of bitting reflected this also, because the horse's teeth are n't mature (the tushes have n't fully come in, nor all of the permanent cheek teeth either) until he's six.
Love Susie xx