I agree with you so much on tradition. Traditions usually get started for good (although not necessarily morally good) reasons and then are continued for totally different reasons. I have always been very interested in how to change traditions in another area of life, religion and spiritual life, and it is incredibly hard there, too, to encourage change. I see so many parallels between exploring alternate and better ways of relating to animals and alternate ways of living spiritual life. I'll have to look to see if anyone has posted on that yet.
Ritual is comforting. Comfort is thus a powerful incentive. Change is uncomfortable, yet another powerful incentive. The two together, as is most often the case, keeps people doing the "safe" and "better" old one. In fact they will often identify the old as being "true," and the new as being "false." Makes their own internal argument, if any, short and final.
One can even solidify the old more by attacking it.
Changing people most often, other than by shock coupled with or as a result of force, is accomplished by slowly introducing new ritual that replaces the old.
In fact wise teachers, including those that teach riding and horse handling know about and use this. And the closer to the old comfortable rituals one can make the new the more likely it is to be accepted.
They have been known, on occasion, to even repeat themselves as they instruct.