Re: do you / would you hit your horse?
I've never had a problem with Bracken, Grouse, or Monty on the ground, and Monty in particular is extremely sensitive to not enter into personal space.
But, since we've had Fate and Captain, my elbows have been in use a lot! Fate is fine, as good as the others, but Captain, being a shettie, wants to be everywhere, finding out what's going on.
He's not nasty or particularly bargy, just curious - if I'm picking out the others feet, he's there looking in, if I'm making a fuss of one of them, he wants to be there too.
He gets the elbow treatment or a slap on the shoulder and a firm 'NO', and very often he'll also get a nip from Monty as well, but he's really game and will be back for more.
He's 14 or 15 now, and we've had him 5 months, so it's going to be a long time before he learns proper manners, but we'll get there :o)