She said smack, I take that to mean the handle. That's not the same as stabbing with the business end of the pitchfork. That would be something I would try to avoid. If I was about to get made into a wall pizza I might rap the horse with the handle, if I thought it would improve my odds of survival rather than decrease my odds(as would often be the case), but would not do so in any lesser situations. Usually all that is required to save one from being made into a wall pizza is to wave one's hand at the horse's head and say, 'Pray stop, kind sir, I do not want to be made into a wall pizza.' (In other words, say whatever strikes your fancy, the hand gesture probably will make the horse move back.). I have absolutely seen people - mostly people who don't know much or have emotional problems (can't control their emotions, substance abuse, etc) - get really aggressive with pitch forks and other items if a horse steps out of line the tiniest bit. Some of them are just doing what they were taught, and some are really...messed up. Most of the time, I think they're showing off for an audience (and sometimes that's an audience of one - themselves....). Most of the time, they are dealing with very phlegmatic horses that meekly give in, and most of the time, if a horse didn't meekly submit, they would not know what to do. In short, a lot of really aggressive horse handlers are bullies, and cowards. The aggression is an attempt to seem skilled or powerful. In my experience, with very, very few exceptions, those people get hurt far, far more often than the people who don't get aggressive. I'd say 'aggressive', meaning a huge over-reaction, well past what is necessary to change the behavior. 'Assertive' or 'effective', I think of as just doing the least amount of action that is effective to correct the behavior. So....example, the old Standardbred breeding farm guy Jimmy (75, been working with horses since age 15), would take a youngster and lead him over to the stall wall, and if the youngster moved, he'd give 'em a little flick with a whip. And he'd just stand there, quiet, the rest of the time. Then he'd go over on the other side of the horse, move him over to the other wall, stand there. He would do that about 3 times, and then say it was alright for us girls to go in and clean the stall. No aggression, no screaming, yelling, pitchfork tines in the rump, just....stand there real quiet. Show the animal what to do, rinse, repeat. Done.