Matt – you are right – in the horse world there are always a thousand different opinions about everything!
For myself, I always wear spurs and carry a crop. I have never had too much problems with a horse that bucks. Pull up their head and push ‘em forward with my spurs. You can feel when they are about to try it most of the time. Then, back in the barn I always check for problems with the fit of the tack. Also check out their condition a lot more thoroughly, including their teeth. Horses act up a lot when they are in pain or uncomfortable. Of course, I have also had a few that were just lazy, or had spent to much time in the barn and a bit sour, and try to get rid of you so they can keep doing their thing. Ha. That’s when I give them a basic refresher course, working them in a pen or small paddock on the line to remind them of what is what and who is who. It’s the ones that want to rear that really tick me off!