Henry Blake was writing at a time when most horses were backed and trained, one suspects, with considerably more force than is acceptable today. He evidently made a career out of re-training horses who were sent to him as either "mad" or "bad" (and as he says, none of them were anything of the sort) and did so with kindness, trying to see the world through the horse's eyes.
Although he was obviously no pushover and set very clear boundaries, he went to great lengths to train horses using positive techniques, using activities horses were likely to find easy and enjoyable. The downside, as he says himself, is that these types of techniques take a lot more time and patience than training a horse by fear.
"Since fear training is quick and easy, why do we take so much trouble to avoid it?
The answer is that it is effective only when teaching relatively simple tasks...it is a short term technique.
When you are training a horse you are working with a long term end in view. You want a finished product - a co-operative, willing and enthusiastic horse.
If you use the method of avoiding pain the animal will very quickly learn the minimum that is required to do so. You will end up at best with a horse which is doing the absolute minimum to avoid punishment. At worst, if you are dealing with an excitable and nervous or very strong charactered horse you will end up with an animal that is completely unmanageable."
So what has that got to do with working horses barefoot?
The answer is that if you are intending to work a horse without shoes successfully you have to take a long term view.
If you have a horse whose feet are not strong enough to cope with roadwork or stony tracks then the quickest and easiest way to deal with this is by putting a set of shoes on him.
This, after all, is the commonest reason for shoeing horses, both historically and today - the rider wants a higher level of performance out of the hooves than they are presently capable of. Its similar to the "fear training" Henry Blake describes because it simply achieves the immediate end without taking account of the long term view.
By contrast, those of us with barefoot horses are opting for the slower but (in my opinion) more complete approach of building a stronger and healthier hoof in order to get the same - or in fact an even higher - level of performance out of the hooves.
However, this will never be achieved overnight. A truly fit and healthy hoof, like a truly fit and healthy horse (funny how often the two go together...) is only achieved with patience, persistence, attention to detail and hard work over many months and years.
Many owners have a pretty steep learning curve once they start taking really looking at hooves. If your previous responsibility for your horse's feet was confined to booking the farrier regularly it can come as a tremendous shock to discover the effects that poor diet, poor lifestyle and poor biomechanics can have not only on hooves but on the whole horse.
The thing is - once you've seen the magnificent levels of work which perfectly healthy hooves are capable of over extremely tough surfaces its hard to be happy with anything less.
A really sound healthy hoof has so many advantages over a shod foot - of which the most important are probably its superb ability to shock-absorb and better proprioception.
A hoof without a shoe is also efficiently able to adjust growth rates depending on the surfaces and mileage the horse is working over and finally there are the (not inconsiderable) fringe benefits of fewer injuries to themselves or to other horses or humans plus the fact that you never have to worry about losing shoes.
I'd never criticise someone who preferred a quick fix for their horses' hooves but its certainly not for me or my horses :-)