Monday, May 7, 2012

Harvey and the petals: Part 1

 There are two flowering trees in front of our indoor, and Harv has an uneasy relationship with them.  You don't often think of horses showing fear of things in the natural world. And then you have thoroughbreds. 

It all began...
Years ago, when I was still riding Harv, I tacked him up and led him toward the barn as I had so many times. As we turned the corner toward the indoor arena, my arm was nearly jerked out of its socket. Harv reeled back so hard I'm sure he could've cracked a tooth. Eyes wild, breathing hard, and dancing around, he had a bona fide meltdown. I held on to the reins and followed him as he backed away. What was he afraid of???
  • no dogs
  • no deer
  • no noise
  • no machinery
  • no wind
The horror! The horror!  
I tried to get him to go forward toward the barn, but he would have none of it. He was near hysterical, as only Harv can get. Finally I gave up, led him away, and rode him outside. Nothing to do but scratch your head. He'd been ridden uneventfully the previous day in the indoor.

Later, as I was hosing him off I heard someone remark that the trees in front of the indoor had bloomed overnight (and wasn't it spectacular?).


I had my hands full holding onto Harv, or I probably would have noticed the profusion   of pink blossoms at the indoor entrance. Clearly Harv noted the change. Only Harv would be terrified of pink petals...


  1. Good thing Harv never won the Kentucky Derby. The garland would have given him a heart attack. Silly boy.

  2. My Arab mare spooked in the same over-the-top fashion the other day as I was leading her through the barn. It took me totally off-guard -- she's spooky under saddle but on the ground she's usually pretty mild-mannered, and usually at least I have warning if she's gonna blow. She almost took my arm off. It took me a second to figure out what was terrifying her. The culprit? A new Icelandic pony in a stall several "doors" down from her. She sees new horses come and go all the time, but something about horses of small stature gets her every time. Unafraid of dogs, but PETRIFIED of miniature horses! Ah, the hot-blooded ones...

  3.'s kind of cute, actually. *S*

    But horses do certainly notice even small changes in an environment. Just goes to show how unobservant we often are in our worlds. Challenge a person to tell you "What's there now that wasn't there before?" and he would likely have no idea. But ask Harv? He'd know in a second. It truly is an amazing survival technique.

    Pretty picture, though. And Harv looks to have overcome the worst of his terror.

  4. Well, I know a young AQHA, not a TB,that won't eat carrots because he's terrified of the crunching noise.

  5. This reminds me of an experience I had a few years back. It was with a super quiet mare I was leasing. In the summer I would give her a post workout bath and then sit on her bareback in a halter on the sunny lawn until she dried off, just watching lessons and relaxing. One day when I was doing this she just randomly took off sideways in terror. What freaked her out? They had opened the lid on the patio grill in anticipation of the 4th of July BBQ...She was so worked up I had to hop off and hand walk her before I inevitably fell off, lol. Interestingly she didn't have a problem with the lawn chairs and other new stuff they brought out later for the party. Maybe things are scarier when it's something familiar that changes? Horses are such weirdos, but I guess that's part of why we love them : )


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