Arabians have special spook dispensation. They can flip out at something they’ve passed quietly every day for a year, and it actually can be an honest reaction. Ask anyone who has ever known or owned and Arab. The stories abound.
Arabian Story Number One: The Tevis
My friend Marge rode her Arabain gelding, Bob, in the Tevis Cup. This is THE big deal endurance race. Non-riders? It’s the Endurance Superbowl.
She suddenly saw, with great shock, the finish line…a perfectly doable distance away. What?! No one was in front of her. No one was already there waiting, surrounded by a crowd. She realized she was in the lead. Come in FIRST? She was hoping for somewhere in the top 20. Bob was in terrific shape; hydrated, energetic, just booming along in a big ground-eating trot. Then the trail narrowed and she lost sight of the crowd.
Uh-oh, Marge spots something up ahead. Blue lump of cloth on the ground, smack in the middle of the trail. A photographer dropped his jacket? Okay okay. Pretend it’s no big deal. Ride. To her great surprise, Bob pays no attention to it whatsoever, he bombs right over the jacket! She’s within sight of the finish. She glances back, sees three other riders gaining behind her.
Suddenly, Bob stops dead, his ears flicking questioningly, nearly unseating Marge. Something is wrong. He saw SOMETHING. Better check it out to be safe. Bob BACKS UP the trail and right back over the jacket. I’d like to point out that he’s now gone quietly over the jacket twice. Once forward. Once backward.
Bob stops when the jacket is finally in front of him again, where he can properly evaluate the danger. He plants, puts his head down to snort at it, and FREAKS OUT. IT’S GONNA KILL US. WE’RE GONNA DIEEEEE…AAAAHHHHHHH and he bolts off sideways through the brush.
I think they finished 20th. Arabs. You never know.