Natural Light and the Vigilant Horse!

Here is a photo of the arena on cloudy day a few weeks ago.

Here is a sunny day. One of the nice things about this arena is that large window with so much natural light coming in.

Horses are highly vigilant. They are aware of even the smallest changes in their surroundings. This is how they have survived for millennia. When I am riding Biasini in this nice bright arena I am usually thinking about how he is going and what we are working on. But sometimes an important change may have taken place in the few seconds it takes to go around the arena. Let’s say it was cloudy when we were up at the A end of the arena under the big window. But then the sun comes out and by the time we get back to A. There has been a big change. Look!

For Biasini the patterns of sunlight can be alarming. They were NOT there the last time he passed by. Is this something dangerous? What is it? I know it is just the sunlight but he does not know that. To him there is now something on the floor of the arena. He may balk or slow down or try to spin round and go away from it. But if it is a sunny day as in the second photo then he will have seen those patterns the whole time he is in the arena and not be concerned. It is a concern to him if they appear and disappear. I know that he will put his head up but if I speak to him and give his withers a rub he will bravely carry on.

This is my response to this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge Natural Light. Amy is the Lens Artist who chose this challenge and there have been some amazing responses to it so do click on the link and see some of the responses in the links and pingbacks in Amy’s comments.

24 Comments Add yours

  1. da-AL says:

    beautiful & fascinating! I’m always wondering at how my critters make sense of living with humans — habits, reactions, based on trying to figure out what we want even though our wants are surely so mysterious to them…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes! horses are hard wired for survival and we are hard wired for goals and thinking about “what is next”.

      Like

  2. firnhyde says:

    Four-year-old Anja, a baby Friesian, doesn’t give a hoot about any of the spooky objects around the arena – baboons on the hillside, the silly young stallion plunging around in his field, chickens scratching in the sand, the tractor going past – but at a certain time of day, the sunlight hits the mirrors just right and reflects onto the track. Anja is NOT on board with that. She is a good little girl and won’t do anything silly, but she will step delicately over the reflection every time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Interesting that she reacts to the reflections. She thinks they are suspicious. But what a good girl to not be silly about all the other things

      Like

  3. Marsha says:

    Our cats are a little like that too, Anne. They get spooked by things on the carpet like light! 🙂 Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Marsha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marsha says:

        You are welcome, Anne. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That makes sense, “visually vigilant” as a survival skill. I’m definitely more cautious of my footing all winter, and after a couple of slip & falls on icy patches, anything shiny or reflective on a path, makes me pretty wary and even brings me to a halt, if I’m carrying things.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Well Robert always better safe than sorry. I absolutely do NOT want to fall in ice and snow. Yesterday I took Biasini out for a walk on the forest trails. I noticed he would step aside into the mushy snow rather than walk on the icy paths. Clever horse 🐎

      Liked by 1 person

  5. dprastka says:

    Great photos! And I’ve been envious of those with indoor arenas but there are some drawbacks too, never thought about the possibility of changing shadows!! Love your post. 🐴❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks for commenting Diana. In our climate an indoor arena is a must. In the summer the arena is opened up and on hot days we get some shade and in the winter good footing and the temperature is kept just above freezing with an overhead heating system. So I’ll put up with the changing shadows!😄

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anne Sandler says:

    Thank you so much Anne for giving us a lesson on how a horse perceives differences in natural light. I would not have thought they would be so sensitive. Great blog post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Anne. Horses are prey animals and they have survived by being very vigilant about changes in their environment whether is it something moving or a noise or shadows on the arena floor.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. David says:

    We understand Biasini here. 🙂 One of the practice arenas at RRC is covered and open-sided. We can have sunny days that can become overcast quite quickly, and vice versa. When the daughters practice in that ring, they need to be careful because their horses are more prone to spooking if the sky condition changes quickly. If the change is more gradual, not much of a problem. The unheated indoor arena has windows that runs the length near the top of each side, but the lighting dampens whatever shadows on the arena floor. The indoor arena (the girls call Lux) has windows on the sides but is fully lighted, and cancels out any shadowing on the floor. Lighting in Lux, also, can be adjusted to resemble most indoor arenas here or abroad. Mark and Trish spent a fortune on Lux.

    O/T: Dr. Kennerly vaccinated G-Man yesterday (Wed) morning (first half), did a blood draw for his Chem 25 panel and Coggins test. I asked her about the EHV-1 (neuro) in Europe for you. She knows it bad; hopefully the quarantines would limit spread. But since there are some shows going on with horses that passed through hot zones, Dr. Kennerly believes FEI hasn’t done enough to limit spread. If they did a full-stop shutdown, then they can really get a handle on it. (This sounds eerily familiar.) If the girls were competing internationally (and they’re not), she would recommend staying home. Besides, they’re having COVID issues in Europe despite vaccination.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      We are getting the vet in to do the EHV vaccine in the next couple of weeks. Up here there has been 2 confirmed cases of the non neurological strain . With regard to the light in the arena there are also windows down both sides . But they do not get such sharply outlined shadows as the big window. They usually put on the lighting in dull days and evenings but it isn’t needed otherwise. The horse EHV situation and the Covid one are really tough. Enough already is what I’m saying!!

      Like

  8. Sometimes I am so excited to know this world from horse’s mind or thought, that happens only through this blog. I truly love this blog so much ❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I am delighted to know that you enjoy learning about horses. That really encourages me. Thank you.

      Like

  9. JohnRH says:

    Hmm. Biasini discerns. Excellent.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes he is visually vigilant. Thanks for commenting John.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Amy says:

    Beautiful natural light through the A window. It’s interesting to read about how Biasini react to the light changes. Thank you for sharing, Anne!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome Amy.

      Like

  11. Tina Schell says:

    Well Anne, I’m thinking yours will be the only response offered from the perspective of a horse’s reaction to natural light! Kudos for your original approach, I loved it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I have learned to be aware of sunshine to cloudy changes as I know Biasini could balk whe he sees the shadows. Thanks for commenting Tina.

      Liked by 1 person

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