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The White Pheasant

A white pheasant, credit Mike Pennington

On our yard each year we are haunted by a ghostly white creature which lurks next to the arena, spooking the horses. Nearly all the horses have a huge dislike of this creature and when the white pheasant appears, that part of the arena is a spook zone.

Weirdly, Scottie is one of the few horses who doesn’t seem too bothered by the white pheasant. Just the other day I was riding when I clocked it on the grass next to the arena and Scottie didn’t bat an eyelid. But some of the horses can be a nightmare if the pheasant makes an appearance. So much so that there is regular jokes or perhaps prayers that one of the foxes will finally catch this devil!

But needless to say, each year a white pheasant appears and loiters around our arena. While I don’t know how possible it is for it to be the same pheasant each year, it is odd that a white pheasant appears in the same place each year. If it’s not the same pheasant, maybe it’s a cruel trick from one of our neighbours?

Why are the horses so bothered by a white pheasant?

I have been trying to think of a reason why this pheasant is so scary to the majority of the horses on our yard. They all have sparrows and often pigeons nesting in their stables. So are used to birds being around them. Hell, the pigeons even sit on the fence while you ride and take off, flying at you as you pass. This doesn’t seem to pose a threat to our horses.

We also regularly have chickens wandering about. Until recently we have a grey chicken, affectionately known as Susan who used to wander around the same areas as the pheasant and would even come in the arena with us. While the horses would give her a look when she first appeared, none of them reacted to her as badly as they have to the pheasant.

Oddly, all the horses regularly have normal coloured pheasants in their field or out hacking. None of these cause them a problem. So perhaps it is the colour what bothers them so much?

Faking it?

But after this amazing photo was taken of one of the worst pheasant spooking offenders, maybe it isn’t the pheasant at all! Maybe the pheasant is just the perfect excuse to get out of work in the school. Hell, maybe the pheasant is in on it!

Do any of your horses spook at things in one place but not in another?

Last Updated on 14/01/2022

4 thoughts on “The White Pheasant”

  1. Haha I am convinced that some of the smart ones fake it. Some too that are insecure will be fine with something on the ground but the second they are ridden will spook at something they have not spooked at before.

  2. I’ve never seen a white pheasant! That’s pretty cool. I know they say horses can’t “fake” things like that. From experience though it sure seems like they can! Stupid smart horses. 😉

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