Windy “Jumps” a Hawk

My mare Windy is the current horse hero in our barn, although I’m certain sHe’s not aware of the accolade or even what happened.? I didn’t either at the time.? A hawk flew between Windy?s legs and she didn’t even turn a hair. Good thing we had a witness.? My coach Jessie had her eyes on us at just that moment.? We were trotting by the open doors at the end of the arena when a hawk flew in low, right under Windy?s belly.? I felt Windy make a weird scrambling movement, which wasn?t anything like a shy or a stumble, but then was fine, so I kept on going.? Jess started shouting, and I pulled up.? This huge hawk was now banging around the ring against the windows and up into the rafters. Not only were Windy and I unaware of the hawk at first, but the hawk was probably perplexed as well.? He couldn?t have seen us approaching the doors at the same instant he chose to swoop in.? But, now he was trapped with people and horses, and he was panicked. We managed to sort of herd him back toward the end doors, but he settled on the ground behind the mounting block.? Jess was holding up Windy?s wool cooler, and she used it to direct the hawk back outside. I mentioned the incident to the barn manager, and she said a hawk had been sighted in the ring earlier in the week, probably having figured out he had easy pickings with the squirrels and birds that lived in the rafters.? Come to think of it, the racket up there has been a lot quieter lately.? We now keep the doors shut all the time, and the hawk hasn?t come back. I’d never before heard of a direct hawk/horse incident, or of hawks coming into a barn or indoor arena for that matter. Owls, yes, but not hawks. But just a couple days later I was teaching at another indoor in the area and learned they?d recently had a hawk living in their ring for three days.? That ring only has windows near the top of the walls, while the walls on our ring are half Plexiglas.? Maybe that hawk felt more secure, because the horses didn’t bother him either.? Little sparrow feathers kept wafting down on occasion.? Finally the hawk flew headlong into a window and knocked himself out.? They were able to pick him up and get him back outside, where he flew off.? I don’t think I would have been brave enough to have my own hand-to-hawk close encounter, no matter how stunned the hawk. Everyone?s been very impressed that Windy ?jumped? over a hawk, and she certainly seemed nonplussed.? I think if she?d actually realized a hawk had flown underneath her, though, that she would have reacted in the expected manner. I don’t have any desire to repeat the incident and find out.

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