Puzzle pieces - I was reading Sydney's post "The Great Bucket Experiment" over at Bitless Horse and a light bulb went off for me. If you haven't visited Sydney, please do. Her blog is very insightful and full of wonderful information.
You see her post is in regards to buckets and water and how the colour of the bucket can effect how much water the horse drinks. She pointed out that white is the only true colour that stands out in a horses vision which is primarily a world of grays and muted yellows.
This put the last piece in my puzzle over Bonnie and her extreme fear of paper. I thought it was all paper... but Sydney's post made me think. Is it just paper.. all paper of all colours and textures? No - I can lead her with a magazine open in hands reading it with lead just looped over my arm. A plastic grocery sack (non-white) can float through the air under her nose and she doesn't bat an eye.
Hand a piece of bright white paper up to me while I'm in the saddle and she completely looses her mind. I mean flight or fight fear. Approach her on the ground with the super scary piece of white paper and she trembles, foams, has even struck out at it when she realized she couldn't run away.
Until today I thought it was white paper but Sydney has got me thinking of all other times Bonnie has acted "goofy". The kids riding helmet is white. While on their heads Bonnie just eyes it but nothing beyond that. BUT if you are leading her with the helmet in your hands, and you turn the helmet toward her, she attempts to bolt. My helmet is black - I can put it on her head and rub her all over with it. No problems at all.
It's not paper, it's not her being silly or having a "hole" in her desensitizing... it's vision. Is it possible that she is just hyper sensitive to the colour white? Could she have a vision problem? When vet comes out for spring shots and teeth float I'll have this discussion with him.
Sydney - I'd like to offer a huge thank you. You've opened my eyes to what could be a physical problem with my mare and I will not be moving into the next step of "getting her past this" until I speak to my vet.