The clinician explained that horses do not have an innate fear of flames but they react to our feelings and fears. (The instructor meant just the flames. Since he was using a gasoline fire, there was no noise or smoke or even smell that I could tell. Horses can easily be sensitive to any of those. The flames were very limited--always set on a long, narrow pour.)
Every time I go to one of these clinic, it reinforces my personal choice of riding an Icelandic horse.