Apparently, I had an occular migraine yesterday. I was wondering what had happened and after much googling of a variety of terms such as "geometric shapes in field of vision" I finally found my answer. What I find interesting also is that although I think I tend to be a hypochondriac, I didn't find time until almost 36 hours later to google it (it also occurred to me to call a real professional but that usually costs money so I thought I'd see what kind of wackiness the internets could provide for me).
I was at the barn, I'd just finished my ride and I was cleaning Maiden's feet when I saw a grid flash in front of my eyes. Then it started flashing and wavering and jiggling in my left field of vision. I stood up thinking maybe it was because I had been bent over and the blood rushed to my head but it just got worse. My first thought was "I'm having a stroke ... what the hell are those tests you're supposed to do to tell if you're having a stroke?" Then I remembered that weird things in your field of vision are not a sign of a stroke. So my next thought was "What did I eat or drink that someone could have drugged me with?" And quickly dismissed that because all I'd had was a yogurt and why would any of my friends at the barn drug me? Meanwhile, the wiggly black and white grid was getting much worse and after I put Maiden back in her stall I was having to really concentrate to see past it in order to see where I was going. I did wonder if I was getting a migraine headache but I had those when I was a kid and the symptoms are really severe and obvious and I didn't have any of them (nausea, extreme fatigue, extreme pain). I did figure out it was only in my left eye because if I closed just my left eye I could still the wavy patterns but they were against a back black-drop and I could focus more clearly with my right eye. Because now, ten minutes or so later if I kept my left eye open it was really hard to see and focus past the weird jiggling patterns.
I didn't tell anyone because I figured there was nothing they could do and I reassured myself that if it got worse while I was driving home I'd just have to pull off and call 911 and tell them I couldn't see anything but jiggling patterns. After I finished cleaning up my stuff and sweeping out the groom room I went and sat in my car for a moment and it seemed like it was going away. By the time I pulled out of the driveway of the barn it was totally gone. It was so weird! I'm glad to know what it was and that it was nothing to worry about!
That might be why yesterday and today I felt a little off. I actually felt so off while I was lunging Maiden today that I wondered if I was coming down with the flu. I didn't feel directly sick, just spacey and weak. Luckily that went away after lunging and I stared to ride because Maiden was having an off day too.
First she was just ancy all around. Maybe because it was very busy in the arena - there were three other Western horses with Trainer J and Trainer JD was lunging a student on his horse. Both of those trainers are very loud too and have rather bellowing voices so it had a bit of a chaotic feel to it in the arena. First Maiden spooked a little at a noise coming from outside when we passed the door - but just a little hop to the side and I gave her a little nudge forward with my leg and talked to her and kept her moving to keep her from obsessing on it. Then we passed the bleachers and there was a toddler sitting in them watching her mom out on one of the Western horses and I said "hi" to her as I passed and Maiden looked concerned about her. Then on our next pass I was just saying "hi again" to the little girl when someone on that side dropped something that went "bang!" (but it wasn't out of the ordinary of any of the usual loud noises we hear daily) and next thing I knew I was saying, "Whooops! Here we go!" because Maiden leaped to the side, turned 90 degrees and started to bolt across the arena. It only took a few steps of bolting before she remembered I was on her back and stopped dead in her tracks. Well, I asked her to stop but often when horses are panicked they don't hear you so I was very glad she was able to hear me.
There were lots of gasps from the other riders and Trainer J. asked if I was ok and I said I was fine and very surprised and grateful I stayed on. But it really shook me up. Literally and figuratively. It jerked by lower back around and I could really it in the muscles where I'd been injured 11 weeks ago. I never considered getting off though. We just went and walked some more and I felt so freaked out I wanted to cry, but I didn't want to cry in front of either of the trainers because Trainer J would get worried and advise me to get off and try to relax (in which case I'd freak myself out more and not want to get on again) and Trainer JD would yell at me that I was a wimp and get over it and stop sniveling. Honestly I did not want to do either. So we walked around a lot and I reminded myself that I had just proven to myself that her spooks were really not that bad and pretty easy to ride so why was I worried? And after awhile I got over it enough that we were able to trot and we were both able to relax so much that she stretched her neck way out and down and trotted along with her nose practically in the dirt, lifting her back and using her propulsion for the hind end and getting a really nice work-out.
Trainer J has a mother and daughter who ride at the same time and I like them so we all rode around together and were practicing similar things despite riding in different disciplines. I've been telling the mom about dressage and she seems really interested in it. So, that took my mind off my anxiety too until I felt like I'd gotten my confidence back as far as my own riding goes. There was one other student who was having terrible trouble with her lesson horse and was worrying me. The horse was getting really angry with her because she was wiggling all over the place in the saddle and yanking the reins around and didn't seem to be grasping what Trainer J. was telling her to do. A couple times her horse started to rear and I could tell Trainer J. was getting worried too. I ended up deciding we'd done enough work and it was best to clear out when the girl's horse had had it with her and started scooting backwards straight toward Maiden and me and despite the trainer's instruction to let up on the reins the girl kept pulling back on them which was making it worse (and which is what led to the attempt to rear incident). Oh my. I don't know what the story is but I don't want to be out there again when that girl is out there. With the mom and daughter if I was trotting and they were walking I could call out "passing on the inside!" and they'd keep on the outside and the three of us knew where each of us were at all times to not run into each other. But I tried to pass this girl and called out "on the inside" and she just weaved straight toward me. I hate to say it but some people just should not get on the back of a horse. She should probably start on a saw horse with a saddle until she can learn to process and follow directions a little better.
I actually had wanted to stay in the arena and watch Trainer JD's lesson for a bit but decided to opt for my safety from ditzo-rama girl and her horse she couldn't control (and was pissing off with her awful wiggly seat and yanking on the poor horses face). He had a somewhat new student who had messed around with horses before taking dressage and was amazed how little she knew - just like me. So, I took an immediate liking to her and had hoped to watch a little of her lesson. Oh well. At least I'm all in one piece!
In other nice Spring time news, I put out some bird feeders a couple weeks ago and word has finally gotten around to the bird population. The one right outside the sliding glass door next to our back deck seems to be the most popular. So far I've seen black capped chickadees and sparrows. The kittens love it and will spend hours in front of the sliding glass doors, all hunched up and chittering at the birds.