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Chronic migraines with dizziness and fainting spells

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  • Chronic migraines with dizziness and fainting spells

    Anyone have any tips on working with horses with chronic migraines that leave me dizzy and prone to fainting at random unpredictable times? I'm a life-long equestrian, but I've given up riding because of this issue. I'm hoping to get back into driving, but I'm feeling hesitant.

  • #2
    Assuming your doc gives the all clear, I'd establish a safety protocol you follow without fail

    -wear a helmet - kind of the obvious one.
    -don't work with the horse(s) alone
    -wear a medical ID bracelet with emergency contact info
    -make sure you always have a cell phone with you
    -always know where you are (this is the 911 operator in me)
    -always make sure at least one other person knows where you will be and when you will be back.
    -put contact info on your horse/tack in case you get separated. I have seen some people use dog tags attached to bridles and saddles.

    There is a cell phone ap for horse riders that alerts an emergency contact if you stop moving for a period of time. It sends an audible signal to you before it sends an alert which helps limit those false alarms. When it sends the emergency alert to your predetermined contacts, it includes some location info. I don't remember what it is called, I haven't had a chance to check it out.

    I also found this online when I was looking for the name of that ap...


    I have no clue how reliable it is, but it looks pretty neat.

    Don't give up on your dream. If you want it bad enough, you'll find a way to make it work. Just make your safety a priority and don't take shortcuts.


    • #3
      Please don't put yourself in a position in which you might be driving your pony alone or with children and have an unexpected episode. The reason most equestrians feel driving is more dangerous than riding is because an out of control equine attached to a vehicle is a very scary proposition, much worse than a loose riding horse, which is bad enough. The one time one of my ponies bolted on his own (because I got blown clean out of the cart from being hit by a car), I was very lucky that he headed into my back yard and started grazing. He still did a pretty good job of adding to the damage to the cart beyond what the car did. Luckily, he wasn't hurt.

      I responded to your post on the driving thread, but didn't know about this wrinkle. As a fellow driver with disabilities, I feel for you and hope you can figure out a safe way to enjoy your pony.



      • Original Poster

        Thanks for the suggestions! I'm not at the point where I can drive Thunderpants yet. I'm still trying to work out medication protocol to minimize or eliminate the worst migraines. So hopefully I won't be as much of a hazard.

        In any event I'm hoping to have my kiddos responsible enough to drive as well, so they could take over for me if something happens. They have both already driven minis to easy entry carts. That's another reason I'm sending him out for training--to make sure he's as reliable as possible. That's also why I'm looking at a 4-wheeled vehicle to be sure I always have passengers.

        Today i I was able to long-line the big pony. Everything I do is slow and a work in progress.


        • #5
          I'm not sure how this relates to your migraines, but I had BAD migraines some years back. I'm talking daily here, after a fall. I didn't feel dizzy or like fainting, though. But my neurologist put me on Topamax for half a year and it did wonders for me. Maybe it's something you can talk to your doctor about? Now I have a migraine maybe once a month, tops. Sometimes I go months without one.


          • #6
            My fear would be if you fainted and dropped the lines, and the closest kid couldn't pick them up. My last driving pony (currently living in happy retirement here in South Carolina) was unflappable, and would stop like a statue if I said "whoa." But I'm not sure what he might do if my weight shifted suddenly, or I fell out of the cart. I'm glad we never had to test that possibility.

            Maybe have one of the kids do the driving, and you be a passenger?



            • Original Poster

              Once the pony is up to pulling the weight I'll likely let my son do the driving. Although I'm really hoping/praying that this new migraine shot (Amovig) lives up to it's positive press. So maybe in the near future migraines won't ruin my life so much. I've tried so many different things that haven't worked (years and years of different drugs, doctors, remedies for, etc), that I'm trying not to get too excited about this new drug. However, looking forward to driving Thunderpants is keeping me going. So I'm going to hope for the best & take it one day at a time.



              • #8
                I have chronic migraines also and my neurologist also prescribed me Topamax and it’s made a world of difference. I’ve had a dizzy spell just once mounted a few weeks ago, so I let my friend know and we stopped immediately (we were on a traill) and waited until it subsided.

                I have dizzy spells too. I found out why these happen through a VNG test. I think that was what it was called. I have vestibular weakness on my left side. It’s residual from a concussion I sustained in 2012 from a mount I had in Germany. A new horse my trainer purchased that was untested and he’d asked me to ride. Lovely horse, no one realized she’d never been cantered and she didn’t appreciate the spurs I had on. Yep I was thrown. I had weeks of TBI therapy but I still have weakness. (Yes I was wearing a helmet - imagine my brain without!!!).

                Be safe!
                Last edited by CBurkott; Aug. 14, 2018, 07:14 PM. Reason: Edited for horrendous spelling errors.


                • #9
                  I also suffer near daily chronic migraines with quite a bit of dizziness (though it sounds like not quite to the degree of yours).

                  I am still riding when my dear horse manages to stay uninjured. I have failed or am allergic to most medications (still take Topamax and am waiting on insurance approval for Aimovig as we speak. Though I agree - am only cautiously optimistic). I have a RideSafe bracelet with all my medical info and emergency contacts.

                  Best of luck to you!