Temporary Vision Distortions

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Several years ago the Fearless Leader found out I had glasses. I had never in my life worn them while riding. And when he found out I had them but didn’t wear them, he said, “No wonder you can’t see a distance!! From now on you must wear them when you jump.”

I can’t say they actually helped that whole “seeing a distance thing”, but I have dutifully worn them while jumping ever since. I even got the ridiculous goggles just for the sport.

Just recently, when my optometrist let me know I was officially old as dirt that I needed the dreaded reading glasses, I shrugged & didn’t think too much about it.

These days they have these fancy lenses called progressives that “blend” the far vision into the close vision as it moves down the lense. So no more “bifocal” stuff.

It sounded good to me, and I promptly picked out the frames I liked – which – OF COURSE – were the most expensive ones on the shelf.

But they all looked amazing, so I slapped down my credit card & bought 3 sets for different outfits (yes I’m that girl.) And when I ordered my traditional birth control goggles to ride in I was going to get them without the progressive lenses, but the eyewear technician suggested I wouldn’t be able to read things and I should get those with them as well.

So I did.

Thinking that I’m all set with my new spectacles, I head off to the show, and things got pretty weird pretty fast.

My entire riding career, I’ve never been a “jump ahead” type of rider. Jumping ahead is a common “beginner error” but I learned ages ago that you’re always better off in the back seat.

I may even be one of the only riders in the world that actually HAS fallen off backwards.

A bunch of coaches like to say, “No one ever falls off backwards”, and then I have to sheepishly raise my hand and say, “Actually………”

But back to the story. I have my new glasses, and I head into the ring on the new pony (I’ll tell his story in a future blog). But the short version is that I just got him and believe it or not he’s 3 inches BIGGER than the already quite large Zebrasaurus, so I’ve dubbed him the Zebaysauraus.

He’s brand new, and I’d only done a couple of courses on him. I head into the ring and I miss fairly epically at the first jump

but fortunately they’re tiny so he takes it in stride. We canter down the next line which was ok, and then I round the turn for jump 4, see it 3 strides away, get to the base of the jump and then……

launch – up – his – neck.

(No that’s not actually him.)

And as soon as it happens I’m thinking, “What the actual F just happened??” I saw it pretty far out. I thought I was right at the base of the jump. And for someone that has not “jumped ahead” in decades, literally…….

…… I had just jumped up his neck.

I – was – shocked.

Fortunately, he’s GINORMOUS and was still able to clear the itty bitty jump with me hanging out in front of the saddle, and we still managed to finish our round.

I came out of the ring shaking my head.

I was confused. Really confused.

I didn’t understand what was wrong with me, but I had my round on the Zebrasaurus next, (over much larger jumps) so I headed off to that ring.

Mind you, I’ve had him for over 7 years and we usually have our act together.

I had a pretty good plan of action. I’d even walked my course (which these days in show jumper land is pretty unusual.) The first line was a straight 6 to a bending left handed 7. He tends to lean left a little, so I typically have to hold out a bit to keep those left handed lines steady.

I jumped jump 1, no problem.

Made the turn to the next line, and did the steady 6 just right. I thought I was totally going to smoke this round.

And then I did my bending left handed line. I held way out, got to what I THOUGHT was right at the base of the jump, and when I went to leave the ground…….

He didn’t.


I basically, dove off my horse.

Now I was REALLY confused.

I came out of the ring saying it was a perfect 7 and I was right at the base so I truly don’t understand what happened. And the fearless leader said. “Um. You were a mile away. But I’ll give you this. You sure did commit to that distance.”

So! It turns out one of the warnings on these fancy progressive lenses, is “temporary vision distortions”.

And let me tell you, I have never had something mess up my depth perception more.

So after jumping ahead twice on two different horses, thinking I was right at the base of the jump,


I pulled out my old glasses, and everything went back to normal.

Thank goodness.

I can’t really see a distance anyway! I definitely didn’t need any more setbacks in that area.

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