Richard has owned two very different horses and hacking out has always been an important part of his riding regime, whether it be for fun or part of a training need, below he tells us how different the two experiences have been and why.
Some days I would pack up the saddle bags with Bea’s and my favorite treats and go for day long hacks,… special times. When it came to competing at the local riding club I would always ensure we had our special time by hacking the 4 mile trip there and back, something she always enjoyed and took in her stride.
When Tommy arrived I was looking forward to continuing this tradition, but, he was much greener and spooked a lot easier, so all though I knew all the positives of hacking out, I felt slightly different on Tommy who in the beginning was harder to control which changed how secure and enthusiastic I was to take him out.
Thankfully not log after getting Tommy I moved to Katy Thomas yard (Newfield Livery) where thankfully I was able to get him out more on roads that are much quieter. We started going out early in the morning to avoid traffic and dog walkers and now that both of us have settled down we have discovered an up hill canter track in woods which is not only great for our fitness training, but also good for Tommy to get used to different sights and sounds, we love this time together and try to go to our special place every week.
It is important to remember that safety comes first when hacking out – It can be quite easy to forget even the simple safety elements when you’re having that special time with your horse.
BE SEEN AND BE SAFE - You and your horse should always wear high-viz clothing and even hi viz gaiters for your horse, wear a recognized safety standard riding hat and body protector and white gloves, have insurance that will cover you for public liability (this can be got from all equine insurers or as part of your BHS gold membership). Always try and inform someone if you are going out on your own, Know the rules of the road and read the Highway Code especially if you are a non-driver – If in doubt think safety first!! Roads are getting busier and busier so why not think about doing the British Horse Society Riding and Road Safety Test. I went to Murthwaite Green Trekking centre in Cumbria to take mine as part of a long weekend break there and learnt so much. The first day we did a whole day of ridden and non-ridden training, followed by more ridden training on the morning of day two and then the test in the afternoon. I am pleased to say I passed the test, as did all my fellow riders. Then on the final day we went for an amazing gallop on the beach to have a bit of fun.
If you or your horse is worried about hacking out on the roads then if you are lucky enough to have your own transport then take them to one of the many farm and country rides that have no road works at all. Failing that, get a friend to walk on foot with you, or ride a calm experienced horse with you or get your instructor or a more experienced rider to take your horse on hacks so they can gain experience from an experienced rider.
One final thing to mention and something I am considering doing myself, is buying a head cam so that you can video your hacks, not only will this help you analyze your hack on return it may help if there is ever an incident to have a recording of it which may be used as evidence if you ever get in to a situation of one persons word against yours.
Hacking out should be fun and enjoyable – Remember to stay safe.
www.mountainhorse.co.uk - Supply Richard with his riding clothing and footwear
www.championhats.co.uk - Supply Richard with his riding protection
Click here tor read more real life stories that will motivate and inspire you and your riding
Bea climbing Stanage Edge http://youtu.be/oB7GsqRdF4M
Tommy cantering in the woods http://youtu.be/-kT6QOo3fxY
TOP TIP - DEALING WITH GATES WHEN HACKING