2 minutes read
2 mins read

Leisure: Five tips to enjoy a happy hack

08 Dec 2021

Hacking out really is one of the ultimate joys of owning a horse and it doesn’t have to just be a joy for you, your horse really can benefit from it too! Over time horses will become less spooky, more confident, and have the chance to switch off and relax away from a tough schooling session. On top of that, hacking can build muscles and improve fitness in ways that ordinary arena and school work, just cant. 

We hope this short guide can lead you and your horse on many a happy hack!


1. Start with company

When it comes to hacking, horses need to learn that they’re to enjoy themselves too. Especially with younger horses or those that lack confidence, it can be a good idea to get used to hacking with other more experienced horses first. Bringing a reliable elder horse along with a trusted rider can enable your horse to walk calmly alongside which will in turn build confidence until they are no longer needed.


2. Try another rider

Understandably, nobody wants to think they can’t control their own horse but it can sometimes be really beneficial to have another experienced rider try and take your charge for a hack to see what they can report back with. While sometimes all that is required is that bit more experience from another rider, it can also be a case of different riding style or approach to the hack. It may just be that your horse isn’t responding to your soft style and needs a firmer hand or vice versa. Being able to compare notes with another rider may just be all it takes.


3. Make it fun

It’s important here to understand what your horse’s version of fun is, but for some all it may take is a pop over a log for it to be seen as a real positive experience away from home. Crucially though, when starting out the horse must remember that a hack is a positive and this can be done by taking a small bag of carrots out with you, walk them im-hand along a hacking route with plenty of pats and encouragement. These are just a few ideas and let’s be honest you know your horse better than anyone so whatever it takes to make the experience something to look forward to in the future rather than a stressful one should do the trick.


4. Comfort is key

Some horses will do anything to stay with their friends and will be reluctant to hack out alone but making them as comfortable as possible will ease that burden. Try removing them from their herd friends for short periods of time during the day and if possible, rotate them with other horses to avoid any separation anxiety with any one horse.


5. Don’t give up

The most important thing of all is to be persistent. As with most horsey problems, a good end result will boil down to hard work and persistence. Keep on hacking and using the tips above to keep sessions as exciting and comfortable as possible for your companion. Like all things it will take time, but hacking can really be a question of getting out of it what you put in.