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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

4 Reasons You need To Hack Your Horse Once a Week

Hacking or trail riding is a great activity for any horse and rider to do every week.  The problem is a lot of riders aren't doing it often enough.  

Whether you just don't have any good hacking near you OR you are scared of how your hot horse will react (yes I'm talking about myself, almost every time I've fallen off a horse has been on a hack!) things need to change.  

Here are just a few advantages that your horse will benefit from if you start hacking once per week or more.  

1. concentration practise

Hacking is amazing for schooling while your horse is getting to see the world.  It means that you can go over your school training in a new environment providing concentration practise.  

You can do many exercises while hacking your horse between just enjoying your hack.  I like to do mini leg yields from one side of the track to the other.  It is also a great time to work on transitions like walk to canter and canter to walk (as well as working on control!).  

Two horses being ridden on the beach sand with the ocean in the background

2.  Desensitising

We all know a spooky horse who is a nightmare to ride at competitions and spooks at everything.  I own one myself and I find that hacking really helps to desensitise your horse.  For example, if your horse is scared of traffic you can hack in a field next to a small road and slowly get closer to the cars.  

My horse will start to nap and spook when she is alone so I slowly increase the distance that I go on a hack until she is comfortable with just her and me.  

Hacking can really help to work on your horse's training problems as well as working on your bond.  

Two light coloured horses being hacked down a small road with trees and grass too each side

3.  Avoiding boredom

I think we forget how boring it can be for the horse if he is ridden in the same place every day.  For us riders, we are in deep concentration while riding.  Although your horse will be too, during breaks and at times when you don't have his concentration, it can get boring.  

I personally always switch out where I ride between the two schools and out hacking.  I also ride in our turnout field during the good weather.  

A horse being galloped on the beach with the sunset in the background

4.  Fitness

My favourite way to increase fitness is hacking.  Your horse can gain so much muscle from just walking up and down hills for a week.  Hacking is part of my weekly riding schedule and also most professional riders as well.  

You can use your hack to work on interval training, hill work and schooling OR just have a fun ride while naturally getting fit.  

Two horses being cantered up a grass hill at the top of a mountain


I am not a horse trainer or any other equestrian professional.  I only give advice on horsey topics that I have experience as a horse owner in.  Please don't follow my advice without contacting a relevant equestrian professional.  


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