Solo hacking questions

Discussion in 'Confidence Club' started by Pencilbeckett, May 20, 2011.

  1. Pencilbeckett

    Pencilbeckett New Member

    Hi All

    Took Ozzy over Cannock Chase alone today :frown:. I have been riding in company in the evenings but i am missing alot of family time and have decided i need to be able to enjoy my horse without relying on others. He went out okish very slow hesitant walk, also tried to turn for home a few time and i pushed him forward gave him leg. Had a few spooks one big one on the way home when a lady was behind a bush filling her wheelie bin with branches.

    Anyway the difference in Ozzy when hacking alone is massive. In company her bounces on the spot at canter tracks loves going fast. Minimal spooking. On his own i barley got more than a walk out of him he shies left and right if we do trot or canter which makes me worry i will come off and be alone. The turning for home worries me also does this mean he may bolt? How can i improve his confidence alone? I feel really pleased we did it today but would like to feel more safe and would like Ozzy to enjoy himself a bit more any tips?

    Thanks Guys :wink:
  2. nat17

    nat17 Minnie, Sam and Dolly

    I think the key for solo hacking is repetition, maybe doing it every day for a week if you can, he will most likely be better next time anyway. :wink:

    I am sure as he gets used to it, your confidence in him will grow too:wink:
  3. natural horse

    natural horse New Member

    Just an opinion, but I imagine he is probably picking up on your uncertainty too. He will probably be wondering what you are worried about, so is hesitent to go forward, looks left and right to see where the danger is and spooks at the least little thing. Also he doesn`t have another horse to give him confidence. I think once he has been ridden alone a few times he will get better. Fortunately this is one problem I never had, as circumstances meant most of my riding was done alone. In fact (not being anti-social!) I prefer it. I can go at my own pace and choose where I go.
  4. nat17

    nat17 Minnie, Sam and Dolly

    With solo hacking, it's about repetition, so the more he does it the better he will hopefully get. You may find that next time he will be much better.

    The better he gets the more your confidence in him will grow, maybe try having alone every day for a week and see what happens :wink:
  5. nat17

    nat17 Minnie, Sam and Dolly

    I knew I was not going crazy, I posted on her but when I looked it had gone....but it's posted twice:tongue: thougt I was going mad:cold:
  6. notpoodle

    notpoodle Well-Known Member

    just keep at it and try to make it fun for him :) just act like it's perfectly normal and just 'something we do now'! it sounds like he's more than halfway there anyways :D and have fun!
  7. Flipo's Mum

    Flipo's Mum Heavy owner of a Heavy

    Very similar to what I experience with my boy when we brave it alone. TBH I know I'm transmitting 'oh crap' signals when we do try it solo so I'm not surprised he's a bit hesitant. I think if you gave him a slight nudge to go home he'd do it as speedily as possible - don't know if you'd call that a bolt but certainly in my case it would be a dash for safety lol!
    I'm starting to think about getting him doing things to keep him occupied so he won't spook or nap towards home. Schooling moves really. I also do alot of inhand walking alone, solo with a foot soldier at his head, and will gradually get my foot soldier to walk further and further behind so as to let us take the lead.
    Oh and I do the same rabbit warren of nursery routes round the back of my field - one way one day, the opposite way the next, but in our safety zone so he can become more comfortable with these places alone.
  8. popularfurball

    popularfurball Learning all the time

    Turning for hone doesn't naturally mean bolting. Very very few horses truly bolt - some get strong and opinionated but not actually bolting.

    It is very common to turn towards home (heck we do on the spot circles the whole way round a solo hack!!) as they get security and safety from other horses. The goal is to have him take that security from you in future - takes time and patience though unfortunately no quick fixes!! Agree the more you hack alone and walk in hand alone and spend time together the more confident you will be - I know what madam is going to turn for home now generally or get strong and I can act in anticipation to prevent it happening. The more confident you are the more he can "feed" from you :)
  9. Pencilbeckett

    Pencilbeckett New Member

    Second the dash for home, Ozzy would definately leg it. I try to sing to him, horsey horsey usually I used to sing it to my twins lol!!!, I know when I say Cannock Chase it sounds like a massive place but we do go on the same part most of the time so Ozzy knows exactly when we are on the way back and he rushes and makes me more nervous. Biggest problem is home is downhill so a run for home would mean injury eek

    Will try a bit of schooling maybe and got a foot soldier next week too :smile:
  10. Vicki100

    Vicki100 Active Member

    Sorry got nothing really usefull to say but isnt cannock chase just the best for horse riding? I LOVE it :inlove:
  11. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

    I think that it is really brave of you to attempt solo hacking and now that you have got the first time over and done with, it can only get easier. As someone else said, repeition is the key. Try to do it as much as you can and your horse will soon get used to being out alone. I think that if your horse was going to bolt towards home, he would have done it the first time you took him out. Both of you can only go upwards from here.
  12. Pencilbeckett

    Pencilbeckett New Member

    Thanks guys

    Am going to try to go as much as possible next week. Got hubby off with me so have asked him to come too we are going to go further over the chase. Glad to hear someone else has the turning for home issue but no running off :)
  13. juliecwuk

    juliecwuk Well-Known Member

    Agree that getting out solo as often as pos really does help.

    A year ago I wouldn't ever go out solo...well not riding anyway....I would go for inhand walks but that's it.

    Now I go out for up to 3 hours on my own without any nerves or issues.

    I hadn't been out solo for about 5 weeks and on thurs i wanted to hack and just went. No nerves at all.

    Honestly though it took ages to build my confidence, but when I got confident then so did moet and there was less spooking!

    I want to trailer moet to Cannock chase - but I worry I'll end up on a path that I'm not allowed on - do horse riders only stick to the actual bridlepaths or do they go on any of the tracks - it's so vast and confusing!
  14. Joyscarer

    Joyscarer New Member

    I went through a cycle with Joy. When I got her she didn't really hack. When I started hacking alone I'd let her stop and look and inch forwards then we go past a few times in each direction and then continue on with the hack. Now I don't really care what it is. Her job is a happy hacker and I expect her to walk on without having to stop. I get her past(all be it sideways) and we do the going past several times thing until shes bored and I might then stop her to look although by this point she's lost interest! She needs to appreciate that if I think it's safe it is safe and she does as she's told.

    As I said though I used to do it differently and we now trust each other.

    In the early days I used repetition it was keen to get out of that ASAP and get her doing new things. She started to appreciate I wasn't going to get us killed and she looked to me as leader more and more.
  15. Pencilbeckett

    Pencilbeckett New Member

    The bridle paths on the chase are signposted but we go on any tracks and just wander through the woods. I could not possibly get lost on our part that we hack on regularly as i know all the paths.

    Marquis drive is a fab starting point, got a lovely cafe with a tethering post. There is also another cafe called springslade lodge, it has a paddock to hire think its a fiver for 2 hours, it is right by cannock chase trekking centre so all the paths they use are nearby.

  16. Trewsers

    Trewsers Well-Known Member

    I think (this is just me mind) that solo hacking is partly about "tricking" yourself into it being no big deal. Storm has separation anxiety aplenty with Joe, and I have always struggled with solo hacking on that basis. They are practically joined at the hip!lol. One day however, when my confidence was at its peak, I dared to have a quick nip up the track from their field (Joe was tucking into a net and didn't know she'd gone). We were doing just fine until suddenly I started thinking. Big problem. The moment I started with all that "omg, I am hacking alone" crap the nerves kicked in, and she sensed something and headed back for home.........
    So, note to self: next time, make sure I don't make a big deal of it. And little and often (which has already been suggested - repetition being key here).
  17. Joyscarer

    Joyscarer New Member

    I agree with trewsers. It's the point I was making badly. I think our horses have to be able to look to us as leaders. Whilst at the start of our relationship I'd avoid issues I now take the opposite view. I know her well and she knows me. The chances you get to get a horse through a hazardous situation the more they realise they can trust you.
  18. Pencilbeckett

    Pencilbeckett New Member

    Have invested in some rescue remedy which I will share with Ozzy, it's so difficult to hide the nerves but will be trying my best.

    Am going to try alone again tomorrow will keep you posted :happy:
  19. Trewsers

    Trewsers Well-Known Member

    I once tried the REscue Remedy on Storm - I didn't take any, but I did think it helped her. Or maybe it was just the placebo effect, perhaps I just convinced myself she'd be calmer, and thus made myself calmer?! Anyway good luck!
  20. redfoxylady

    redfoxylady New Member

    Well done you, I hack alone most of the time and my boy is still different when alone, He does jump at things and is slower leaving the yard! I think there are some advantages though, it is a good time to pop in a bit of schooling, like leg yielding on quiet country lanes and half halts to get them working those hindquarters, especially when he is heading home as he is more forward going! he does a lovely collected trot heading home, he used to run along which is not very comfortable so popped in the half halts.
    Something else which I found really helpful was using your voice, "steady" when he is rushing and "whoa" when he gets strong in canter, I introduced them to him whilst schooling and he responds really quick to it.
    I feel sometimes that if the horse is a bit nervy he switches off and by talking to him it reminds him that someone is with him! as someone else mentioned, singing is good if your nervous and you cant hold your breath and tense up! there is nothing better when you are standing on top of a hill, horse munching on grass and taking in the view alone with your horsie.
    Last edited: May 21, 2011

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