Advice on First Time Hacking Out

Tiger Lily

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Jan 30, 2017
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Hi guys,
Continuing work with my lesson horse; we worked on circling at the trot this week. After my lesson, my instructor let me ride my horse around the property by myself, and it went extremely well. We walked up and down the aisles to visit some horses, then looped around the property. However, we have a large field for hacking out that I've never used. I'd like to start using it, now that spring is back in New England. Any advice for starting hacking out? (I've trail ridden before, but only in groups). Thanks!
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Apr 30, 2010
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Well, that's what I do on my pony mostly. I usually have a route in mind (we have masses of hacking near us) but I'm always ready to shorten or change the route if he is anxious or being a monkey.

For years I got keyed up when going out hacking, even though I love it. These days I try not to because I ride better when I am relaxed and enjoying myself. It sounds as if you get on well with your lesson horse, so try wandering around your field after your lesson in a relaxed way, and once you feel confident you can try going up through the gears!
 

Tiger Lily

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Jan 30, 2017
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Well, that's what I do on my pony mostly. I usually have a route in mind (we have masses of hacking near us) but I'm always ready to shorten or change the route if he is anxious or being a monkey.

For years I got keyed up when going out hacking, even though I love it. These days I try not to because I ride better when I am relaxed and enjoying myself. It sounds as if you get on well with your lesson horse, so try wandering around your field after your lesson in a relaxed way, and once you feel confident you can try going up through the gears!

Yeah. I love riding outside, but I'll definitely have to see how rocky the field is before I decide to start running around like a cowboy.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Its important you tell someone where you are going and how long you will be and don't deviate from that, especially in the early days while you are getting to know how your horse is out on the trails :) It's always a good plan to carry a cell phone while you are out too, just in case :) other than that just enjoy it :D if going for shorter rides I don't carry anything else with me, its only when I get to 3 hours plus that I might take a hoof pick, water etc.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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It isnt clear to me (sorry if I missed your posts) whether this is your family's own land and your horse or whether both belong to a RS.
I have hacked a lot including hacking solo on a share horse. What you need to remember is there are two creatures involved. The first is the horse. Does the horse know this field? Does the horse pay attention to you in the school? If the answer to both is Yes, then you should be fine to ride round the field.
But riding a horse out hacking is like taking a toddler for a walk - you are in charge.
Yet you need to pay attention to input from the horse. For instance, supposing the horse does know this field but is used to cantering across it - Horses learn their jobs and if the horse has been asked to canter in a particular place, it may be hard to stop him doing the same when you are riding him. In the UK riding schools the rule is that one must be safe in canter before hacking out and this is because you need to be able to stay on a horse if it runs away with you. I hacked before I could canter properly but that was because my teacher had seen that when a horse did unsolicited canter in the school, or spooked, I didnt fall off but took control.
I am totally in favour of hacking and learning to ride out hacking. I did it myself and still regard horses as a means of transport and a way of enjoying the landscape. But you have to understand that depending on the time of year and the weather and what the horse has been fed, its reactions can vary and this is especially true in wide open spaces. So if you are riding out, make sure you stay safe. I have a good hat and I wear a body protector too. And I still have to deal sometimes with unsolicited canter from an over excited horse - I have seen her do the same when ridden by an expert rider, a professional, so dont think it has anything to do with being a beginner.
Teachers and professional trainers fall off out hacking because hacking is at times and on some horses more complicated than riding in an arena. The first step is doing what your teacher suggested - riding the horse along paths close to the arena. And trail riding like you have. That is what I did too. But it is like anything one does with horses. Take it slowly, and follow the advice of your teacher.
 

Tiger Lily

Member
Jan 30, 2017
35
8
8
It isnt clear to me (sorry if I missed your posts) whether this is your family's own land and your horse or whether both belong to a RS.
I have hacked a lot including hacking solo on a share horse. What you need to remember is there are two creatures involved. The first is the horse. Does the horse know this field? Does the horse pay attention to you in the school? If the answer to both is Yes, then you should be fine to ride round the field.
But riding a horse out hacking is like taking a toddler for a walk - you are in charge.
Yet you need to pay attention to input from the horse. For instance, supposing the horse does know this field but is used to cantering across it - Horses learn their jobs and if the horse has been asked to canter in a particular place, it may be hard to stop him doing the same when you are riding him. In the UK riding schools the rule is that one must be safe in canter before hacking out and this is because you need to be able to stay on a horse if it runs away with you. I hacked before I could canter properly but that was because my teacher had seen that when a horse did unsolicited canter in the school, or spooked, I didnt fall off but took control.
I am totally in favour of hacking and learning to ride out hacking. I did it myself and still regard horses as a means of transport and a way of enjoying the landscape. But you have to understand that depending on the time of year and the weather and what the horse has been fed, its reactions can vary and this is especially true in wide open spaces. So if you are riding out, make sure you stay safe. I have a good hat and I wear a body protector too. And I still have to deal sometimes with unsolicited canter from an over excited horse - I have seen her do the same when ridden by an expert rider, a professional, so dont think it has anything to do with being a beginner.
Teachers and professional trainers fall off out hacking because hacking is at times and on some horses more complicated than riding in an arena. The first step is doing what your teacher suggested - riding the horse along paths close to the arena. And trail riding like you have. That is what I did too. But it is like anything one does with horses. Take it slowly, and follow the advice of your teacher.

I ride at a riding school and this is barn land and horses. He's a pretty good boy, and if anything would rather stand still than walk.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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I just repeat Tiger Lily to do as your teacher advises. You asked on a public forum about taking a horse into an open field. No one here knws the horse and we dont know the field. Horses areby nature likely to maximise their food input and minimise the energy output. But they are also prey animals, constantly on the outlook for danger from a preditor. In a wide open space some horses may raise their head level to keep an eye on the distant corners of the field. And if they think there is danger they may spook and run. RS horses also tend to canter in places where their work has involved canter. So it is your teacher who will know when you are ready to ride him in the field.
It is really good that you want to do this. It is brilliant to ride horses in the open air and in open spaces but you asked advice and I gave it. It is riskier riding in a field than in a school arena. I learned to ride in old age and on the safest horses, yet everyone falls off at some point while learning to ride. It worries me that you may be in the USA and may not ride in a hard hat. Please do wear a hard helmet for riding.
 

Tiger Lily

Member
Jan 30, 2017
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I just repeat Tiger Lily to do as your teacher advises. You asked on a public forum about taking a horse into an open field. No one here knws the horse and we dont know the field. Horses areby nature likely to maximise their food input and minimise the energy output. But they are also prey animals, constantly on the outlook for danger from a preditor. In a wide open space some horses may raise their head level to keep an eye on the distant corners of the field. And if they think there is danger they may spook and run. RS horses also tend to canter in places where their work has involved canter. So it is your teacher who will know when you are ready to ride him in the field.
It is really good that you want to do this. It is brilliant to ride horses in the open air and in open spaces but you asked advice and I gave it. It is riskier riding in a field than in a school arena. I learned to ride in old age and on the safest horses, yet everyone falls off at some point while learning to ride. It worries me that you may be in the USA and may not ride in a hard hat. Please do wear a hard helmet for riding.

I am in the US but wearing a helmet is state law in my area, so I have to because I'm riding in a public barn. So helmet isn't an issue. And yeah, I wouldn't ride if my RI didn't think i was ready for it. But I was allowed to walk freely around the property so I am hopeful. I walked by the field and it looked like it would be so much fun to ride around in.
 
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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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I am in the US but wearing a helmet is state law in my area, so I have to because I'm riding in a public barn. So helmet isn't an issue.
That is a weight off my mind Tiger Lily. Thanks for explaining. Take care and enjoy your riding.
 
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