Advice please re road hacking??


New Member
Oct 10, 2003
Bramble used to be a superstar to hack and would solidly walk on nomatter what scaries we went past. However, I have found that she is now being really nervous to hack, terrified of bikes and people walking past and wont happily stand when out.

I can still drive her and she is 100% but did take some time off hacking her while I had a sharer for her, who used to undertake all her hacking work while I worked her in the school. Since my sharer left I have been back to hacking with her and am really concerned by the change in her.

If I get off and walk she calms down and in a blinkered driving bridle she is fine but in a normal one she is honestly very frightened and tenses up and has even attempted napping for home, which has NEVER before been an issue.

How can I build her confidence back up again as I am not sure what has caused her to be frightened???

Where we hack there is no way of avoiding the busy road for about 1mile so I can't go on quieter lanes to practice????


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
Jess is like a rock normally but the first couple of times aftera long break this winter she was spooky and threatened a nap too, I just carried on, tried to pick quieter times to go down the busy road and she is now back to ther old self :D


New Member
May 26, 2006
When I got Jackson I spent a lot of time teaching him to go out on his own, along all sorts of roads, with/without traffic (started off doing in-hand walks and built up to riding out). He was A1 - solid, steady, hardly ever spooked.

He had to go on box rest this time last year and when he went back to field, shortly after his whole herd moved and he and another horse didn't move to join them for a week. All our hacking confidence evaporated - he wouldn't leave the others and when he did, he was constantly uptight, anxious, spooked at everything.

A year later, and lots of persistence, he is starting to be confident again - but is still a bit more upset about things than he first was (we're just getting over the barking dogs thing...). TBH he wasn't safe to ride out alone for about 8 months - he was OK with other horses but not great (and we don't have other riders on the yard, so it was only the very occasional hack with Lucyad).

Can't offer more advice - I know you're a much more confident rider than me so that would definitely help - but gentle persistence and not getting into big battles (a mistake I made at the start) did work in the end. I got down and led if he got really upset. He now wants to go out, even if he's still a bit anxious.

ETA we have no way of avoiding busy roads either, so it was either get used to the busy road or don't go out (which is why I didn't go out much for a long time...).
Last edited:


New Member
Feb 6, 2009
south Wales, UK
suki has just come back from being loan for the year and she was brilliant in the heaviest traffic, lorries, trailers, busses, no problem, dogs didnt phase her, but when she came back, she was napping al the time, spooking at silly things, she has been back seven weeks now and iv started riding her out for the last two weeks, every day and she is already chilling out again. i would defiantly walk her out in hand first for her to get to know all the spooky spots. this will help you to as you will know when there coming and to ride her through it or encourage her on. you could also long rein her, so she gets use to going out in front and not relying on you to make the desicions, this should help with her confidence. do you know how competent this sharer was, sounds like she might have done the damage, probably intentionaly or not, so you will prob have to start again with her trust and confidence in you as a leader once leaving the security of her yard and friends. hope this may help :)


Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
I'd try a few in hand walks for a while. I know Storm used to be good in traffic but since moving to a really quiet area she is terribly jumpy if a quad bike comes by or the postie van! (I think its too quiet for her!). I've been walking her in hand - makes us both feel better and just doing really short hacks. I think I may be making her more nervy tho, I tensed up last time the farmer came past on his bike. (You're probably not tensing up - if you're used to hacking tho - that is probably just us nervous nellies that do that!)


New Member
May 20, 2006
I think this is a common thing with driving horses,as my lad is very 'looky' when ridden,but didn't seem to be when driven.

Mine is still fab with traffic when ridden,and I think that's a positive from his driving day's as he just doesn't pay any attention to it,goes into 'blinker mode' when hears traffic,as in looks straight ahead,doesn't even seem to notice it's there,but all other things are very exciting to look at:rolleyes:

He doesn't ever do anything to be fair,and is very easy to push on if he does stop,but I am convinced it's to do with the whole being used to being blinkered for driving,and is like a whole new world to him with them off and hacking lol

Anyway sorry for waffle just thought hearing about another 'similar' might help,am sure it' is all tied up with the driving/riding difference,and maybe the blinkers.Perhaps try riding her in the blinkers for a while until she get's her confidence up with the hacking out,then slowly go out for short 'safe' hacks without them??
Interesting. Ben was solely driven for the first 13 years of his career - and was known as being absolutely bombproof. I started riding him this winter and he is quite spooky - in company or alone. Traffic is not an issue - and he doesn't even spook at every plastic bag, puddle, drain .... He may have a major spook at one puddle on a bridleway - will attempt to spin round and often won't pass unless I get off - but then will ignore other puddles :rolleyes: Took him out driving yesterday (for the first time since January), and he was no problem - so he obviously feels more confident in the familiar blinkers/shafts. I am planning to do some Trec competitions this year, and also some more pleasure rides, so I need to continue with the ridden work. Hoping that he will become less spooky with time and patience. I try to let him stand and look at something scary, and then attempt to go past - but if he is really upset or there is traffic about, then I get off and lead him past. He is only 11.2hh, so it is easy to jump off and on :) Someone suggested riding him with blinkers on - I know that people do that when horses are first broken to harness to get them used to blinkers?

Ali xx


Active Member
Jan 14, 2008
ditto devonlass, if she like blinders and doesnt look as much put them on her ridden bridle.

or french blinders? (fleece on cheekpieces)


Gimpy Gimp Gimp
Jan 19, 2005
I would have a word with whoever was riding her, sounds like she may of made some errors ( lack of confidence?) when hacking her out for her to change so much?

I would long rein her out ( blinkerless) to regain her confidence
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