hacking alone- advice needed

claireh

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Sep 9, 2000
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Hi everyone!

I'm back after a long absence and can't believe how much the site has changed! Appologies for anything I get wrong- I was going to log out and give up 'cause it now looks so complicated, but then remembered the good advice i've been given in the past..!

So, heres my question..

I have a 4yo cob who is going out nicely in company but the people at my yard don't often ride out when I can, so I want to start to hack out alone.

I am not overly confident about trying this, and admit I have been putting it off!

I've hacked him out with a friend walking a couple of times, and he was fairly settled as long as she was in front, and I've led him out in hand loads and he is always good.

Does any one have any advice or suggestions to help make the transition from what we have been doing to hacking out alone as easy and stress free as possible for both me and my favourite boy?

All replies greatfully recieved!
 

floppy

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how about going out for a short hack aloen with him for 15mins or so and everytime gradually building up the length you ride for?
i only ever use to hack out with company until 2 years ago and i was somewhat worried to go out alone but i coudltn guarantee that i was going to be able to go out with someone everytime...at that time iw as riding a 5yr old horse who was very brave. At first i only ever use to walk out and go on exactly the same route everytime and as i gained my confidence and the hrose didnt get worried about things i speeded up the hack! Whenevr now i ride a new horse out i always go the same route for the first month or 3 until i feel cofnident about the actions of the hrose and how much control i really do have over him/her and then i use all the other trails.at the moment i ride out twice a week with company and the rest of the time i go out alone and i enjoy the moments alone because then i can really concentrate on improving the horses gaits and commands and controlability etc.
 

Emarmite

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Hacking alone

Hi,

Unfortunately I cannot help you with your problem, but I will maybe facing the same dilemma.

I have just taken on a part share in a horse, on a months trial.
I have the same problem that there will not always be people to hack out with on the yard.

I have been out once on her with another horse and she was good, we had a couple of moments when the other horse did not like something. Other than that she was fine, but it will take me a while to build up my confidence.

She is only 5, but very well behaved. I cannot ride her this week as she has hurt her knee, and is going to a show next weekend, she is only shown in hand at the moment.

So good luck and I will be watching the site for replies to your question, and wish you luck with the horse.

Kind regards,

Beverley
 

Showjumper

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As Floppy said, start off slow and on a bridlepath you are familiar with. Don't try and be too adventurous until you and the horse have total trust in each other and aren't depending on other horses and riders to babysit you ;). Hacking alone is really good fun and I have no doubt you'll totally love it. You could devise a hacking plan, e.g. Monday - walk and trot through turnout field for 15 mins. Tuesday - walk and trot along the border of the turnout field for 15 mins. Wednesday - trot away from the stables for 5 mins then turn around and walk back. Thursday - walk along a pre-planned route around the stables for 15 mins. Friday - walk and trot the same route for 15 mins. Saturday - walk and trot the same route, incorporating canter if poss, for 20 mins. Sunday - day of rest. And then just build up from there, gradually incorporating more fast work and jumping into your hacking, and lengthening the amount of time you spend out. Also explore different paths so as not to bore your horse and encourage him to anticipate moves.

Remember always to walk heading back to the stables to decrease the chance of nappiness.

Good Luck and Happy Landings. I hope I helped! :D
 

Outrider

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If there is another horse you could use as a pony horse, try riding that horse first and leading yours out on the hack for say, the first week. Then switch roles and ride your horse while ponying the other for week two. Then on week three, try riding with just your horse alone. If a pony horse is not available, I would ride out in short distances and gradually build up the distance. Happy Trails!
 

Moonlightrider

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Trail riding alone

I don't hack alone... I'm not allowed to. Plus, the horses don't go out THAT much and get a bit wild. I do ride in the pastures and stuff, and on the pathways back to the pastures. DC's gotten better about going out - he doesn't run off (without me) nearly as much.

However, I agree with what everyone's said. It's obvious, but don't go out in the evening, even if it's pretty light out - I went out at four, for a two-hour ride, then went back alone while the others kept going (I went at a VERY slow walk - I'd already fallen off once), and DC shyed at EVERYTHING. It was still pretty light out, but the woods are spooky.

Build up, use a well-known trail, tell people when you're going an when you'll get back... the usual.
 

Dizzy

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Hi Claire, you say you've lead him out with no problems, why not lead him out tacked up and ride him back, or lead him so far and then get on and see how he goes.

One thing I do is sing or talk, try to stay ultra relaxed and keep them going forward from my leg to the rein, not asking for an outline necassarily but just keeping them concentrating me. I've learnt through experience being a little too laid back allows them time to direct their attention onto the scary beasties that lurk behind bushes.

Another thing I use is a kneck strap just in case things don't go to plan, it helps to stop giving them a jolt in the mouth and can help to keep me in balance, but saying that I've been reading Heathers suggestions and she uses a strap that can be looped through the saddle D rings at the front and sounds much better than a kneck strap as you won't have to alter your hand position as much. And I also ride with a schooling whip, either to back up my leg or if the horse is spooking say to the left, I'd hold the whip out to that side by twisting my wrist so he can see it and it can sometimes stop them from shying out to that side.

And could I add, always tell someone where you're going - exact route, and how long you intend to be.

Good luck, I know it can be nerve wracking on your first few solo hacks, take your time, follow your instincts and try to relax. I also forgot to mention though I know you already know lots and lots of praise and reassurance.

Lesley
 

Silvia

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Silver 1

I always hack out alone, because most people at like to gallop everywhere they are going and I am one to take things slow...
I don't think hacking out alone is very dangerous if you have a calm reliable horse. I always tell someone where I'm going and when I plan on being back - so they know where to look if I don't return. And I always take my mobile phone.
 

floppy

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hackign aloen can be dangerous which is why you shouldnt really do it alone if you dont have a reliable horse!
but then it takes alot of hackign in copnay and alone to braven up your horse and make it a good hack!
where i hack is around farming land so should anythign happen someone would find me easily! i ALWAYS take my mobile phone with me and have it attached to me not the hrose incase i fall off and the horse buggers off with my phone!
But there are many situations that means one has to hack out alone! you get use to it..at first it can be somewhat nerve racking.
At the yard where 'my' horse is her ei s board where you can write down wher eyou are going and when you left and roughly what time you think you will be back...because you can always guarantee there will be someone at the yard to tell wher eyou are going...and you cant guarantee that if you do tell someone that that person will still be there when you get back!
 

claireh

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Thankyou all!

Many thanks to all of you for all your ideas and advice! Some responses that may incite new ideas...!

Danny- He hates lungeing and when I tried long reigning with the help of an experienced long-reigner he went mad! Good idea that I have already tried with no success I'm afraid! Thanks anyway!

Floppy- great idea to use same route for a while, will try that. Also agree with attatching Mobile to self, not horse- amazing how many people don't think about that!

Beverly- Good luck! Let us know how you get on!

Showjumper- I tried riding in a turnout field but unfortunatley the only one avlaiable was next to where all his friends are turned out and he didn't want to go up the field away from them- having said that he did do what I asked after a fashion as long as he wasn't too far away from the others- when I asked him to go outside his 'comfort zone' he politley declined by standing stock still and refusing to go in any direction other than back towards them! He does listen to me more when he is right away from the others!:)

Outrider- Nothing avlaiable for ponying, so will try short distances!

Moonlightrider- Your'e so right about hacking out too late- but with a name like yours I had visions of you having moonlit beach rides on a stunning grey...!

Sliver 1- Thanks for that- you've built my confidence no end!;)

Sylvia- Ah, the voice of reason- I will always tell someone where I'm going and take a mobile- and I don't much like speed either which is another reason I want to go alone so I can decide the pace!

Dizzy- Brilliant idea to tack up, lead out and ride back! Why didn't I think of that?! Also like the idea of a neck strap- though I admit to being of the 'if it doesn't feel right, get the hell off as soon as possible' school!

Once again thank you all for your replies. ( with the possible exception of Silver 1, though I take your point!)

I am going to see my boy this afternoon and will assess his mood and mine, but may try a very short solo hack today!
You've all inspired me!
 

floppy

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its good training also to dismount your horse and wlak with it for a while and then remount because then you horse will learn to be patient for you to mount....i know a few horses that once you mount them you can't dismount until you get back to the yard because they just wont stand still for 5 secs...
its also good so should you dismount if you dont like a situation then your horse wont think something is immmediately wrong and will think that you just want to walk for a while :)
once you are confident out with your horse and start introducing canter DONT do it on the same place everytime...try adn vary it as much as possible if possible because otherwise you will find your horse deciding to go into canter by his wee li'self without you asking!
 

claireh

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We did it!

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to let you all know that after receiving your helpful and encouraging replies to my question I finally go the courage up to take Pageant out for his first ever solo hack today!:)

I led him from that turnout field to the barn (about 10 minutes through very quiet lanes), tacked him up at the barn and rode him back to the field.

He was as good as gold, although I could feel he was a little bit nervous and jumpy- but then- so was I!

About 200yards from the field my worst nightmare came true and a coach came up behind us:eek: - no chance of it getting past so it just had to wait- Pageant was a bit 'snorty' but did exactly what I told him and eventually we pulled into a gateway and the coach passed us without incicent!:D

He even carried on past his own field gate when I asked him to, which I didn't think he would, and we stopped in the pull-in where my car was parked so I could un-tack and give him loads of fuss (whilst crying with joy and releif!) before taking him back to the field!

Thankyou all once again for your advice and encouragement- it would have taken me much longer to get round to doing it with out you lot!

Going to do it all again tomorrow, but following a slightly different & longer route back:cool:
 

Dizzy

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Well done! He sounds a lovely horse, many experienced horses find buses quite daunting! and then to ride past his own gate way - congratulations.

Lesley
 

moli

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Glad to hear it all went well. I am about to try out the suggestions as I would also like to be able to hack out on my own. I have only had my horse for four months and due to F&M have only started going out hacking and have always been in company.

This was fine until last night when I took my mare out with my friends gelding and he has been acting really strange recently. He will not leave my mare only for 5 minutes. I think she is in season but he is totally out of character. Anyway, from the minute we left the field they were trying to race each other and I had to eventually get off her as she was galloping out of control on a bridal path and I was not comfortable with it. I then couldn't get back on her as she would not stand for 5 seconds.

So today I am totally cheesed off and more determined to get her out on her own.
Just wanted to get that off my chest.
Thanks
moli
 

floppy

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i ride a mare that when she hacks out with her best bud (a gelding) they race eac other, but only when you ask for canter so you have to make sure you are ina really safe palce and going up hill because the power my so called fat horse can produce when ridin gout with this gelding is incredible.
doe syour mare react liek this with other horses?
my mare is a complete and utter show off when in season but only when there is a stallion in the neighbourhood. and the gelding turns his nose up in the air and does that funny thing with his lips when she is in season!the best thing to do would be to cary taking her out..alone and in company and work on getting her to stop to the lightest aid in walk adn trot and then in canter..using your voice too then when riding with company you shoudl try the same..it'll take a while longer to get her to be obient in compnay than without company..just perservere and you'll get there :)
 
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