happy hacking horses


New Member
Jan 18, 2016
I have been riding again since february after a 15 year break from riding. i used to ride when i was younger but i just used to hack on my aunties horse at weekends. Ive just learnt to canter again but it scares the life out of me and im happy just walking and trotting. i have no interest in jumping or showing in way.
My daughter who is 5 has been riding just over a year but has started to lose interest in riding when when it involves a actual lesson in the school, she would rather hack out and groom.

Im hoping to buy horse next year which would ideally be a mother/daughter share.
There is a yard that is literally on my door step which is where my friend keeps her horses and thats where mine would be kept if i did get one. the yard is very basic and has no arena but is in the perfect location.
I have been looking at a few advertising sites for horses and they have a section for light hack horses.
Now this is all me and my daughter would be doing. we both have no interest in showing or competing. we just love to be around horses and im currently spending £40 a week to get our horsey fix at our local school.. we also go and help with my freinds horses but we would like our own.

My question is.... do happy hacks need schooling or are they the type that can be left for x amount of time and you can just get back on?
I know every horse is different but id be looking for a horse around the age of 15 upwards and the type that been there done that.


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
You said it :D every horse is different. A lot of horses advertised as light hacks are because they have a physical reason they can't cope with more work, be it illness or injury, just because they can physically only do light work doesn't mean that is enough mentally for them. Generally speaking, the older, been there, done it, novice ride will remain pretty consistent even when work is in-frequent, but its definitely something you need to ask when enquiring about various horses :)


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
Hello, nice to meet you!

Every horse is different, and every horse is also, to a greater or lesser extent, adaptable. Some people like to school their horses, others don't. Some people school on hacks (it is possible!), others don't.

It sounds to me as though you are looking for a quiet, reliable, experienced older horse who will be an enjoyable occasional ride for you and your daughter. I think you're very sensible to look for an older horse. Potentially you might be able to find one on a rehoming website such as Horses4homes.net. Just be careful of "light hacks" as it sometimes means that the horse has some physical difficulty that means it can't do harder work, and that could spell trouble in the future. Always ask about the horse's physical condition.

You could start by making a list of your criteria - here are some questions to give you the idea:
  • mare, gelding or don't care? You should check with the yard you intend to use, because they may have separate herds
  • what height? My pony is 14.2, I am 11 stone and he fits me to a T - I don't need or want anything bigger - but you may prefer a bit more height
  • what must it be able to do? Hack out alone & in company - love being groomed and cuddled - anything else? Will your daughter want to pop over a log when you are out? Are you going to try hunting?
  • how much do you want to spend?
Enjoy the hunt. We love to hear about them and we love pictures!


New Member
Jan 18, 2016
Thank you for the replys.
Yes i did worry about the light hack horses having future problems.
I also dont want something that will wasted with us because we dont want to do anything other than hack,
I think when i do start the search for the right horse its going to be a long one. i will be taking my riding instructor with to view any horse when the time comes so she will be a big help.
My friend who has the horses on the yard has had one of her horses for 20 years and hes now 27 but not sound to ride and her other one is the 16 and he can be left weeks without being ridden. shes had them both a long time though and like you say they have adapted to this.


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
My pony (that's him in my avatar) is a Connemara, quite forward and sparky to ride and a poppet to look after. He is always the same to ride whether I ride him every day or once a month, and I like that consistency.

One thing I wouldn't worry about is "wasting" a horse. They like standing around in a field with their mates. They may like work as well, but I think very very few horses say to each other "I'm wasted in this field, you know"!

ETA taking your RI with you to view horses is a great idea.


May 7, 2002
right here, right now
One thing I wouldn't worry about is "wasting" a horse. They like standing around in a field with their mates. They may like work as well, but I think very very few horses say to each other "I'm wasted in this field, you know"!.


The school where I ride bought a schoolmaster not so long ago. He's a been there done it type who thrives on being worked even though he's in his late teens. If he has two or three days off he gets difficult. Not a horse for you but great in a riding school for more advanced riders.

They also have a mare of around the same age who can come out hacking or work in the school and is as safe as houses however much work she does. She's as happy left to her own devices as she is ridden.

Horses are individuals and have their own preferences!


Well-Known Member
Dec 3, 2014
Rhode Island,New england
Hello and welcome.

Sonny my gelding comes to the plate the same every day.


Both are not that different if they were not ridden in a while -- NEITHER are spooky etc.
But for me thats not the problem.

But Like with the ride yesterday Andi was a Star going over a very long narrow bridge -for Sonny it was no big deal for her IT WAS BIG
Just when I thought wow shes going to shine for this WHOLE RIDE.

Some horses rode past us in the big field and for her the bigger the boys the better!!
She wanted to go with THEM and got quite bratty and thru a few rather big hissy fits.

I personally think I am more confident with a gelding.

Not all mares are like that either.


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
I am a hacker of horse retired from school work. But I school on hacks. Horses remember what they have been taught so after a break a schooled horse only needs reminding. But few horses are trained only to hack and much will depend on the original training. Like Jane I hacked a whizzy Conemara ex show jumper. Now hacking a bigger stronger ex eventer which is very different. And better behaved. Listens more as eventers do dressage.
Every horsecomes with a history and will change or develop in new ownership. You cant regard it as a finished piece of work.
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