Finding a new hacking routes can be exciting and daunting all at the same time! However, it should be about you and your horse enjoying the great outdoors and all it has to offer. Building trust in one another and growing your confidence. If you’re not one for venturing out on your own, much like myself, try finding yourself a hacking buddy! This isn’t always an option, but there are plenty options out there that can help keep you and your horse safe whilst out exploring the world.
Whilst out exploring the great outdoors with your horse you must be clear on signs and rights of way. Try and stick to designated bridleways or shared pathways which allow equestrian use. These routes have been planned out for everyone’s safety. Also make sure you and your horse can both be well seen from a distance, Hi-Viz is a good way to do this.
Also check out horse riding organizations and other resources for tips on finding routes to get riding on. In the UK the British Horse Society have created a map for horse rides in the UK. ‘Explore new countryside with your horse’ is they’re slogan and they’re map produces many rides across the country for you to explore. Their interactive map also allows you to choose from different ride types, and a feature allowing you to see rides ‘near you’. In the US, you can find such websites such as Equitrekking & Trail Meister for route planning. A good website that covers routes on a global scale is Plotaroute.
In this modern world phones and apps have allowed for us to always be connected. To help you plan and find new hacking routes look into hacking apps to help you plan out routes and much more. Huufe is an app that lets you track your rides! This means you can share routes with friends and followers. Or even discover new hacks from others who have shared their rides.
Other apps have also been developed for just purely tracking hacks. Along with Huufe, these other apps allow you to track your hack with details like time and distance. Huufe also allows you to capture photos and videos taken on your ride and then share them on social media! What better than making others jealous of your hacking views on that fantastic sunny day!
A key feature of apps like Huufe are their safety features. Allowing you to start a ride in the knowledge that if something was to happen then an alert will be sent to someone you know. Alerting them to the situation and your location. However, letting someone at the stables know that you’re going out on a ride and how long you’ll be is always a good idea.
Asking others at the stables for recommended rides is another great way to discover new hacking routes. Allowing you to ask questions like ‘if there are any obstacles’ or ‘any dangerous roads’. Asking people local to your hacking routes allows can give you a more detailed insight into the route and whether it’d suit you and your horse.
Firstly, walk the new hacking routes on foot (always a good opportunity for a dog walk!) so you can get a general idea on footing and potential dangers and obstacles. This makes sure that you have some confidence in the route before you bring your horse along.
Secondly, experience. Obviously having some experience is key but ensuring both you and your horses safety is key. If in doubt of your how capable your horse will be with such experiences as roads, bikes, puddles or low laying obstacles try and ride out with another horse that is. It can’t prevent a horse from spooking, but it should help give them more confidence.
Thirdly, always take into consideration of the time of day and weather! Being stuck a route with horrible weather and the sky beginning to darken can be the worst! Check ahead of the ride such things as the sunset times and weather forecasts! Trust me, you won’t regret it!
And lastly, always wear the correct protection! Riding hat, body protectors, proper riding boots, high-vis!! These things are so important when out riding (or riding in general) as it will prevent or decrease risks and severity of injuries.
Katy is currently a student at the Royal Agricultural University, studying BSc Bloodstock and Performance Horse Management. Alongside this she’s an active young farmer’s member and is currently working for a Stud in Wiltshire. Despite not having her own horse currently, she often finds herself around horses, covered in horse hair and mud! She plans to work with horses following her degree, hopefully in the breeding industry, due to her love of foals!