Currently, I’m in the process of buying myself a new horse. It’s an exciting time and I’m looking forward to starting our new adventure together! But I find in the first few weeks of getting a new horse, you spend the majority of your time just getting to know each other. The best way to do this I find is just spending time with them, you soon get to know their ‘quirks’. A great way to get to know them from the saddle is hacking out!
We all know hacking out has its exercise benefits, as hard ground strengthens the tendons and ligaments and improves circulation & any filling in legs. It’s a good way to shift that extra bit of weight a horse may have gained over the winter months (& possibly the rider as well!)! But there are many other benefits behind hacking out with our four-legged friends! I love hacking! It helps improve my mental wellbeing, it blows away the cobwebs so to say! It’s also a great way to build a bond with your horse, which is the start of any good relationship.
When out hacking you come across a million and one different things for your horse to look at. This can be pretty daunting for both you & your horse, as you’re never quite sure how they’ll react. However, overcoming these many different situations calmly & sensibly will massively improve your confidence. Experiencing these new situations and routes will help you gain trust in your horse and vice versa!
However, I know from previous experience that there are times where a horse will spook at either something unexpected or out of your control. These types of situations could shake any rider’s confidence. So always go out feeling as safe as possible:
Hacking out improves the bond with your horse, as time spent together is time spent bonding! You will learn from one another and form a friendship. You’ll often find on horse yards that many people are always looking for someone to hack out with. New hacking buddy! It’s a great way to create new friendships and get to know riders at your yard! This will mean more social time for you and your horse! This may even help improve both parties’ confidence! I have made lots of new friends through hacking and thoroughly recommend it!
Currently, there are lots of ways to battle poor mental health. I’ve found that time spent in the saddle, just enjoying a gentle hack & the scenery surrounding me, has helped me an incredible amount! It allows you to concentrate on things other than life and all its problems. I find you can think freely and escape from the busy world around you! It allows me to relax and generally be happier about life through the simple act of horse riding.
Hacking is also great for when you need a bit of inspiration. As I explore new surroundings, I find recreating wonder and imagination!
Like I said before I’m currently in the very exciting process of getting a new horse, which means lots of opportunities to get out and hack! This also means I can get to know my new horse and form a bond and friendship. I can get out and find new hacking friends from my yard! I will be using hacking as a means of exercise and bonding which will hopefully allow us to trust one another! And I recommend that if you get a new horse, then you should try hacking as a way of getting to know your horse!
Hacking has many different benefits and improves both you and your horse in many ways. So why not get out there and explore?! With Huufe’s new app, you can record your new adventures and let the ones at home know that you’re safe!
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!