Hacking Out – Tips for Safe Ride Outside the Arena

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Hacking out can be a welcome change to horse and its rider who usually work on an arena. It is essential to follow some rules to ensure that you have a pleasant and safe riding experience outside the arena.

Before you decide to go out on a hack, you should make sure that if your horse was to start acting up, you know how to control it and calm it down. Some horses may require a stronger bit when outdoors, especially if they tend to compete with other horses.

It is vital to do a thorough equipment check before leaving the yard and to make sure that at least one person knows the route you will be taking. Wear a reflective vest and bright clothes to ensure that other road users will see you.

Wearing white gloves is a good idea as this will make hand-signalling more visible. Check that you have your mobile phone with you.

When you are riding, you should constantly be aware of possible problems or threats. Horses can overreact in situations which humans would normally not even notice. Keep in mind as well that some other road users might not be as happy about a horse on the road and can act with no consideration to you or your horse’s safety. Be polite and thank people giving way to you.

If the road or path is wet, you should be cautious as it might be slippery. If the weather takes a bad turn while you are riding, it usually is a good idea to turn back.

If problems do occur and your horse starts acting up you should ride in a small circle if possible. This will prevent your horse from galloping off until it has calmed down. If your horse starts rearing, it is usually a good idea to dismount.

When you return to the yard, check your horse’s feet and that all shoes are attached. Horses are more vulnerable to cuts when they are hacking out so examine its body and treat and possible scratches. By following these tips for safe riding outside the arena you can truly enjoy hacking out.

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