Hacking out

John is a Recommended Associate of the Intelligent Horsemanship Association, and can help you communicate better with your horse
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:23 am

Hacking out

Postby cloudybay » Fri May 21, 2010 2:15 pm

Hi John,

I have a lovely horse who has sadly spent most of his dressage life between the walls of an indoor school. I have bought him for dressage but I want him to be a more rounded horse and go hacking too. I have been taking him out with a friend and he seems to really enjoy his hacks, but he absolutely won't leave the yard on his own. I would like to hack him on my own as there is often nobody else to go out with and I thought I might start with trying to take him out on foot round a route until it was familiar and then have another go at getting on board. What would you suggest?


Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:04 am

Re: Hacking out

Postby Expert_JohnJones » Tue May 25, 2010 4:48 pm

Hi Cloudy,
It is great to hear your horse now has a caring understanding home.
This is a common behavioural issue; you need to build up your horse’s confidence. Firstly keep hacking out with your friend when you can, as this will really help him associate hacking out is fun. There are some trotting exercises you can do with your friend where you take it in turns to trot to the front and leaving an increasing gap between you and trotting to catch up. All these exercises can be found in this book:
Problem Solving by Marty Marten a western Horseman publication. The book goes into more detail about ridden exercises whilst out hacking to encourage bravery.
You are right to think of leading out in hand, pick a route that you both know well and isn’t too long to start off with. Wear a hard hat, use a long lead rope and have a friend walk with you to help you the first times (avoid heavy traffic until you are confident he can cope with it) Before leading out practice your leading work/ground work to work on gaining his attention and trust. Perfect Manners & Perfect Partners by Kelly Marks have groundwork exercises that will help you.
Another great book, which I often recommend, is True Horsemanship Through Feel By Bill Dorrance and Leslie Desmond. This book is full of groundwork exercises to help communication between horse and rider.
Whether you are riding or leading out be aware of your horse’s comfort zone and don’t ask for too much all at once. You could tack your horse up and just ride him around the yard to start with. Don’t get too stuck on forwards turn him in a circle if he is reluctant to go forwards or ask him to back up a step. Always reward his tries and break things down into manageable pieces. As the saying goes take the time it takes and it will take less time. He will know if you are getting frustrated so allow yourself plenty of time to spend with him. Perhaps take him for a walk, not far to start and graze him in hand.
Obviously without seeing him I can only make suggestions (always ensure your tack is well fitting as this can cause ridden issues, along with regular teeth and back checks). Please feel free to post here if you have any more questions or would like more detail about him. I look forward to reading your progress together
Have fun

Return to “John Jones”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests