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Hacking on the bit or not?

Posted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:08 pm
by cloudybay
I tend to consider hacking as down time for both me and my horse. A chance to relax and an opportunity to enjoy our time out together without any pressure.

However my instructor thinks I should have my horse on the bit when he is being hacked. I have my horse primarily for dressage and we are trying to put muscle on the topline so my instructor says hacking should be working the horse too and not just an amble in the countryside?

Does anyone else do this?

Re: Hacking on the bit or not?

Posted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:19 pm
by hessy
You could do a bit of both - i.e. do a bit of schooling on hacks and do some jumping or games in the arena instead of always schooling in the arena and always bombing along out hacking.

I think there are strong opinions on this. I guess it would be nice to do some schooling on a hack, change of scenery the horse might end up going better/more forwards and if you did a bit of jumping or poles in the arena it would prevent boredom.

Re: Hacking on the bit or not?

Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:20 pm
by mja
I like a mixture of both.

I like hacking once a week to change the scenery and not always schooling. As only have roads to hack on it is not easy to d much schooling but can of course ask for on the bit and leg yields etc.

I will do this but also will let the horse stretch and relax on a loose rein and enjoy the change of work and ambling along in company.

Re: Hacking on the bit or not?

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:37 pm
by Snipper
I try to do a bit of both, usually letting him have quite a while on a loose rein at the beginning and end of a hack, and picking him up for a while in the middle. This way I have made him work for a bit, but he also gets bit of relaxation time too.

Re: Hacking on the bit or not?

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:26 am
by dominochase
Sounds like you have a good balance. I definitely try to do a combination of the two, and also throw in some lateral work. I like to know the horse I'm riding can move sideways out the way of traffic! Also I've found it can be helpful to get your horse to leg yield on straight tracks – because there are no sides of the school, he can't anticipate which way I'm going to ask him to go.

Re: Hacking on the bit or not?

Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:07 pm
by Lucinda
My trainer tells me to ride my horse in an outline - but long and low - when I am hacking, too. My mare is quite buzzy and reluctant to go on the bit, so he thinks that if I ask her to carry her head in the same place every time I ride then she might see it as her way of going quicker. However, I do find that in the school she accepts it better than out hacking, when she want to look around her all the time at what's going on. I find I start fiddling with the rein contact more than I would like to out riding because she is so resistant, so then I give up and let her look where she wants to, so I can relax. Bit lazy I know, but I suppose it comes down to how dedicated you are and how much you want to achieve your goals. I bet the likes of Carl Hester and Richard Davison ride their horses on the bit when they hack out!

Re: Hacking on the bit or not?

Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:22 pm
by HollyGee
I think it depends on the individual horse and rider - I never used to 'school' out on hacks as, for me, they are fun down time, but occasionally, as the mood would take me I would pick up a contact and work in an outline. There's nothing like wondering along on a nice loose rein though, then picking up and galloping off into the sunset!!