Schooling on a hack

  • Expert advice from HORSE magazine on how riders can use their time out hacking to school their horse

    Horses love variety and introducing new challenges while out on a hack can bebeneficial and fun, according to eventer and dressage rider Lucinda Fredericks.

    “If you put your mind to it, you can do whatever you want to do out on a hack,” says Lucinda. “You don’t need fantastic riding or lots of space to achieve your aims, as long as you can find some grass or soft ground to work on, such as a bridlepath, safe track or the edge of a field.

    Warm your horse up by doing 10 minutes of walking. Make sure it is a forward, marching pace.”

    Lengthened strides

    Once your horse has warmed up you are ready to ask some more demanding work, such as some lengthened strides.

    “One of the best ways to teach extended trot is up a hill,” suggests Lucinda.”When you ask for extended trot on a flat surface, often horses try to rush. If they are going uphill it is more difficult for them to rush – they either have to break into canter or start lengthening their stride.

    “The other advantage of teaching extended trot on a hack is that horses don’t anticipate when you’re going to start and finish the movement. In a dressage test, you normally extend across the diagonal, which makes it easy for the hore to anticipate the beginning and end of the movement.

    Fittening work

    “Working hand on your horse’s fitness will ensure you have the edge at a competition,” says Lucinda. “You will always have the edge if your horse is 100% fit. Ifyou have good hills around you, make the most of them.

    “Our horses are extremely fit because we do lots of hill work. So long as the ground isn’t too hard, I would advise walking, trotting and cantering up hills when you’re out in the countryside.”

    Hacking tips

    • If you own the type of horse who gets bored easily in the school, freshen him up the day before a competition by taking him on a hack
    • To practise straightness out on a hack, ask a friend to ride out with you and get them to watch and see if your horse is straight from behind
    • Don’t be sloppy and always make sure your horse works correctly when hacking out

    • Don’t be scared to be bold orexperiment when out hacking

    For more advice on schooling your horse while out hacking, see the August issue of HORSE magazine, ON SALE NOW.

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