Spooky but Safe Hacking

hacking out, umph

With how warm it has been recently I have been doing a lot more hacking with Scottie than I do usually. The school is just far too hot and it almost instantly saps all my motivation to actually work him properly. So instead we have been near weekly hacks out by ourselves on our new favourite route.

Scottie doesn’t really like hacking by himself, he finds it all quite scary and stressful. The first half of the hack he can be extremely tense and can take a dislike to really mundane things such as wheelie bins and painted road markings. However, I have never had a big issue getting him past something and I have never felt unsafe on him out hacking.

Saturday morning I went out hacking alone after Scottie had been off work for 2 weeks. As you may have heard from previous hacking posts, I have incredible timing for my hacks and Saturday was no different. Within the first 5 minutes of our ride we had to pass people cleaning wheelie bins with jet washers! Needless to say this was terrifying and Scottie did have a stop on the corner and looked at all the drama shocked I was asking him to walk through it all. But he didn’t take much convincing and once we were off the road and onto the bridle path he instantly relaxed, having a bit of a stretch.

Our new favourite hacking route has minimal road work and consists of a big square around some fields with a nice hill for a canter. Now I try not to canter in the same place every time as I know that Scottie anticipates canter and can become a tad silly. But since he had had so much time off, I thought it would be good for him to blow off a bit of steam. As we approached the stretch where we usually have a bit of a canter, Scottie was ready for it. We had a bit of a jig jog towards it, but Scottie was polite and waited for me.

Once I was ready I let him trot on and sat and asked for canter. After a rather explosive transition to canter which was more of a leap into canter, we had a lovely controlled canter up the hill with Scottie coming to a natural stop when we reached the top of the hill. The rest of the ride was much more relaxed, with Scottie on a bit of a mission to get back home, but he was fairly chilled out and didn’t really look at his usual spooky objects.

It was my hack on Saturday which really made me appreciate just how good Scottie is out hacking. Most of the horses on our yard can be a handful out hacking, both alone and in company. Now while Scottie isn’t a donkey out hacking, he is spooky and he can get excited and want a good canter, I have never felt unsafe on him. I have no worries about not being able to stop him if we have a gallop and I don’t worry about him spooking and taking off with me. So while I may not always find hacking him alone enjoyable, I know that I am very lucky to have a horse I can hack alone or in company and feel confident he will keep us both safe.

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