Eventer Mary King knows a thing or two about hacking. She shares two pieces of great advice here.Read More
Hacking is more fun when you're confident. Beat the nerves with this adviceRead More
Hill work is a fab way to get your horse fitter and build strength in his muscle. Here, event rider Ibby Macpherson explains how she includes hills as part of her horse’s training.Read More
Benefits for the mind, body and soul – hacking with your horse covers it all. Here, we share a few of the many perks of getting out in the countryside with your horse.Read More
There's nothing quite like getting out into the countryside with your four-legged friend and exploring new routes together.Read More
Event rider Andrew Hoy explains how to supple your horse on a hack with this 30-minute workout.Read More
As the weather cools and the leaves turn, now’s a great time of year to get out and about with your horse.Read More
Think you can't school your horse without an arena? Here's endurance rider Beccy Broughton-Booker to explain how you can educate your horse while out hacking.Read More
Hill work is a fantastic way to develop your horse's fitness, by building his muscles and strength.Read More
How to use interval training with your horse while hacking, explained by endurance rider Beccy Broughton Booker.Read More
Want to try endurance riding with your horse? With advice from Julie Martin, a UKCC Level 3 endurance coach, we've compiled this handy guide so you can know what to expect.Read More
At Your Horse magazine we already know what's brilliant about our #Hack100miles campaign but we just want to be 100% sure that you do too. We also know that you're busy people so in the name of keeping things simple here are five reasons why we think you should sign up to #Hack1000miles today.Read More
Hacking your horse on the road can be daunting as you can never predict what's going to happen.Read More
Fun rides with your horse can be a great way to explore new places and make lasting friendships. Here, BHS coach, Rachel Levy, explains all you need to know about fun rides.Read More
Seeing nature while on your horse is one of the joys of hacking. Follow these tips from freelance nature writer Kate Blincoe and see what you can spot next time you're out.Read More
Hacking not only offers breath-taking views on horseback, it’s also a great way to up your horse’s fitness levels and the best bit is, it doesn't have to be complicated! Here we show you how to make your hacks work hard for you.
Stretch and warm up
First things first, give your horse time to warm up, allowing him to stretch in walk before asking for more strenuous work. Also consider you and your horse’s fitness when you’re hacking making sure you don’t work your horse too hard to avoid any unnecessary injuries. Hacking has some amazing benefits for you and your horse. It offers an alternative to schooling in the arena, and is great for building fitness.
Boost his fitness
Think of your hack as a form of interval training where you can ask for a period of harder work for three or four minutes, then let him rest for a few minutes before asking for a period of harder work again. Great for improving fitness and to make sure you make the most of your hacking time. Regular changes of pace will also help keep your horse’s attention.
Use the land
Make the most of any hills out on your hack; they’re great at helping to build your horse’s strength and power. Having a good trot up a hill or if it’s safe a canter on the verge will add expression and punch to his paces as he has to use himself more.
Remember to work into your hack a cool down period, walking the last mile home on a loose rein is a great way to end your hack as well as allowing your horse time to stretch, relax and cool off. When you’re back at the yard and untacked, treat your horse to a refreshing wash down. This will help cool him down and remove any sweaty areas that may cause him irritation if left. After this your horse can enjoy the rest of his day stretching his legs and eating grass out in his field with his other horsey friends.
We want you to be safe as you get the most from your hacks so follow these three quick tips:
1. Be seen and protected
Remember your high-vis whether it’s sunny or not this is an essential piece of kit. Also, don’t forget to apply plenty of sun cream to avoid burning in the sun, and apply fly repellent to you and your horse to keep nasty flying bugs at bay if you're hacking in summer.
2. Make some final checks
Checking your tack should be part of your regular routine, but it’s always worth giving it a good look over before hacking out. Check all the stitching on your bridle, stirrup leathers and girth straps is in good order and that the leather isn’t cracked.
3. Stay safe
Always tell someone where you’re going and give an approximate time you’ll be back so people know where you are and when you’re due back. Try to stick to this and if you’re running late, let someone else know.
If you lack confidence hacking your horse out on the roads and bridleways, follow our 12 tips below to give you that extra boost.Read More
We have some truly awesome bridleways for horse riders to explore, here we’ve picked just five of the best bridleways in the UK for you to saddle up and explore.
If you have a recommendation for a ride, we'd love to hear it! Simply add your tips in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Gallow Hill, Stranraer, Scotland
Take one look at this picture and you simply won't be able to deny that this is one incredible place to hack - just look at those views! Leave your worries behind as you enjoy a canter up to the top of Gallow Hill and then take a moment with your horse to take in the stunning views. This recommendation came from Your Horse reader Steffanie Singleton. Here's what she had to say:
"This is my favourite ride of all time! There’s a pretty steep climb to conquer from my yard to the top of Gallow hill which is great for building stamina and if the fields have been cut for hay they offer the perfect opportunity for a good blast up to the top. The views from the top of the hill are breath taking, you can see for miles out to sea, I often let my Mare, Chuienne, stand and graze while I admire the views and feel the stresses of the day drain away. It’s a great ride, a little bracing in the winter time but during the months of nice weather there’s no better place to be. It’s usually very quiet too and you can make it as long or as short as you wish. If you want a longer ride then there’s a track which leads you through some woods and back around to the fields for another good gallop. It’s such a relaxing ride and I’m so lucky to have it right on my doorstep."
The Cotswold Hills
Think of the Cotswolds and images of honey-coloured stone cottages and rolling grassy hills spring to mind. The choice of routes to hack or drive is endless with miles of quiet lanes and bridleways to explore, not to mention The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.In this area you’ll plenty it’s one of those picture-postcard villages you see in all the guide books! Not to mention pretty village pubs (perfect for a quick stop!).
We’ve been recommended a lovely hack starting in the village of Stanton. Here’s what our seasoned hacker Richard Marshall (pictured right) had to say about the area:
“Once out of the village, the climb up the Cotswold escarpment uses ancient paths and bridleways through grassy fields. Depending on your mood, it’s either a walk or a pipe-opening gallop! Eventually, you’ll emerge onto the gently rolling upland and follow a circular route that has plenty of variety. There’s some road work along quiet country lanes – ideal for a bit of impromptu schooling. There’s also a long uphill canter on sheep-mown grass that’s great for building stamina. There are ancient trackways to conjure up images of a bygone age. Part of the route follows the Cotswold Way National Trail back along the escarpment beside beech woods. On a clear day there are distant views of the Brecon Beacons and in the summer the sound of skylarks fills the air.”
Find out more
The Pennine Bridleway National Trail
The Pennine Bridleway in Northern England runs roughly parallel with the Pennine Way. It can be used riders, cyclists and walkers and offers lots of scenic routes through beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales.
The complete route of The Pennine Bridleway National Trail runs from from Middleton Top in Derbyshire to The Street in Cumbria. It passes through the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, using tracks, quiet roads and the new bridleway itself.
For useful information on planning your route CLICK HERE to visit the National Trails website.
Great Windsor Park
Not an easy access bridleway but one that is possible to explore with a permit, and who wouldn't want to enjoy a hack with a royal twist?! The recommendation for this ride came form Your Horse reader Helen Taylor. Here's what she had to say:
"Not many people are lucky enough to spot a royal on their weekend hack but it’s a possibility when hacking in the grounds of Windsor Great Park. I have got a glimpse of Zara and even the Queen herself in the past. You really feel like you’re somewhere special hacking here, there’s so much to see. There are also coffee shops to stop at for a drink which is nice when you’re out for hours. The park covers about 4,800 acres so you’re ride can be anything from thirty minutes to three hours long. In the summer when it’s dry you’re free to roam on the grass but during the wetter months, you have to stick to the roads and tracks which isn’t a problem as there are so many. The sand tracks are great for cantering on; Rupert loves it and does get a little quick! There are a few different permits you can get, some allowing you access to the forest which is well worthwhile."
To find out about the different permit options, visit The Royal Landscape website (www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk/en/activities/horse-riding). The park does not issue day permits for horse riding within Windsor Great Park - you'll need an annual Permit. All Permit holders will be able to access Windsor Great Park via forest tracks and will also be able to ride in Swinley Forest.
Join a group ride
Tally Ho Stables in Winkfield, Windsor specialises in taking riding groups of all abilities for gentle rides and exciting hacks through the beautiful Windsor Great Park. To find out more visitwww.tallyhostables.co.uk/riding-and-hacking
Nature reserves, ancient monuments, wonderful views and historic landscapes - there's plenty to enjoy when riding around Totternhoe in South Bedfordshire. What's more, a brilliant network of bridleways, starting at Stanbridge Ford, means you can saddle up and get lost for hours.
This recommendation came from Your Horse reader Alison Grant. Here's what she had to say:
"This ride never gets boring. I moved away for a short while during that time and I really missed it. One very quiet road leads us here from the yard and then it’s off-road all the way. It has absolutely everything – it’s a very relaxing ride. I always say it’s a perfect Friday ride to blow away all the cobwebs and free your mind from the stresses of the week. There’s a real variety on this ride – you can do a quick short loop or extend it and potentially be riding around for hours. It’s been a real confidence builder for me and Bally and I just love it. There’s plenty of opportunity for a blast or just to take it steady if you prefer. The ride takes you down a long stretch of disused railway track, which is surrounded by trees and wildlife. Then there’s a very open part of the ride – with a huge quarry on one side of you and endless fields on the other. The beautiful chalky hills are great for a good gallop and building stamina, and the views from the top are spectacular.
It’s utter bliss!"
Got a tip for a great place to hack?
Share your tips in the comments section below...
Here, solicitor Rebecca Stojak advises on what you need to consider when riding on a farmer's land.Read More
As more and more of us are having to hack out on roads to get to bridleways, we ask solicitor Rebecca Stojak if horses have right of way on the roads.Read More