How can I build my confidence when hacking my spooky horse?

If your horse is unsettled while out on hacks, it can play havoc with your confidence. Here Lee Hackett, director of equine policy at the BHS explains what you can do. 


To build your confidence, it may be a good idea to hack out on a more reliable horse, as one who misbehaves will only make you more nervous. 

Your horse will pick up on your fears, so a few hacks on a schoolmaster will help you relax, which will result in your own horse being calmer.

Once back out on your own horse, try to hack out with other, more confident horses as this will help him stay calm and be less spooky. 

On suitable roads, you can ride side by side, with the more confident horse on the outside.

As your horse gains in confidence, you can start to ride in single file with the other horse in front of you. 

Your horse's natural herd instincts will make him feel braver if he's following another horse. 

If you have a secure field next to a road, another good tip is to turn your horse out in it as often as possible to get him used to the sound of traffic. 

Increasing your confidence will take time and there's no overnight solution. 

Remember to give vehicles the best chance of seeing you by wearing high-vis gear and thank considerate drivers.