Hack 1000 miles: "Take it hack by hack and do what works for you"

Ann Smith and her horse, JD, are the second pair past our 1000-mile post! Here, Ann tells us how they achieved the 1000 miles and shares her tips for keeping safe and enjoying yourself while out in the countryside.  

 Ann and JD fitted in hacking around her work (Pic: Nigel Lywood)

Ann and JD fitted in hacking around her work (Pic: Nigel Lywood)

"After reading the articles and signing up to the Hack 1000 miles Facebook group to get alerts, I decided to have a go," says Ann.

"When I was ready to start I thought 'OMG! That's a lot of miles how on earth are we going to manage that many?!'.

"In fact, it was easier than I expected and they soon started to clock up, especially when the days started getting longer in the summer. 

"I don’t have a smart phone so I used www.mapometer.com to work out the miles I'd done on each ride.

"We have about five different rides that we do on a regular basis so the measuring doesn’t have to be done each time."

Finding the time

"For a lot of riders, getting the time to hack to this level can seem difficult," says Ann. "I'm fortunate that I don’t have to work around a young family and that my work hours are regular. 

"My enduring husband, Rob, is a farm manager and is often out late working. What better use of my time than getting as much riding done as possible (he likes short days in the winter as he knows he'll get regular dinners in the evenings!).

"I can always do the boring stuff like housework when it's too dark to ride. I'd say to those challenged by time just do what you can and have fun!"

Ann's advice for hacking 1000 miles 

Take it hack by hack

Do what works for you and your horse and enjoy getting out and about with your best friend. Even if you and your horse aren't new to hacking, you can still do things gradually. Don’t aim for the stars, just aim for a short, achievable ride that will boost your confidence. 

 It won't be long until summer (and long hacking) arrives (Pic: Abingdon RDA)

It won't be long until summer (and long hacking) arrives (Pic: Abingdon RDA)

Don't be afraid to dismount 

If you're ever unsure, don’t be worried about getting off to lead your horse past something that they're unsure of. You're not failing by getting off. Even though JD and I do lots of hacking by ourselves, sometimes we have ‘off’ days.

When this happens, I hop off, let her have a good look at the problem and then when her head comes down and she's relaxed, I remount and walk past the problem a few times before carrying on.

There's nothing wrong with getting off. This can diffuse a situation before it gets out of hand. This also gives you both a positive experience that boosts your confidence for the next time you ride out. 

Know your limits 

Whatever you decide to do and however many miles you clock up, remember that you know yourself and your horse, you know your limits and what works for you both.

Get out there, with your high-vis gear and enjoy what you achieve together!


Feeling inspired?

Think you and your horse could hack 1000 miles in a year? Sign up to the challenge at our exclusive #Hack1000miles hub. Plus, share your pictures on social media (that's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) using the #Hack1000miles hashtag for a chance to win prizes and be featured in Your Horse Magazine.

We've also got a Facebook group - Hack 1000 miles - where you can chat and meet riders, just like you.


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