Follow our simple tips to turn hacking alone from stressful to joyful.

1 Have a nanny horse

It’s sensible to hack out with other horses first if you’re on a youngster or one who’s anxious or lacking confidence.

Take a calm, reliable horse and rider with you and go on a short, quiet route. As your horse’s confidence builds, you can start walking further and further apart.

2 It’s not you, it’s me…

Sometimes another rider may have better luck getting your horse to hack alone. Even if the end result is the same, a second opinion can help to uncover things you maybe hadn’t considered.

A new rider with a different approach or riding style, or someone with experience of working with nappy horses, can turn a hacking negative into a positive.

3 Hack happy

Make getting away from the arena a fun experience for your horse. If he loves to jump, then pop over a log or two while you’re out.

Walk him in-hand and feed him a couple of carrots, or let him have a graze. Hack after a schooling session on a long rein. Help your horse to realise that hacking is fun.

4 Single pringle

If your horse suffers from separation anxiety try removing him from his field buddies for short periods during the day, or rotate him with others in the herd to avoid separation issues with one particular companion.

If you always work in the arena with other people around, vary your times so that your horse becomes accustomed to working alone.

5 Be consistent

As with most horsey problems, achieving your end goals takes persistence and hard work, so aim to hack out regularly, keeping sessions short and sweet, and stay calm yourself even if your horse is having a bad day.

If possible, use circular routes and try to avoid turning back on yourself. This way, before you know it you’ll have gone from merely walking down the road to enjoying a lengthy solo hack.

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