We can all slip into doing the same old thing over and over, and whilst a routine can offer many benefits, it can also begin to feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Here are a few simple ways to boost your hacking mojo and motivation.

1. Change up your rides

While it’s easy to slip into the habit of doing the same old routes, it’s equally easy to spice things up. Do your usual route the opposite way, box up for a ride elsewhere, or find a new route to try.

2. Develop a schooling mindset

Develop the same mindset when you’re out hacking as you have in the school and make sure your horse is properly warmed up and feeling supple before you up the pace. Common sense is always key, so watch the going under foot, gradually build your horse’s fitness with lots of slow steady work if they need fittening work. Don’t hack out with the yard’s resident speed demon if your horse isn’t yet up to the pace or their gung-ho approach will rattle your nerves.

3. Use desensitisation to make your horse safer

Spook-proof your horse at home before you head out on a hack to introduce them to the many strange sights and sounds they’ll experience in a safe, controlled manner. Getting busy with the tarpaulins, cones, flags, plastic bags on a stick and umbrellas in the safety of an enclosed arena is far safer than exposing your horse to such sights on a busy street.

But as with any training, use your judgement and common sense, quietly desensitising them to flapping, noisy, odd-looking sights by gradually upping their exposure to them. Set up some obstacles in the arena, work your horse in-hand at first, and ask them to walk ever closer, or even over, various things. Ask your instructor for advice if you’re struggling and always wear a hard hat, gloves and boots.

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4. Stay safe and seen

Make sure you’re as visible as possible by wearing high vis.

Reports have found that wearing LED lights along with high-vis gear is the most effective combo, so think bright, reflective safety clothing that covers as much of you and your horse as possible, complete with LED lights in a pattern that highlights your width (for instance on your shoulders and horse’s flanks). The study, conducted by TLR Ltd for the British Horse Society, suggests considering a high-vis colour that contrasts best with the environment you normally ride in.

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