When you’re heading out and about to enjoy some time in the countryside with your horse or pony, what phrase do you use? Many of us will use the term ‘hack’ or ‘hacking out’ – hence why our fantastic challenge is called #Hack1000Miles – but there are plenty of other expressions.

“Never in my 50 odd years of horse riding have I ever used the word ‘hack’ in general parlance. Maybe it’s because I don’t mix in very horsey circles,” shared Karen Arckle in our Hack 1,000 Miles Facebook group. “If I said ‘I’ve been hacking’ most of my friends would assume I’ve got a very nasty cough.

“Most of the time, I’m ‘going out on my horse’ or ‘going for a ride’. But sometimes we go out early and won’t get back until tea time – that’s Northern tea, not dinner which is lunch – over hill and down dale, which I’d say is more adventurous than just a ‘horse ride’.

“So what’s the go-to term for what you do?” she asked fellow challengers.

Here are just a few responses…

The classic ‘out for a ride’

If you’re chatting with a non-horsey partner, friends or colleagues, it can be easier to stick to familiar language – particularly as the word ‘hack’ has many other meanings.

“If I’m going out, I’m ‘going for a ride’,” says Karen Adkin. “In the circles I have mixed in, ‘hack’ means somebody doing daft things at a keyboard. It brings up no end of mixed messages!”

“I say ‘out for a ride’,” shares Jill Mansfield. “I don’t understand the use of ‘hack’, as in a tip or a shortcut for something.”

“I’ll say I’m going out for a jaunt or off on a ride,” says Debs Robb.

Sticking with hacking

But for many, the phrase ‘hack’ suffices, and you can always explain what you mean if you receive any questioning looks.

“I say ‘out for a ride’, although I do say hack or hacking,” says Kay Robinson.

“I’m from Yorkshire and we say ‘out for a hack’,” says Sarah Talbot. “If people don’t understand, they soon will.”

“I always say I’m off for a hack on Romeo or Ben when I tell people,” says Amanda Barker.

A few unusual options…

Over time, many of us come up with little nicknames and phrases for going out on rides, particularly amongst a familiar group of friends or liveries.

“Depending on the type of hack, generally either a pootle, tootle or a blast,” says Hazel Perry. “I also say ‘out for a ride’ or ‘going out with’ and then insert the horse’s name.”

“I say ‘out for a potter on the pony’ or a ‘trit trot’,” says Shanagh Brown.

“I use the phrase ‘going for a squash’,” shares Stuart Attwood. “I’m not overweight, but thought I might be once – no horses were harmed in the creation of this term!”

The language barrier across the pond

Whilst there are plenty of terms for ‘hacking’ over here in the UK, it’s kept a little simpler in America.

“Here in the US it’s just called trail riding,” explains Nancy Westra Wolvnowsky. “A rather boring term compared to ‘potter on the pony’!”

“I tell people that I trail ride. No one but another horse person in the UK – in North America I could be speaking Venetian if I said this – would understand ‘going hacking’ or being a ‘happy hacker’,” says Abbi Thorpe.

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