Hacking is a great way to spend time with your horse. It’s good for your mental health, improving fitness and bonding. Whether you head out alone or in company, go for long treks or short and sweet walks around the block, ride or take your horse in-hand, is there anything you’d do differently to make it more enjoyable?

“If you all had to recommend something that makes your hacking easier, comfier or safer, what would it be?” asked Nicola Tracey in our Hack 1,000 Miles Facebook group. And plenty of you had suggestions…

1. Keeping good company

Hacking is a great opportunity to spend time with your horse, but also with friends. Who needs to catch up over a coffee when you could go for a lovely ride?

Riding out with other people can also help you to feel more confident, particularly if your horse is young or green.

2. Gear to consider

Plenty of you suggested bits of kit that you now can’t live without.

“Acavallo gel seat cover,” says Joanna Tinsley. “With sticky-bum jodhpurs as well you have to peel yourself off the saddle!”

“Always a hat cam,” said Hannah Leslie. “Even if it’s not on, you can fiddle with it and it’s enough to scare drivers into slowing down.”

3. Food for thought

If you’re heading out for a longer ride, why don’t you consider packing a snack or drink to keep you fuelled and hydrated for your ride?

“I like to pack a picnic,” said Rosie Martin.

“I always have a bottle bag on my saddle, complete with a bottle of my favourite tea,” said Jane Ballinger.

4. Staying safe

It’s important to always think about safety when hacking out. It’s not just about preparing for a worst-case scenario, but having things like this in place can actually make you feel more confident when hacking out.

“For safety, I always wear a hit air vest, ride off-road and have a home contact who knows where I’ve gone and when I’m expected back,” said Claire Alldritt.

“I send a WhatsApp live location to my husband and he can track the ride on his phone,” shared Helen Hustings.

“Do what you feel you can handle,” said Anne McEwen. “Start small and get bigger. Always wear high vis and let someone know where you’re going.”

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