In partnership with Wintec Saddles

There aren’t many horses who won’t try to grab a mouthful of grass if the opportunity arises on a hack – perhaps when you have to dismount to open a gate, or are walking on a track with lush grass verges. What can start as the quick odd mouthful or two can quickly turn into your horse towing you along or pulling you out of the saddle.

If you find your horse is often preoccupied with eating on hacks, horsemanship expert Jason Webb has a technique that could help to prevent you from getting into a battle of wills.

Bump, don’t battle

“If you try to keep your horse from what they want, the idea doesn’t go away. They can become strong and try to snatch the reins. To remedy a ‘hack and snack’, when the horse tries to eat I ‘bump’ the reins,” explains Jason. “It’s important to bump, not pull, because they can brace against a pull. You want to gently repetitively ‘bump’ until they choose to stop trying to eat and walk on.”

Bumping, a gentle, short rhythmical pull up, works like reverse psychology, as rather than trying to stop your horse from eating and getting into an argument, it makes eating uncomfortable and difficult, so the horse decides that it’s just not worth trying.

Should you let your horse eat on a hack?

Many riders will offer their horse the chance to have a quick snack whilst on a hack, particularly when on a longer ride. If you choose to let your horse have a pick of grass on a hack, you must be careful that they don’t eat anything that could cause them harm. Make sure you’re aware of common poisonous plants, such as ragwort, deadly nightshade, foxglove and ivy, so you know what to avoid when out and about. Trees to avoid include sycamores, oaks, and yews.

It’s also possible that grass verges or fields are treated with pesticides that could be harmful, so only allow your horse to graze on grass you know is safe for them to eat.

Meet the expert: Jason Webb is a UK-based Australian horse trainer. He helps riders all around the world with solving behavioural and ridden issues with their horses. Visit 

This content is brought to you in partnership with Wintec Saddles, durable, comfortable, easy-care, weather-proof saddles for everyone. 

Lead image: Your Horse library/ Julie Harding

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