In partnership with Wintec Saddles

With the evening light quickly drawing in, you might be trying to make the most of it before hacking is relegated to the weekends for the autumn and winter seasons. There are a few ways to make the most of the time, from planning the right route to ensure you’re back before dark, to making yourself and your horse as visible as possible in case weather conditions change.

1. Evaluate your horse’s fitness

If you want to make the most of squeezing in a quick autumn hack, you might need to trot and canter more than you usually would in order to complete your ride. Make sure your horse is up to this task and is fit enough to handle a faster ride.

2. Plan your route

When it comes to waning light, it’s more important than ever to have picked out the right route. Heading out for a shorter ride where you know the routes are accessible, rather than trying a new ride and potentially finding the bridleway blocked, is the safer option.

“Ride with caution as conditions can vary dramatically – you could find a route that was lovely last week is flooded following heavy rain, or is blocked by a fallen tree,” said a spokesperson from the BHS.

There are a few ways you can plot out your hacking route, but when the evenings are getting darker it’s better to stick to ones you and your horse are familiar with.

3. Check the forecast

No one wants to get caught out in the cloudy wet weather, but especially at this time of year when coupled with an earlier sunset, it can really affect visibility.

Check the weather before you set off and wear appropriate clothing, as weather can change quickly,” said a spokesperson from the BHS.

4. Safety precautions

“Check tack and equipment for any damage, making sure you have everything you need,” continued the spokesperson. “Even if you’re hacking off-road, always wear high vis to ensure you can be seen in an emergency. This is especially important over winter, when the daylight fades quickly.”

There are a wide range of high vis products now available on the market for both horse and rider, and it could keep you safe not only from an accident, but also from being held liable in an incident. Some now even come with built-in lights, including hats and tabards, which will help illuminate you in poorer conditions.

Don’t forget to pack a charged mobile phone and tell someone the route you’re taking, with a rough idea of when you expect to be back.

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

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