We love seeing the hacking photos shared by the challengers in our Hack 1,000 Miles Facebook group. We’ve teamed up with Equisafety to give a prize to the best hacking photo shared each month from April 2022 to March 2023, and here is the gallery of winners…

Two 99 flakes, please!

Astrid Gatenby

Astrid Gatenby and her piebald gelding Olaf whipped up a frenzy when they stopped to queue for an ice cream mid-hack in Lincolnshire with their friends Kirsty and Bee.

“We’d been out on a long sunny hack when we spotted the ice cream van on the way home. We couldn’t resist getting a cone each and some ice cream in a tub for the ponies to lick,” says Astrid. “We managed to make it back to the yard riding one-handed.”

A celebratory hack with a view

Jessica Viljakainen

Pictured is Jessica Viljakainen riding 15-year-old cob Rupert. They are photographed on one of their regular routes in Cumbria.

“It takes just 45 minutes to get to that spot – it’s completely off road too, so we’re really lucky,” shares Jessica. “That was a special day – my friend Samantha got engaged on the day of that ride. She picked me up to go to the yard and said we should do our favourite route to celebrate.”

Dressing up for the Queen

Anna Gibbs

Anna Gibbs celebrated the Platinum Jubilee in style with her friend Marina and their horses Roma and Bud.

“I didn’t have a pony growing up and I love dressing up and having fun with him – and he’s the right colour!” says Anna of her 17-year-old gypsy cob Roma. “We used hair chalks to do the colours. It doesn’t take long for the colour to come out with the rain – he’s usually a complete mud monster.”

A confidence-giving 14 miles

Jen Birtchnell

Jen Birtchnell took this shot across Ullswater in Cumbria from the back of her 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Finn. Jen has owned Finn for seven years. In that time he’s had kissing spines surgery and been diagnosed with hock arthritis, but it hasn’t stopped him.

“I’m delighted that Finn can manage these rides after all his issues,” says consultant radiographer Jen, 47. “It was my first time on this ride and it was special because I’d lost my confidence after breaking my wrist last year when Finn got stuck in boggy ground, I fell off and he squashed me against a rock. I’m still wary of some of the fells as there are boggy areas, but this was a lovely 14-mile day ride.”

Peanut the pony loves the beach

Martina Diehl

Martina Diehl took the Quarter Horse cross Arab mare Gin and Shetland pony Peanut to Robin Hood’s Bay on a long weekend. The trio, who hails from Durham, enjoyed rides along the beach.

“Peanut’s very opinionated. This photo was taken on the second day, and he didn’t want to move anymore,” says Martina, 32.“I think he was feeling a bit tired. It was like he was saying, ‘I’ve had my paddle and splash in the sea; I want to go home now’.”

This year marks the third time that part-time PhD student and English tutor Martina has under taken the challenge.

Returning to the Welsh countryside

Eleanor Laws

Returning to Wales to resume studying veterinary medicine at Aberystwyth University, Eleanor Laws and 14-year-old Welsh section D Sonic are taking in the beautiful views.

“This was taken on our first solo hack since moving back to Wales,” shares Eleanor, 26. “I’ve moved back to continue studying at university.

“We’re just hacking out at the moment, but I’d like to do more with him in the summer.”

Hacking holiday

Jackie Williams

This view was enjoyed by Jackie Williams and her gypsy cob Orlo during their holiday in Wales.

“We stayed with a lady called Shirley, who has self-catered static caravans. She does guided rides, so she takes you out on her own cob,” explains Jackie, 51. “It’s open moorland that you head onto straight from her property. Whatever route we go the scenery is incredible.”

Jackie, who has taken Orlo on seven holidays now, is joined by her husband, Simon, who enjoys the scenery from his bike.

“We love it. I load Orlo, we put the bike in next to him, and then we head off. Orlo is great – he gets off wherever we end up, settles into his paddock and is more than happy to head out on hacks,” says Jackie, who works as a programme manager at HSBC. “We go off on separate routes – we’ll do four or fives hours out. The longest distance Orlo and I have done is 14 miles – Simon does 50 to 60!”

Revisiting childhood memories

Judy Featherstone

Judy Featherstone returned to ride a route from her childhood in Farndale with her mare Annie and 14-year-old daughter Tal on her horse The Tank.

“When we stood on top of the hill, Annie just stopped and stared. She loves a good view!” says Judy, 49, who had grown up riding in the area. “My dad was into ponies and he took us to all the local shows.  But I got out of horses years ago, then my daughter got into them and after lockdown my brother’s partner offered her a pony on loan. Then I decided to get one of my own and have fun again.”

Pub manager Judy decided to purchase a trailer so Tal could compete, and the pair now also enjoy exploring new areas for hacks. It was the perfect opportunity to return to a ride from Judy’s childhood, where her brother still keeps livestock.

“We met my brother and his son rounding up sheep, so we helped from horseback,” says Judy, who lives in North Yorkshire. “It was like going back to my childhood.”

A beautiful Boxing Day

Louise Horwood

Louise Horwood made the most of a peaceful Boxing Day morning to take out 16hh gelding Spearmint for quick hack around the block.

“He was a bit full of it!” shares Louise of the 16 year old piebald. “He is very forward going and strong – especially when he’s not in consistent work. He can also throw a few good shapes when he wants to!”

The Lincolnshire-based duo predominantly hack, and have taken part in the Hack 1,000 Miles challenge since its launch seven years ago.

“We get out and about as much as we can – as long as the weather’s not atrocious,” shares Louise, 32. “This route is just three miles long and it’s the only bridlepath we have locally.”

Sunset silhouette

Sam Wenn

Keeping her horse Chester at a livery yard based alongside six fishing lakes means Sam Wenn often enjoys beautiful sunset rides near the water – or in this case, going for a splash in a puddle.

“My partner Kyle walked on foot with me for this ride, and he pulled his phone out and took a few photos,” says Sam, 33.

Sam, a highways operative, has owned 16.2hh Irish Draught Chester for three years, and he’s helped to build up her confidence in their time together.

Sunset before spring

Alison Muir

This beautiful sunset shot was taken by Alison Muir, of her friend Amy riding her horse Pepper.

“We managed to squeeze in a hack before sunset. This is one of our shorter routes we do in an evening,” says Lancashire-based farmer Alison. “It’s only 3.5 miles long, but we do hack up to ten or 12 miles in a ride.”

A quick gingerbread stop

Jessie Curley

Five-year-old Jessie Curley’s favourite hacking route takes her and 11hh pony Spotty via a local bakery – so it’s only right that they stop for a quick snack!

“I stand outside with Spotty whilst Jessie dashes in to buy a gingerbread,” explains Hannah, Jessie’s mum. “They split it between them!”

The Curley family have owned 21-year-old Spotty for eight years, and he’s taught all four of Hannah’s children, including Jessie, how to ride.

“He’s not the easiest of ponies but he’s taught them all well,” shares Hannah. “Jessie and Spotty love their hacking, and also do Pony Club mounted games and jumping. She loves it all – she’s a mad keen horsewoman!”

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