Caroline Moore offers her tips on how to stop your horse napping on a hack.
Horses will nap if they’re not having a nice time, so introducing a praise and reward system will help to improve your levels of control, as well as your horse’s behaviour. This simply involves rewarding your horse with a pat or a treat when he does what you ask of him, so he starts to associate these things with a reward.
Napping can also occur as a result of your horse trying to avoid something. He learns to nap and then uses this behaviour in situations to get out of doing something he doesn’t want to do.
A clever horse will nap by a fence or hedge line and simply back into it. They’ll have learned that you have to take your leg pressure off or end up in the hedge.
Teach him positively
When first introducing your horse to hacking, make sure it’s a positive experience. If you’re asking him to walk through traffic, have another horse with you so he feels safe in their company.
The best way to deal with your horse if he’s already spooking or napping on hacks is in the safety of an arena. You can set up obstacles to ride around, past and over, leg-yielding past anything he finds scary, with his head bent away from it.