Fun rides are brilliant for a number of reasons: they are usually long, off road and are an opportunity to ride somewhere new. But what happens when you have to go it alone?

Our #Hack1000Miles riders share their top tips for doing a fun ride by yourself.

1. Treat it like a normal hack

Whilst it can be a daunting thought to do a fun ride on your own, try to treat it like you would any other hack.

“I do many rides on my own with my horse and I really enjoy it. I try and treat it like a normal hack and just do what my horse and I feel comfortable with,” explains Sam Ottaway.

“I’m very encouraging towards my horse and talk to her a lot on the ride.”

Some organisers provide maps, which you could print at home or save to your phone, but routes are always well marked, with volunteers along the way to check in with.

2. Be prepared for people to pass you

Everyone rides at different speeds and you may find that people need to overtake you, or you must overtake someone else. Be polite and always overtake at a walk. Horses are individuals, and some cope better than others with strange horses passing them.

“I have done lots of fun rides on my own, most people are very good and ask if they can come by. I always turn my mare [to face them] so she knows what’s happening,” says Joy Monk.

Jackie Harding prefers to move away for others.

“I tend to go off track with my pony facing away from them, then wait until they’ve gone,” she says.

If your horse can nap towards others, start by practising at home by letting other horses pass him. It can be tricky for him to learn to be patient, so gradually build up the time you ask him to stand for before walking on.

3. Go as early or late as you can

To avoid lots of passing, which can be unsettling, consider going at the start or end of the day. This usually means the route will be quieter and you will come across less riders whilst you are out.

“I’ve found it best to go as late as you can, that way there are less riders out and far less to catch up to or people to come past,” says Sue Clark.

4. Wear a green ribbon

If you are new to going out alone, don’t be afraid to let others know. You could plait or tie a green ribbon in your horse’s tail to show he is green or nervous. Most riders recognise the different coloured ribbons, and will give you and your horse the space you need.

Remember that a red ribbon/tape indicates that the horse might kick.

5. Consider joining a group

If you find that you are nervous once you’ve arrived, you could always ask to join another group for company.

“I’ve always found people are happy to let you join them and you get to make new friends as you go round,” says Melanie Bolter. “I’ve met some lovely people at fun rides.”

But Helen Ann Connolly recommends being careful should you chose to join unfamiliar horses or riders.

“You don’t know how they ride or behave. Your horse may be reactive to theirs, or may even get kicked,” she says.

If you need company, you could always ask in the #Hack1000Miles Facebook Group — many of our challengers enjoy fun rides as a way to tally up their miles.

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